Starring: Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Demian Bichir, Amber Heard, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Charlie Sheen, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa Vega, Tom Savini, William Sadler, Walton Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas,
Running Time: 107 Minutes
MACHETE came to life as a fake trailer during the Tarantino/Rodriguez double bill GRINDHOUSE, which was unfortunately split for us UK viewers. Although it may have started as a fake trailer, it soon became a reality and was such a blast that a sequel just had to be made. MACHETE KILLS actually begins with yet another fake trailer, funnily enough for the third film in the trilogy MACHETE KILLS AGAIN…IN SPACE which is currently in development. Although the original was a vicious and absurd grindhouse flick, there was nothing to suggest a science fiction twist, so part of the enjoyment is seeing how this second instalment makes its way in that direction.
MACHETE KILLS is unapologetically bonkers. From face changing villains, to sudden shifts in plot, and ridiculous action sequences that most children would think of before being shot down on the physics and plausibility of such a scene. It’s due to this complete disregard for anything logical that makes MACHETE KILLS such a delight. It’s a non-pretentious exercise in pure fun, but fun for childish adults, which means the violence and dialogue are very silly, but still littered with curse words and decapitations.
The cast chosen for MACHETE was one of its biggest draws, with megastars such a Robert De Niro appearing in a grindhouse film. Who would have thunk it? MACHETE KILLS continues the trend by employing a number of different stars from different walks of life, and eschewing our preconceived notions of them. Mel Gibson returns and gives it his absolute all. I loved him as the villain, and there was nothing about his performance to suggest the part was below him. It was clearly a gesture of goodwill from Rodriguez in order to get Gibson back on track after a rocky few years, and he makes the most of it. If playing the villain wasn’t enough, the little touches also make for a villain as bizarre as Gibson’s personal life. Why can’t a crazed maniac be a STAR WARS fans?
The plot also echoes back to earlier James Bond films, when space travel and megalomaniac businessmen with their hands in the government could all live harmoniously. What starts as a road movie in which Machete must escort a warlord with multiple personalities, becomes something else entirely in the latter half. Fortunately, Trejo’s very straight performance anchors any bizarre tonal shifts, and for a man hitting 70 this year, he never once fails to convince as an action star and a complete badass.
Fun, furious, but completely madcap, MACHETE KILLS may not appeal to a big audience, and it may even disappoint fans of the original because of the slightly more comedic elements incorporated. For those who love a bit of daft action madness, aren’t too pernickety regarding consistency of effects, and want to see Gibson, clones, and Sofia Vergara brandishing the infamous Rodriguez strap-on, MACHETE KILLS probably won’t disappoint, and if it does, it won’t actually care.
(4 / 5)MACHETE KILLS is releaed on Blu-ray and DVD on 17th February.