September 4, 2010
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Back when Grindhouse opened, a fake trailer for Machete was inserted before Planet Terror. The short was so popular that it was spun off into an actual movie. Retaining much of the same style and plot of the original fake trailer, Machete aims to take you back to those days when these B-movies could exist.
Character actor Danny Trejo gets the spotlight in this film. He plays Machete, a ruthless Mexican mercenary who has ties to our government agencies. After a drug dealer kills his wife and daughter and leaves me for dead, he plans his revenge. He is hired to kill an anti-immigrant Senator and ends up being framed, making him the fall guy. This sends Machete trying to kill the man who sets him up, who happens to be working for the man who killed his family.
The best part of the film is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The plot is just enough to carry through to the end, but the strength is in its knowledge of the films it is parodying. Despite beginning a B-movie with a surprisingly smart cast, the film manages to tackle topical subject matter while remaining true to the story.
Director Rodriguez does well with ensemble casts, most notably Sin City. With a diverse call sheet that includes Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba, Trejo, Steven Seagal, and Don Johnson, the surprises appear to end there. Fortunately, the film takes the action and gore to new heights. Though most of the film is played without humor, many of the scenes and dialogue lead to laughter from the audience. In a summer riddled with prepackaged garbage, this is a spin-off that actually has punch to it. 3.5 out of 5 stars.