You either go into Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills and accept it for what it is – or you don’t. If you fail to accept it then you won’t enjoy it (you’ll more than likely downright hate it) but if you do, you’ll dig it for being the balls-out, no-holds-barred action schlock that it is.
I dug it for being a wonderful balls-out, no-holds-barred piece of action schlock.
Machete Kills is a cinematic milkshake made from a wide variety of pop culture cinematic ingredients. It’s not very nutritious, but it tastes damn fine. Danny Trejo is Machete, the latino badass who is part Rambo, part James Bond – all Mexican. He’s charged by the US President (Carlos Estevez, looking more and more like his father) to save the world from Luthor Voz (Mel Gibson), an evil megalomaniac who wants to start a new civilisation in space. Machete’s mission sees him kill, bed and behead a variety of friends and foes as he attempts to complete his mission and his tactics (much like the movie) aren’t subtle.
Machete Kills works as grind house movie and Rodriguez wears his exploitation influences on his sleeve. He leaves no corner stone of cinema unturned as he attempts to deliver an auctioneer that features…well, pretty much everything. He brings a lot of famous faces along for the ride (Lady Gaga, Amber Heard, Cuba Gooding Jr, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez and Antonio Banderas) as he attempts to deliver a film that is the ultimate cinematic fantasy for every pre-game console teenage boy.
Danny Trejo’s face is probably the film’s greatest special effect and Rodriguez knows how to shoot it. The director (and cinematographer’s) digital photography highlights every crevice of the actor’s craggy visage. However, what makes Machete Kills really great is Mel Gibson’s performance as Luthor Voz. He nails it, letting loose with a gleeful menace that only Gibson can deliver. He revels in his fiendish plot (ripped straight from Moonraker), delivering his lines with a sparkle that again shows why Hollywood should collectively man-up and give him his rightful place back at the table with today’s leading men.
It could be argued that Rodriguez’s filmmaking style is that he throws everything at the screen and sees what sticks. Maybe that’s true, but Machete Kills is a cinematic joyride, where rules and conventions are left behind as you kick back and enjoy yourself. You accept Machete’s mission or you don’t – but if you do then you need to surrender all inhibitions.
Interviews with all involved showing that they were singing from the same Hymn-sheet as Rodriguez.