Saturday, November 16, 2013

Film Review: Machete Kills

Copyright: Open Road Films
Machete Kills again shows that exploitation parody isn’t an easy movie genre. This film is in dire need of structure that would be the backbone of the plot. Instead of a story the movie follows one flaccid joke after another, constantly adding new characters and situations.

The movie opens with Machete and his partner-girlfriend taking on the corrupt US military near the Mexican border. One ninja incursion later his partner is dead. Machete is keen on revenge, and the President of the US offers him a way to do murder those responsible while at the same time he saves Washington D.C. from a catastrophic missile attack. After that we see helicopter decapitation in three different forms, boat chases, car chases, rocket piggyback riding and many other crazy stunts. 

Danny Trejo is once again rocks solid as the mysterious Mexican superhero killer. His facial expression is more similar to a rock than to a human being and for a 69-year-old he is incredibly entertaining and interesting to watch. The only other person who impressed me was Mel Gibson as Luther Voz, an insane business man and inventor straight from the early James Bond movies. In this film Gibson does the perfect larger-than-life villain. Charlie Sheen, Sofia Vergara and Lady Gaga are some of the new faces in the cast, but they do almost nothing to improve the film. Vergara's curvy figure is used extensively, but there is a gaping lack of M-rated nudity from her or any other male or female characters that was present in the firs installment of the series.

Robert Rodriguez directed this film, and he obviously decided not to waste too much time on planning and writing. Inexperienced Kyle Ward is the man who had written the screenplay and I suspect he completed his job in a matter of days, including the revisions.

Exploitation may seem as a field in which writing should be done in this exact fashion, but much more successful Planet Terror shows that this is not the case. Exploitation parodies should be chopped up and mashed back together to a degree, but Machete Kills takes this so far that the movie looks more like a collage of trailer glued together than a coherent film.Without that kind of a basic structure, the script has to be filled with fantastic non-stop humor and/or incredible eye candy action. Rodriguez delivers neither. Action consists of a lot of phony CGI blood splatter and even worse the comedy in the film never reaches anything above lines like “Machete don’t tweet”, slight jabs at US border policy and the fact that Luther Voz is a Star Wars fan boy.

After one hour into the movie I expected the final showdown at any moment. The ending finally occurred 45 minutes later, and it was more than welcome. Machete did kill a lot of people, but Rodriguez also managed to kill all the fun in his prolonged experimentation with exploitation films.


  1. A friend told me pretty much the same thing: that Machete Kills is just too much over the top just for the sake of being over the top. Though I'm a big Robert Rdriguez fan so I'll probably cut this film more slack than it deserves...

    1. I didn't mind over the top that much - for me, the bigger problem was the fact that there wasn't anything beneath that. A modest, less convoluted plot would have done a lot to improve the basic structure and the whole movie.