Danny Trejo has always been the creepy side character in cheesy action flicks, but he finally gets his shot as the title character in the action-packed “Machete,” a film very fitting for him.
A little bit of background on “Machete”: The film started as a fake trailer in the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino double feature “Grindhouse.” The trailer made for a great laugh, but a couple years later, there’s a feature film to show for it.
The film’s premise is relatively simple.
An ex-Federale named Machete (Trejo) is dragged out of retirement and into a conspiracy to re-elect a Texan senator (Robert DeNiro) who works with murderous, border-guarding vigilantes and drug kingpins.
Machete quickly gets to dismantling the corrupt politician’s work with the help of a revolutionary named Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), the immigration detective Sartana (Jessica Alba) and his brother and priest, Padr (Cheech Marin).
If the cast does not sound ridiculously awesome already, prepare for a mind-blowing list of bad guys and random miscreants.
There’s the lead vigilante, Lt. Stillman (Don Johnson), a goofy and sadistic hit man (Tom Savinni) and an evil drug lord bent on destroying Machete—Torrez (Steven Seagal).
Lindsay Lohan even shows up as the pornstar turned nun, April.
Levels of ridiculousness have not been this high since “Grindhouse.”
Machete spends a majority of the film decapitating thugs with sharp objects, muttering one-liners and, in general, destroying anyone who gets in his way.
At one point he cuts a two-bit thug’s stomach open and uses the guy’s intestines as a rope, jumping out of a window and swinging through a window a floor below.
What Trejo does not do is spend a lot of time talking. It’s mostly “stab that guy” and “punch that punk in the face” for the entire 105 minutes.
So Trejo can pull off his role just fine; not that it was difficult to do. But how does the supporting cast fair?
De Niro and Johnson are both disgusting villains like they should be. De Niro even puts on a southern accent which is pretty entertaining.
Seagal is hilarious to watch, simply because he is Steven Seagal.
The writing in the film was campy, spot-on for what the film should be: a recall of a cheesy, violent and altogether ridiculous cult of films of the 1970s.
There’s some pretty clever plot devices that appear every now and again, like the time the doctor explained human intestines are six times as long as the body and having Machete use the dopey thug’s bowels as rope.
The whole intestines-as-rope bit is a just a sample of the violence in the film. Machete terminates a lot of criminals with extreme prejudice while using his namesake weapon along with other sharp objects.
Gun violence runs rampant, are there are a lot of over-the-top kills that made me want to laugh.
A forgettable score punctuates the action of the film, but is the music the reason you would go see a movie called “Machete?” Absolutely not.