Monday, 8 April 2013

Film Review | Machete (2010)

Once upon a time, Machete was a film that existed only as a "fake" trailer presented between Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror and Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof in the pair's double feature homage Grindhouse. Featured alongside trailers for other fictitious features such as Werewolf Women Of The SS (Rob Zombie's tribute to Nazi exploitation flicks) and Thanksgiving (Eli Roth's brutal holiday-centric slasher parody), Machete ended up as the first of these ideas to be fleshed out into a real film. Working backwards from an idea that was intentionally thin on plot and excessive when it came to violence and action, Rodriguez's "Mexploitation" pastiche could - and by rights should - have ended up as a total mess. In the hands of another director, it almost certainly would have. But whilst it lacks the refinement and sheer quality of the director's best work, Machete is hugely enjoyable.

Danny Trejo as the titular hero both looks and acts the part perfectly, coming across like a Hispanic John McClane with the vocal range of Schwarzenegger's Terminator and the allure of James Bond. The rest of the cast is as game as is necessary, with big names such as Steven Seagal and Robert De Niro giving it their hammy all.

The story is somewhat overstretched for the one hour and forty five minutes Machete runs for, and at times Rodriguez threatens to make things more complicated than they need to be for a film of this nature. There are also social and political messages running underneath much of what is presented, which thankfully only threatens to take over the fun on two or three occasions. Most importantly, Rodriguez remembers throughout what Machete needs as its focus: balls to the wall action. And by heck, the director shows he knows how to put together a decent extreme action sequence. The film's opening scene is pure exploitation gold, and the fire-powered finale can't help but bring a gleeful grin to your face.

Whilst Machete is never likely to be considered a Rodriguez classic, falling short of achieving the pulpy heights of Sin City or the exquisite level of homage seen in Planet Terror, it's a consistently entertaining, no-nonsense action film packed with plenty of guns, fights, explosions and - perhaps least expectedly - talent. Admit it: a film featuring Cheech Marin as a twin shotgun toting priest has got to be worth a look.


No comments:

Post a Comment