One of the original purposes of the DVD of the Week feature was meant to be going through my collection and picking great yet forgotten movies. However, this time of year is also when all of the previous summers flicks get released on DVD/Blu-Ray and we get a glut of great movies to take home. Last week I featured Easy A which was released a few weeks prior to my posting, and the next day I realized Machete had been released. My first thought was, “damn, I need to make Machete the DVD of the Week!” But alas, I had already chosen a movie. Granted, this is my site and there is really no reason I can’t have two movies featured… but I lived with my decision. Why am I even mentioning this? Today The Social Network is available… and I dig the idea of being on top of what is happening in the moment… keeping up with the pop culture zeitgeist as it were. I haven’t yet seen The Social Network so I don’t imagine I can say much about it other than it’s out and it may very well be this years Best Picture winner at the Oscars. How can I say that considering I haven’t seen it yet? Listen to the buzz. Listen to the imbalance of how people discuss these things. Look to see what is winning and where. I hadn’t seen The Hurt Locker before I told Mrs. Blahg and anyone who would listen that it would win. When I finally saw it, I was sure it would win.
So what does any of that have to do with Machete? Only that I had seen this movie in the theater about three weeks after it was released and just after having started this website. I totally wanted to write up a review on it, but because it was a few weeks after the initial release I imagined no one would care. Why in the world would I think I can compete with “real” critics who get to see movies ahead of release and somehow or another think I need to do the same? Makes very little, if any sense at all. Talk about neurotic. I even used the excuse of “I need to write a review for Mr. Blahg” as my reason for taking a couple hours out of my weekend and leaving the wife with the kids (I use this excuse almost weekly now… it’s awesome). Anyway… hopefully I won’t be a week or many weeks late on reviews in the future… and hopefully I will go back to my collection and pull out some other forgotten or obscure movie to share with you, my loyal readers. Of course, once March and April arrive with all of the prestige films from October through December getting released, I’ll be revisiting this same problem. Now… without further ado… Machete.
In no uncertain terms… Machete is all kinds of different awesome rolled into one ball kicking fun time. Based on the fake Machete trailer stuck in between Quentin Taratino’s Death Proof and Robert Rodriquez’s Planet Terror in true grindhouse fashion, Rodriquez has taken what seemed to be a one joke idea of “they just fucked with the wrong Mexican” and turned it into an hour and forty minute piece of exploitation gold. With inspired casting and a plot based more on cliche and shock value I was completely surprised by how into the actual story I was.
Danny Trejo is Machete… a Federale who’s wife and child are murdered by a drug kingpin (Steven Seagal) gets a job assassinating a senator (Robert DeNiro) only to find he was set up. After barely surviving the hit on him, Machete is out for revenge. What more do you need to know? Honestly, not much… but the plot has more layers than that… and this is where the casting comes into play. Jeff Fahey as the businessman who sets him up with the assassination, Lindsay Lohan as his daughter, Cheech Marin as Machete’s priest brother, Don Johnson as the border patrol agent, Jessica Alba as the INS agent and Michelle Rodriquez as She (see below). Each of these characters brings something to the table… either for who they are, who they were or simply what Rodriquez has made them out to be. To see “Introducing Don Johnson” in the opening credits was enough to bring a smile to my face.
Machete is over the top. It’s political, it’s violent, it’s sexy and most importantly, it’s fun. There are squirm inducing moments of blood and machete slices… there is nudity in the form of Miss Lohan… there is a crucifixion, multiple beheadings and Michelle Rodriquez in an eye patch and the tightest leather pants imaginable (see above). Now, it’s also understandable if the moment you saw the name Steven Seagal you rolled your eyes and immediately decided not to see this movie. Don’t let the great white walrus frighten you off…. he’s fantastic. And by fantastic, I mean ridiculous with a nearly offensive if it weren’t so bad Mexican accent. All I can say is that it works. Somehow or other, it simply works. Did I mention Michelle Rodriquez and her eye patch and tight leather pants?
Of course, there is Danny Trejo… a man who’s face looks like ground beef and a delivery that makes a corpse look animated. Trejo is every shade of badass and it was a pleasure to see him perform. Perfect for the role… he manages to convey the depth of a man who has had his family murdered and the dearth of a soul in order to kill the bad guys. Also notable is Jessica Alba… she may not have an eye patch or tight leather pants, but hey… it’s Jessica Alba…. in a shower. I don’t think I need to say any more.
Bottom line… Awesome with a capital Fucking A! Buy it, rent it or stream it… just see this movie!
Did I mention Michelle Rodriquez in an eye patch and tight leather pants (see above)?,
Cornelius J. Blahg