- Running time:
- 104 minutes
- Danny Trejo -
- Robert De Niro -
- Sen. McLaughlin
- Jessica Alba -
- Steven Seagal -
- Michelle Rodriguez -
A badass illegal immigrant known as Machete (Danny Trejo) becomes the patsy in a U.S. conspiracy involving a corrupt Senator (Robert De Niro), a power hungry businessman (Jeff Fahey) and a Mexican drug lord (Steven Seagal). With an alluring Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer (Jessica Alba) following his every move, Machete aims to clear his name and inspire a revolution along with foxy taco-truck operator Luz (Michelle Rodriguez).
The buzz: It’s prime season for exploitation in Hollywood, as “Machete” follows ultraviolent schlock like “The Expendables” and “Piranha 3D” into theaters. Although co-director and co-writer Robert Rodriguez says he’s had this idea in mind since his 1995 film “Desperado,” “Machete” really gained traction as a fake trailer in “Grindhouse,” Rodriguez’s 2007 collaboration with Quentin Tarantino. Trejo, Fahey and Cheech Marin were all featured in the trailer, and return here for the feature length expansion. But the co-star making the most headlines lately is Lindsay Lohan, who plays Fahey’s drug addicted aspiring model daughter and skipped the film’s premiere in an effort to lie low after rehab.
The verdict: Drunk on severed limbs and political outrage, “Machete” so faithfully channels the ludicrous plotting and rickety construction of ‘70s blaxploitation that it might as well be dubbed Mexploitation. With a likeable and leathery Trejo as its anti-hero center, the movie initially seems set to deliver some retro fun with a contemporary message, but never quite lives up to its own potential. Four major villains (including a barely seen Don Johnson) vie for screen time with three screen beauties and three Rodriguez regulars (Marin, Tom Savini and Daryl Sabara), all of them crowding Trejo out of his own showcase vehicle. There’s nothing wrong with the actors here, there’s simply too many of them, and the action buckles under their collective weight. A few clever set pieces and one great payoff to dialogue about human intestines aside, it’s the cheerfully one-sided reduction of border politics that makes “Machete” worth a look. The movie’s pro-illegal ideology won’t win any fans at Fox News, but it’s the only thing close to a point of view in an otherwise unfocused, overstuffed trip to the grindhouse.
Did you know? Seagal has starred in 20 (!) films since 2002’s “Half Past Dead” but they’ve all gone straight to DVD in the U.S. This is his first theatrical release in that time.
Movie theaters and showtimes for Machete in Cincinnati.
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