Machete movie review


On a Friday night after watching Machete, I was psyched. Here I was, imagining everything jumping the bus in triple somersaults from Rob Rodriguez’ famous trailer for his collaborated double feature film with Quentin Tarantino-aptly titled Grindhouse. Thinking back on the film trying to formulate my thoughts, I kept imagining the entities behind the film that make it so good, and one nagging reminder kept coming to my head: it’s a lesser Black Dynamite.

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For those unfamiliar with the film, Black Dynamite is a film that both ribs but praises the 70’s era of blacksploitation films like Dolemite, They Call Me Mr. Tibbs!, and a countless number of other films I have failed to mention. Racy, intentionally script-muddled, and with a level of nonsensical violence that seems conceived by a three year old with a water gun and red food coloring, I consider it one of the best films to ever grace the theater last year.


To be fair, Machete was never meant to be a knockoff. It was a film that was conceived from an idea shown in a film in 2007. The two are independent of each other in every way save their demographic audience and their goal of a lo-fi feel to their films. Still, this should point out that Rodriguez’ attempt of “Mexploitation” is nothing more than retreading blaxploitation cinema and replacing it with Mexican themes.


This is not to say that Rodriguez has not offered a certain element of new things that actually do work. The best example of this is early in the film when we are introduced to our archvillain Steven Seagal(!), which plays out like something I would have expected out of a soap opera on Telemundo. Unfortunately, this is the only scene I can conceive of that has that same feel.


The rest of the film takes on a Hollywood-budgeted film with a wobbly plot that has no real goal. At times it tries to play itself off as a spoof. At other times, it tries to make us want to care about the storyline and the underlying political agenda. At other times, it seems obsessed with trying to pull in the scenes that were displayed in the original Grindhouse trailer. Further still, it features naked women and then turns around and tries to purge itself of any implication of sex.


It’s not a bad film though, as it does have a lot of entertaining scenes. I will not spoil the moments, only that it does have scenes that deliver as a goofy film. I would still want to see the implied sequel to this film just to see what new ways Rodriguez will conceive Trejo doing, but I would be even happier if he knew what he wanted.

Machete receives a PAR


Rating System:




PARL…Kinda Great