Machete (Danny Trejo – Heat) is an ex-federale who is out for justice when his partner is killed. When the President of the USA (Charlie Sheen – Wall Street) asks Machete to help track down an industrialist named Voz (Mel Gibson – Lethal Weapon) who may also hold the key to his partner’s death, he arms himself to the nines and goes into battle once again.
Machete Kills is an enjoyable watch but still leaves you feeling disappointed at the end. Perhaps it’s down to the fact that it’s a second movie concocted from a gag-trailer. Grindhouse brought with it a slew of brilliant fake film trailers including Machete and Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving. The first Machete definitely got crowds into a frenzy with its ridiculously high death count and the fact that fan-favourite Danny Trejo was the lead but it wasn’t the win it should have been. So when a sequel was green-lit you’d expect Robert Rodriguez to have really gone for the throat. The truth is that although it has a lot of violence and lovable bad taste thrown in, Machete Kills still feels like its holding back the good stuff.
The novelty has worn thin now and after about 20mins you start to clock watch which is a bad sign. If this movie had arrived 10 years ago I feel it would have had more legs but now it seems like a joke gone too far. It also doesn’t help that Machete Kills drags towards the middle. After a bright start (including a great trailer for a potential third movie set in space), the movie loses pace and ideas. By the time it picks up in the final act, we’ve lost the momentum.
It’s not all bad, there are some great performances in Machete Kills. The ridiculously beautiful quartet of Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Alexa Vega and Amber Heard offer up a bevy of great eye candy. Even though Jessica Alba is only in this for a bit, Michelle Rodriguez takes over when the film starts to dip. Alexa Vega shows that she has certainly grown up since her days in Spy Kids whilst Amber Heard is just drop dead gorgeous and steals the movie every time she’s onscreen.
Last time around Robert De Niro, Don Johnson and Steven Seagal were the token big names. This time around, Rodriguez has managed to get former disgraced stars Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen on-board. They do a good job here with each of them handing in note-worthy performances.
Sadly Danny Trejo isn’t given enough to do in-between the carnage. He’s a very talented guy and I did have high hopes of him finally having decent material to work with. Machete Kills comes in as another huge missed opportunity to really showcase Trejo’s craft, but he does handle the comedy well – ‘Machete don’t tweet’ being a particular gem.
In a day and age when a movie like Black Dynamite shows us exactly how to do exploitation homage to perfection, it comes as a big disappointment to find Machete Kills languishing between parody and seriousness. Robert Rodriguez hasn’t been hitting his marks of late and whilst Machete Kills is a fun watch, it won’t leave a lasting impression. We can only hope Sin City: A Dame To Kill For fares better.