Directed By: Robert Rodriguez
Written By: Robert Rodriguez
This film has lost its appeal on me. I am a big fan of Robert Rodriguez and everything he does but I have to admit this one doesn’t seem as awesome to me as it did three years ago. I thought Rodriguez’s half of the Grindhouse films was far and away superior in every way to the half that Tarantino did and three years ago I loved that he was taking it a step further. His fake Machete trailer was really cool and I thought he did a great job carrying that style and intentional exaggeration into a full feature length film. My problem now is that Rodriguez simply hasn’t done enough in the years since. I thought this movie was great three years ago but for it to be all this talented filmmaker has worked on since has simply disappointed me.
I thought that Sin City was incredible and loved what Robert Rodriguez did with it, but after eight years of waiting for the sequel my patience is running thin. For me, it has created a bit of resentment towards this franchise because this franchise has continued while that one has done nothing. I have yet to see Machete Kills but haven’t really felt compelled to either because I think this film was enough. I love Danny Trejo and like him getting the opportunity to be an even bigger badass than he already is but I have just wanted more from Rodriguez over the years and haven’t gotten it. The sequel to Sin City has finally been made and is set to come out next year but that will be a nine year gap between movies. I think it’s been too long but I still look forward to it and hope it is worth the wait.
This film was an idea first conceived in 1993 when Rodriguez was making Desperado in Mexico. When he was shooting the movie the locals had no idea what the movie was actually about or who was in it but they all gravitated toward Trejo when he was on set thinking he was the star of the film. Rodriguez told Trejo then that he needed to start working with blades and eventually they would collaborate on this. For the next 15 years Trejo stayed on Rodriguez about the idea to the point that Rodriguez told him he didn’t have to call about it all the time and could simply text him about it. To this Trejo said “Machete don’t text,” a line Rodriguez thought was funny and eventually put into the film. Robert Rodriguez has done many great things throughout his career but something I have always liked specifically about him was his propensity to use Trejo in all his films. Danny Trejo is a badass, and I have loved him in everything from the Johnny 23 to voicing Octavio on King of the Hill. Being credited with over 260 roles the man is a relentless worker and there is really no end to naming the great roles he has played either in bit parts or in larger roles. I do really like him finally getting to play the lead and loved this film at first because it put him in the spotlight. Having lost its appeal on me though I’ll admit he overdoes it quite a bit in this movie. Of course that is the point of the movie, but it doesn’t do anything to make the film endearing when there are now reasons to be frustrated with it. If nothing else there is one thing I do want to mention before I move on from Trejo. He has certainly gotten an awful lot out of one of the coolest tattoos of all time. If you know Danny Trejo at all then you know exactly what I am talking about but if you somehow missed it here is an image:
Trejo is getting older now, approaching the age of 70 if you can believe it. The fact that he is just now getting the spotlight and taking hold of it like a man half his age says a lot about the kind of person he is. This guy never stops working, and while he may make more B-movies than anything else he has still made such a significant impact. Granted this movie and its sequel technically should count as B-movies they were made like that intentionally and both received worldwide distribution like any other big budget movie.
This movie, like most of Rodriguez’s films, has a lengthy and impressive cast. The flawlessly beautiful Jessica Alba has a large part and actually appears naked at one point in the movie. Don’t be fooled however because she has a no nude clause in her acting contract. Rodriguez is a whiz with making movies simple using his computer to do things digitally. In the shower scene where we see a nearly naked Jessica Alba she was covered while shooting and it was digitally removed later. Michelle Rodriguez, no relation to the film’s director, is an actress I usually cannot stand. For years she was constantly playing the exact same role over and over again but of late she has started to impress me. I actually thought she looked smoking hot in this movie and I have never thought so before. I haven’t really seen her play different roles of late but somehow she seems better in them. I’m thinking specifically of this film and of Avatar when I thought she gave a great performance.
I think this was possibly one of the coolest things Steven Seagal has ever done. I have always regarded Steven Seagal as silly and never taken him serious as an actor. I do not think his performance in this movie, while awesome, did anything to change that perception. When Seagal comes up I don’t think of his film career first but of that show I never watched where for some reason he tagged along with police and went on busts. I thought the concept of that show was so bizarre. What the hell is this guy doing right? Who is Steven Seagal to ride around with police and be involved with busts? Did the heart to heart convos he had with perps after they were busted change any of their lives? Did I miss out by not watching this show? If anybody out there watched it I would really like to know about it, leave us a comment and tell us something about it. Somebody out there really must love Seagal and I am always curious why. He regularly gets a specific week dedicated to him and his movies on AMC. I’ll admit I haven’t seen enough of his films but I had seen enough as far as I was concerned. Seagal fans tell me I am wrong. Have I just been missed out all these years and is Seagal really something special? If I have missed something that is worth my time leave me a comment and let know what I should check out.
Chris Cooper was originally offered the part of the corrupt senator but he refused the part because he thought the script was bizarre. When Robert De Niro took the part it suddenly became much easier for Rodriguez to get any other star he wanted in the film. We see a couple of his regulars as well. Cheech Marin reprised his role from the original trailer. Marin appears in most of Rodriguez’s films but has really put together an impressive body of work since simply being half of a popular pothead duo. Tom Savini is also here as an assassin and for the first time in a Rodriguez film he doesn’t die. You can also see Rodriguez’s sisters playing two nurses who are part of “The Network.”
When we sat down to watch this movie last night I was really looking forward to it. It had been a while since we had seen it and I loved it when it came out. To be honest I really just couldn’t get into it and found the whole experience really disappointing. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood, I don’t know but for whatever reason I just didn’t love or really even like this movie when I watched it last night. I think the action and choreography of the fights are great, both of which are specific talents of Rodriguez. I like most of the actors and still like the campy style of the film but the endearing quality was just lost on me this time. I don’t want to go into the film too much because I can’t bring myself to criticize Rodriguez or Trejo. There is still plenty to like about this movie but when you watch it you just need to understand that it does some things on purpose and take it for what it is worth. It’s meant to be over the top and when that is done on purpose it’s altogether different than the stupid films that do it honestly. This movie didn’t do it for me last night and I don’t think it’s going to be one I regularly revisit but I still think it is worth your time to see at least once.
This poster kills me. Rodriguez kills me too. He and Tarantino both think they have found this awesome way to stand out-by making their signature that looks like its straight out of the 70s era. This can be fun and a really good idea, but it only works when the movie is set in the same era. I mean seriously guys; move on with the design inspiration. The title sequences included. Their movie ideas are incredible, but the graphic design that goes into their ideas is horrible.
This poster is a montage of the characters. You all should know by now how much that kills me. At least there is a big cheesy explosion in the background. In this case cheesy works, since the whole movie is in fact very cheesy. I don’t like this poster at all. I don’t even like the typography. I have never been a fan of anything looking too much like a WordArt image. I think there was room to make this better and the opportunity was missed here.
NEXT MOVIE: Magnolia (1999)