The first Machete was born out of a fake trailer attached to the Grindhouse double feature. For a movie whose whole concept was a joke, there was a surprising amount of substance, regardless of how intentionally dumb that substance is. Machete exceeded Planet Terror and Death Proof as both an ode to Grindhouse films and a fantastic, dumb action movie. When it ended and trailer for Machete Kills and Machete Kills Again…In Space rolled, I was thrilled. Now the first sequel has reached theaters and it’s once again time for Machete to kill.
It was the fierce loyalty to providing the most moronic, over the top action, non-stop thrills and hammy, but not bad, acting that made the first Machete a true ode to the Grindhouse films of old, but it also had a fun enough plot and interesting twists and turns that kept you hooked from beginning to end. Machete Kills keeps the insane action, but loses what made the first special. If anything, it shows that simply upping every ante doesn’t work. As much as I wanted this sequel, you have to wonder if there were any real ideas for them beyond the titles.
The keystone that held the wobbly tower of Machete together in the first film was the madcap, yet easily followed plot and that’s what really unseated Machete Kills. This was a story stitched together out of cool set piece ideas and it shows. It feels like a Call of Duty story, I can tell you specific scenes and cool moments with absolute detail, but I have no real attachment to the story it’s trying to tell, so in turn, I really don’t care about any of the characters or their plights.
Something is clearly wrong when Fast & Furious 6 is a better goofy action movie than the latest Robert Rodriguez-directed entry in the Grindhouse series. Yes, Lady Gaga, Sofia Vergara, Charlie Sheen, Antonio Banderas and Mel Gibson are brilliant additions to the series, but there were too many great characters that no one had a real moment to shine on their own. Lindsay Lohan may be a wreck these days, but her drugged out performance in Machete was great. Yes, I remember Sofia Vergara’s crazy revolver codpiece, but that was mostly it.
Machete Kills was one of the films I was most looking forward to in 2013 and it turned out to be one of my biggest disappointments. There may be plenty of great action and some beyond hammy performances from people who we never see going in that direction, but I could barely tell you what the plot was. If this is what we have to look forward to in Machete Kills Again…In Space, count me out. I’ll just go rewatch the first or dive back into the archives for my dumb action fix.
In Theaters: October 11, 2013
Runtime: 107 min
Rating: Rated R For strong bloody violence throughout, language and some sexual content
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga, Michelle Rodriguez, Amber Heard, Charlie Sheen
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Distributor: Open Road Films
Official Site: https://www.facebook.com/MacheteKills