Director: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Danny Trejo, Demian Bichir, Michelle Rodriguez, Lady Gaga, Sofia Veraga, Amber Heard, Vanessa Hudgens, Jessica Alba, William Sadler, Cuba Gooding Jr. Antonio Banderas with Carlos Estevez and Mel Gibson
Plot: Machete (Trejo) is hired by the President to track down a deranged revolutionist who has possession of a nuclear bomb.
Machete has the potential to be one of the most exciting franchises out there, but Rodriguez isn’t quite sure how to get the character right.
After a mission gone horribly wrong, Machete is contacted by the President, who wants him to track down Mendes, a crazed freedom fighter, who has a nuclear bomb aimed at the USA. However, when Machete catches up to him, it turns out that he has the trigger wired to his heart, so if he is killed, the bomb will launch. He also has had the foresight to put a ten million dollar bounty on his head, so every assassin in Mexico is trying to kill him. Against impossible odds, Machete tries to escort Mendes to the one person who can defuse the weapon, unaware that that person might have an agenda of their own at play.
To put everything wrong with Machete Kills simply: there is far too much going on. It is as if Robert Rodriguez has too many ideas where to take the franchise and crams it all into one movie. For one moment, it plays out like an escort mission with larger than life characters, where each assassin is crazier than the next. Then it becomes a James Bond Moonraker spoof, where Machete confronts a billionaire madman in a space-station. In all honesty, some of these ideas are quite interesting and I don’t necessarily hate them. If Rodriguez wants to stick Machete into a Sci-Fi action, then so be it. I quite like that joke and as long as it keeps the violent slapstick tone, then I am interested to see where the film leads to. However, having all of these ideas hanging in the movie, just makes the story so hard to follow. The film keeps doing a 180 degree turn with the direction it is taking itself and you end up distancing yourself from the movie, because of it.
I am sure this movie will have its fans. It embraces the B-Movie aspect just as well as it did before. The script is terrible, but in a funny way. You can tell that everyone is in on the joke, so the dialogue never gets in the way too much. It even has some gems that we will be laughing about for a while now. “Hola, motherfucker!” screams Lady Gaga, as she tries to smash Machete off the road. The kill ratio is brutally funny and just when you are losing attention, a gory death will snap your eyes back to the big screen and even cause a few chuckles. Yes, this movie is fun and despite being unimpressed with the two Machete movies, I do want to see a third film. I am a glutton for punishment, it seems. However, the bad news is that for Machete 3 to work, it needs to be toned down somewhat, something that a franchise like this is rarely capable of doing.
At the very least, the cast are mostly on terrific form. This is the kind of film, where all kinds of famous faces show up for the fun of it. Most of them are only on the screen for a few moments. Cuba Gooding Jr. is great as the monotone assassin, but he gets around two minutes in the actual film. Jessica Alba is pretty much just a throwback to the last film. This is another thing that makes Machete Kills seem a little uneven with its footing. But, at least most of them are good. While Bichir was a little too melodramatic for me, success comes in the form of Mel Gibson, who is fantastic as Vos, the villain of the piece. He is quite clearly having a laugh and the fun he has is infectious enough to keep you mildly entertained, when he is on the screen. Lady Gaga does a good job too, surprisingly adept as La Chameleon, another character who keeps you invested whenever she is on screen.
And then there is Sofia Veraga. God, she is just embarrassing. Despite my many feminist rants on this website, I am not totally against the first sign of sexism in a film. For example, it is quite clear that Veraga, and all the women in this movie, are aware of what they are getting into. But Veraga’s character is so disgustingly in-your-face sexist, it would make a James Bond film blush. For one, she is your typical ‘plot point that conveniently takes place in a brothel’ part of the movie. Then there is the nipple gun, stolen and horribly corrupted from Austin Powers, which is apparently her feminist symbol here (a nice return from the Rodriguez penis gun though, even if its appearance is a little cringe-worthy). Every piece of dialogue that comes out of her mouth feels like nails on a chalkboard and every moment she is on camera, the over-acting is far too much. Just when I am just getting into his film, Veraga comes along and reminds me how much of a miss Machete Kills is.
Final Verdict: Sure, it is fun, but we all expected much more. Too many characters and plot points squeezed into a feature-length movie.