January 31, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 16°F


Blood and gore spice up satire

An unsung star of the Hollywood action scene, Danny Trejo has played more than 100 roles. He takes his first lead role in “Machete,” whose large cast of wild characters entertain with creative violence and biting humor in what would otherwise be a dull and conventional action flick.

Mysterious political figure Booth (Jeff Fahey) offers Machete, a Mexican former federal agent, (Trejo) $150,000 to kill Senator McLaughin (Robert De Niro), a crusading anti-immigrant politician. When Machete has the senator right in his sights, he is double-crossed, framed for the attempted assassination and forced on the run for the rest of the film.

“Machete,” a satire of “Mexploitation” action films that have their strength in spectacle, is full of outrageously hilarious and often grizzly fight scenes set in a modern, lawless West. “Machete” enthralls the audience by fusing both bloody action and comedy that can deliberately be either as spectacularly gory as “Kill Bill” or laugh out loud hilarious in its outrageousness.

The film also delivers laughs through political satire and quirky dialogue. Senator McLaughin’s campaign includes plenty of overzealous, hyperbolizing commercials that poke fun at hard-core anti-immigration politicians and play to the movie’s overarching theme of immigration.

DeNiro is solid in the role of the hard-nosed senator, and Fahey is menacing as the gravel-voiced political figure. Jessica Alba plays an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) agent, though she is too sweet to really fit in her role. Steven
Segal’s weak acting and hokey kung fu style proves he is a testament and legend of the stereotypical action films “Machete” spoofs.

“Machete” starts strong as a wild, bloody fiesta of chaos but turns into a standard action movie whose story development is blown to bits by the explosions and fights. The film quickly runs out of gas by the last act with a disappointing final battle full of people mostly running aimlessly around a compound.

Rodriguez does his best with this B-movie knockoff. Fans of both the director and machine gun Western movies will still enjoy the film if they’re willing to use their mental machete to slice through the movie and enjoy the choicest bits.

“Machete” was written by Alvaro and Robert Rodriguez and directed by Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriguez.