Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pose Reviews A Movie. #38: Machete (2010)

Who says you can't make a real movie out of a fake trailer?

Machete, the new feature from Robert Rodriguez, answers this ridiculous question in five swift letters: FOOLS.

Based on the humorous-yet-undeniably-badass trailer preceding Grindhouse: Planet Terror, Rodriguez's new feature packs an impressive punch to end off what has been a relatively ho-hum season of summer blockbusters.

And although it won't be released on DVD for a few months, I feel compelled (nay, obligated!) to stir up some buzz and anticipation for this explosive romp through hell.

Machete continues Rodriguez's experimentation with the exploitation genre--an endeavor he started with Planet Terror--and it's evident that he's honing his skills. Machete has the ridiculous over-the-top violence and gratuitous, totally-out-of-place nudity characteristic of the genre, but it also offers a political commentary which, though decidedly not subtle, offers the film something akin to actual substance.

The plot of Machete doesn't follow the standard revenge-tale archetype in the manner implied by its fake trailer--in fact, Machete himself (Danny Trejo) is something of a reluctant hero. Living a simple life as an illegal immigrant in Texas, Machete seems content doing manual labour for a living wage after an epic betrayal ends his days as a Mexican Federale.

It isn't until a wealthy businessman by the name of Booth (played with just the right amount of scumbag by Lost veteran Jeff Fahey) makes him an offer he can't refuse that he breaks out a few of his old tricks.

As they say, old habits die hard.

...except in this case, old habits don't die. They KILL!

Booth's offer involves the assassination of a U.S. Senator (Robert De Niro) whose excessive stance against immigration would be hilarious if it weren't so reflective of some actual American political figures.

After the assassination goes awry, and Machete learns of Booth's true motives, he teams up with an Immigration Enforcement officer (Jessica Alba) and works somewhat effortlessly to take him down.

The greatest part of Machete is easily the upstanding morality of the title character. He never kills unless it's necessary, he always gives the bad guys an opportunity to consider their misdeeds and run away, and when it comes time to take out the trash, he does so with considerable ease.

Machete is one of the most likeable action heroes ever, and it's delightfully rewarding to see him almost single-handedly rid the film of its evil-doers.

Machete also sports an unbelievable cast, and although the acting is nothing tremendous, some of the big names make it a lot more fun. In addition to the names bracketed above, you get Cheech Marin as Machete's estranged brother and Michelle Rodriguez as a Harriet Tubman figure, running an underground railroad for Mexican immigrants.

But let's not forget the one man who makes Machete shimmer. The one and only Steven Seagal.

Seagal's appearance as the big cheese of evil is nothing short of heartwarming, and his climactic sword-fight with Machete is probably in my Top 10 for Hollywood Fight Scenes, if not only for the eventual outcome.

Machete is an absolute blast, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who likes their movies drenched in epic conflict, slimy bad guys and stuff blowing up for no reason.

...and yes, you get to see Lindsay Lohan naked.

You know, if that's your thing.

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