Sunday October 10, 2010
Machete (Movie review) – Director: Ethan Maniquis & Robert Rodriguez
Is this the same mild-mannered, kid-friendly uncle we saw in the Spy Kids franchise? Though Grind House did prepare us with the fake Machete trailer, the man sure seems to have acquired a lot of new things, while getting his own spin-off.
A myth behind his name, an image of a stud who sweeps women off their feet and the ability to send text messages are some that I noticed.
I was amazed by the way the film started – it seemed almost exactly similar to the film I saw last weekend, Jonah Hex – a known actor as super villain killing the protagonist’s family. John Malkovich in Jonah Hex and a bloated Steven Seagal in Machete. Both heroes (Josh Brolin as Jonah Hex) have severely-to-somewhat disfigured faces, if you count Danny’s face to be one.
The story progresses in different directions post that prelude, however, in both films. While Jonah Hex is full-on vendetta and relies on spectacular looking set pieces in turn of the century America, Machete seems far more bland and relies on over-the-top action that seems to have been crafted as intelligent B-grade, in true Rodriguez style.
Some of the over-the-topness rivals the resident daddy of over-the-topness – Rajinikant. So we have Danny cutting a guy’s stomach and holding on to his intestines, he jumps off a building. What makes it all the more interesting is this – in a scene just before that, a severely injured Danny is being treated by 2 extra-hot (totally intentional – not just in my mind!) nurses and they are discussing the length of the human intestine with the doctor!
Then there’s this suddenly solemn scene in the villain’s mansion – 4 flunkys are seen discussing deeply on why they are being loyal to an asshole villain. One even questions their motives in an existential way. The subsequent scene where Danny enters the mansion and runs riot has the same flunky offering to quit the boss’ duties when Danny confronts him with a bad-ass gardening equipment – he simply hands over his handgun and walks away!
The mother of all B-gradeness is evident in the way Rodriguez pushes all mainstream envelopes without bothering ratings and censors – something that Jonah Hex promised, but missed, quite miserably. After all, Hex has THE Megan Fax, playing a prostitute! In Machete, the man beds every single leading lady in the film – Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba and of course, Lindsay Lohan, along with her screen mother, in a ménage à trois, inside a swimming pool…while the whole thing is being videotaped!
The most rocking scene is perhaps the one without nudity and actually involves a priest and a church. I’m not saying much here – you have got to watch it to believe it and have your own fun!
Machete works like any Rodriguez film – it has unabashed, in-your-face everything, wrapped interestingly in a US-Mexico border mess plot and isn’t afraid to go over the top at any place. When you expect Machete to run amok, he does. When you expect the ladies to drop their clothes, they do. When you expect mega fireworks, they happen. Sometimes, being predictable has its perks. Particularly when Robert Rodriguez makes them happen!