Robert Rodriguez has created a Mexican amalgam of Shaft, James Bond and Chuck Norris.
Review by David Feltman
“Yes, I ‘m a ‘Star Wars’ fan.”
“Machete” may have started off as a faux trailer and spun off into a campy but mediocre feature length action flick, but the franchise has blossomed into an enjoyable grindhouse experience in “Machete Kills.” Robert Rodriguez has created a Mexican amalgam of Shaft, James Bond and Chuck Norris with his Machete character. Danny Trejo in the titular role is unkillable, unstoppable and employs a glut of gimmicky blades to stoically dispatch the bad guys in the most violently outlandish means possible.
The plot involves Trejo trying to secure a schizophrenic double agent with a missile wired to his heart. The missile, of course, is pointed at the White House, directly threatening Charlie Sheen’s term as President of the US. Trejo is pursued in his efforts by a host of colorful thugs, including a brothel full of hooker assassins and The Chameleon, a face changing hit man played in turns by Cuba Gooding Jr., Antonio Banderas and Lady Gaga. Oh yeah, and Mel Gibson plays the psychic, xenophobic evil genius bent on creating a superior race… in space.
The film is filled with all the best B-movie action fare. There are plenty of bad puns and clever references abound. Nameless henchmen are dismembered, decapitated and, in one instance, disemboweled by a helicopter. “Machete Kills” will never win an Oscar, but it makes the Stallone series of ’80s action revival movies look like bargain bin, Steven Segal drivel.
Where the original “Machete” film lagged, the sequel moves swiftly from one over the top set piece to the next. The audience rarely gets time to breathe between explosions and shootouts. But Rodriguez fails to make the finale as powerful as the first two-thirds of the film, opting instead to pad out the run time with gratuitous cameos. As fun as The Chameleon character is, he/she never does anything to advance the plot. In fact his/her side story only manages to weigh down the film. But that’s a small price to pay to see Lady Gaga in bawdy eveningwear gunning down Trejo in a high-speed chase.