Machete

3 Dec

Director: Robert Rodriguez (2010)

Ex-Federale and Mexican bad ass Machete, suitably named for an assassin, is hired by some decidedly suspect gent, chaired by businessman  Michael Benz (Jeff Fahey) to help assassinate the Senator, John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro) whose unsavoury attitudes towards Mexican immigrants don’t really mesh with ole Machete (Danny Trejo) and his moustache. But, just as Machete is taking aim, he notices he has competition  – only their target isn’t the Senator but HIM! Brushing off a bullet wound as if he were merely licked by a particularly ravenous kitten, Machete begins his one-man mission of revenge against those who betrayed him.

Cue all manner of double crossings, drug barons, scantily clad ladies and gratuitous violence and you have the makings of a wonderfully terrible movie. Beginning life as a trailer as part of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s B-movie double feature, Grindhouse, Machete came into public consciousness on a wave on one liners and tag lines making it one of the most quoted movies that had never been made. Only then they did make it.

And boy are we glad that they did. It is not often that a tag line actively adds to the film, nay, makes the film. With such conviction, we are presented with classics such as “If you’re going to hire Machete to kill the bad guy, you better make damn sure the bad guy isn’t you” and who could forget “They just fucked with the wrong Mexican”.  And oh did they.

I will  waste no time regailing the plot – as there isn’t really one. Angry Mexicans led by sexy  female taco seller/ revolutionary, Luz (Michelle Rodriguez) in constant battle with authorities, led by sexy US Immigration and Customs officer Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba). All this amidst a corrupt government who are hell bent on getting those pesky Mexicans out of the country or at least exploiting them for cheap labour. Machete isn’t having any of this. And he certainly doesn’t like getting set up.

In true B-movie style, Rodriguez’s direction is not dissimilar to a child excitedly telling his weary relative about all of his favourite things – except with more explosions, knife fights and surreal sex scenes where a man with a moustache bigger than his face somehow manages to seduce Hollywood’s hottest ladies. And LiLo. And her on screen mother. At the same time. Like that relative, we sit and listen in silent adoration of the enthusiasm this child has put in to his speech. It is this same attitude I like to analogise to watching Machete. Yes we have heard it all before (in the trailer), yes we have seen the homage to B-movies a million times in recent years but no we don’t care. Machete is an unashamed romp through the stereotypes and clichés of immigration action revenge movies – this is a genre I just recently made up : see also Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World.

Watch it, be entertained, develop inventive ways to drop the lines in to everyday conversation and marvel at the opportunities Machete has opened up for guys everywhere by creating the illusion that moustaches, leather trousers and tequila filled gun-bottles are the way into a girls knickers. Only two of those things are true.

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