Thursday, October 17, 2013

Machete Kills (2013)

Title: Machete Kills (2013)

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Cast: Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Amber Heard, Sofia Vergara, Charlie Sheen, William Sadler, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, William Sadler, Tom Savini    
I’ve always been a huge supporter of Robert Rodriguez’s particular brand of cinema because it’s obvious the guy loves B-Movies. He gets the joys of watching a fun, silly b-movie that you can’t bring yourself to calling “high art” but you can’t deny having fun with. B-movies can be entertaining, sleazy, shocking, fast paced, but above all fun. They are a quick thrill, a jolt of electricity down your spine, films you watch for “shits and giggles” as Austin Powers would say. Right from the beginning of his career Rodriguez has made b-movies and through the years, he’s become a specialist in them. A quick look through his filmology and all you’ll see are b-movies: From Dusk Till Dawn (1994), Planet Terror (2007), Machete (2010) to mention but a few. Rarely has he deviated from the b-movie highway, save for making family films that make tons of moolah so he can keep making more b-movies. Keeping that in mind, I really wasn’t expecting Machete Kills, the sequel to Machete, to be a ground breaking film in any way or form, in fact, I was expecting the complete opposite. With Machete Kills I was expecting a film that would play with familiar b-movie troupes, but taken to the extreme by Rodriguez, the current king of b-movie cinema. Machete Kills is a b-movie on steroids!

This time around, Machete is working on a top secret mission for the President of the United States to kill a madman called ‘Voz’ (played by a toungue firmly in cheek Mel Gibson), a maniac who wants to destroy the earth and take off on a spaceship to create a new, perfect society up on his space station. You know, kind of like that James Bond flick called Moonraker (1979) in which the villain wanted to do the same exact thing. Anyways, it’s up to Machete to stop him. Problem is that there’s a group of vengeful hookers who want to kill Machete, a personality switching psychopathic killer who wants to off Machete for a hefty ransom and on top of all that, a rebellious leader named She wants Machete to be the leader of her revolution! Can Machete achieve all these things in one movie? Of course he can, we’re in b-movie heaven here! Anything can and does happen!

Charlie Sheen as The President of the United States of America

The minute this movie started, I had a grin on my face. That 70’s “coming attraction” thing that pops up in so many Tarantino/Rodriguez films appeared on the screen and I immediately I strapped myself on tight because I knew one of those divinely fun fake trailers was about to appear. And sure enough, the film starts with a trailer for Machete Kills Again…In Space! The idea for that possible sequel looks all kinds of fun, Machete ends up in a space station shooting laser guns and wielding a glowing machete that resembles a lightsaber from Star Wars…only it’s a machete! It looks a bit like Barbarella (1968) mixed with an ultra cheap version of Star Wars (1977), actually, if I were to compare it to anything, I’d say it looks something closer to Luigi Cozzi’s Star Crash (1978), an Italian science fiction film that’s incredibly hilarious, highly recommend you guys check it out if you’re in the mood for a cheap Italian version of Star Wars, in other words, Machete Kills Again…In Space! looks like pure unadulterated b-movie goodness, if it ever happens! So how does Machete go from fighting ‘federales’ and the F.B.I., to fighting on a space station with lasers wheezing by? I’ll tell you how, through the magic that Robert Rodriguez concocts behind the camera, that’s how! I mean, here’s a director who understands that in movie land, any crazy thing you can dream up can happen and that’s alright because this is a movie! It’s not real! And I love that approach he takes with some of his movies and I loved that about Machete Kills.

Of course, I have to be honest, the majority of the population is going to think this movie is shit and I’ll tell ya why, this movie was made specifically for that core group of people who love b-movies, for those fan boys who get why Mel Gibson is driving a hovercraft from Star Wars, or that the whole Machete in Space thing is a spoof of all those movies that end up sending their heroes “to space” because they can’t think of anything better to do with their film. So guys like me and that other guy in the theater I was in that was obviously enjoying the movie, laughed like maniacs, the other half was asking “why are those guys laughing?” But who cares, for those few who get it, this movie will be an absolute blast, in fact if you can get past your pompous ass self and just give into the madness, you just might have a good time yourself. The movie goes at a lightning fast pace, crazy things are happening every five seconds, you’ll never be bored. There’s always some joke, or some gory, shocking thing happening on screen. Don’t look for things making sense, just go with the flow because there’s never a dull moment on this movie; there’s one thing this movie is and that’s entertaining.

At the end of the day I can’t bring myself to hate this movie because it delivers exactly what I was expecting from it. I wasn’t expecting anything I would take seriously, I was expecting something I would laugh with and be amused by and that’s exactly what I got. I’m pretty damn sure that Robert Rodriguez isn’t expecting anyone to give this movie a “good review”, he was making a b-movie and he knew it. True, ever sense Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), some of Rodriguez's films have a shot in a hurry feel to them, and the result are sometimes sloppy but I can't deny the high fun factor of these "sloppy movies" he's been making. Sure I look forward to the day when he truly focuses all his strengths and makes something as awesome as Sin City (2005) or From Dusk Till Dawn (1994), but till then, I'm having a blast with these b-movies he keeps making. While making Machete Kills, he knew that most people wouldnt get seeing Machete hurling some dudes intestines at the propellers of a helicopter, he knew they wouldn’t get Sofia Vergara shooting bullets out of her tits, but Rodriguez also knew that a group of us out there will absolutely love this movie and get it and want to watch it over and over again, and those are the ones he made this movie for. I mean where else are you going to get a mix of Star Crash (1978), Moonraker (1979) and Mad Max (1979) all in one movie? Nowhere else that’s where! Robert Rodriguez went all out ‘nutso’ with this movie, I mean, did you ever expect laser guns and people teleporting in and out of existence on a Machete movie? Nope! But you’ll get that as well! And if that doesn't grab you, then the never ending avalanche of cameos should keep you entertained! I am looking forward to seeing Machete Kills Again…In Space! Which is why I am hoping Machete Kills makes its modest 20 million dollar budget back, I mean seeing Machete and She flying around in Jet Packs, kicking some villains ass in a cheap version of the death star is the kind of stuff I live for! Gotta love those groovy b-movies!

Rating: 3 out of 5

Rodriguez directs Gibson on the set of Machete Kills


Maurice Mitchell said...

Making fun of bad movies is a tricky thing Fransisco. Too good and you lose the B-Movie lovers. Too bad and you lose everyone else. I'm glad he's trying.

Franco Macabro said...

Rodriguez really went all out crazy with this one, nothing is sacred...all rules are broken...I had a good time with it. It's not a "good film" but it wasn't trying to be either, keeping in line with what a bmovie is, Rodriguez sometimes uses laughable effects, he isn't going for realism, he's going for b-movie logic, which translates to cheap, funny, sleazy, gory....which is awesome depending on who you ask.

jimmie t. murakami said...

Francisco, if you thought the movie was "marvellously entertaining" why did you also say that it wasn`t a "good film" ! ?, surely the essence of a "good film" is one that simply entertains the hell out of the audience ! ! !, which this one obviously does quite magnificently. What else would you say a movie has to be in order to be a "good movie" other than it simply being incredibly entertaining for those who watch it ! ?, you cant really ask for any more than that, the movie has done specifically what its supposed to do ! ! !.

Franco Macabro said...

There are many bad movies out there that are entertaining, this just so happens to be one of them.

It's sloppy in the sense that empty characters phase in and out of the movie without purpose, simply to amuse, I mean, what the hell is Lady Gaga doing there, nothing, that whole "Chamaleon" character was simply there to amuse with the cameos that came one after the other, which was fun, but you have to admit, kinda pointless.

The sets look cheap....some of the cgi is not all that great, I hate the cgi blood...I mean, I can go on and on, but I guess all these things add up to a super charged fun I ain't complaining.

It's low brow entertainment of the best kind is the best way I can describe it.

teddy crescendo said...

Francisco, i hear ya` my old mate, that was a good reply, but i think THE specific point that Jimmie was making was: "How can a movie be bad if its entertaining, surely the definition of a bad movie is one which isn`t entertaining ! ! !".

Franco Macabro said...

Then I would say that by Jimmies definition of a good movie...Machete Kills is a very very good movie!

robotGEEK said...

I was all about this film. I LOVE the fact that he tries to keep the B Movie genre going when nobody else does. There were a "lot" of things I liked about this, mainly the second half. But knowing what he was trying to do and where he was trying to go, I still feel some slight changes would have made a world of difference and a much better Machete Kills; like shooting in film rather than digital, using some practical effects (even just a little), and putting a little more energy into the action sequences. I totally get your points on why you love this so much and how you feel he was "purposely" making it the way it was made, but it all just feels like he was half-assing a lot of this and felt it could have been better in the B Movie department overall.

Franco Macabro said...

I recognize it's imperfections, but honestly, I think he was doing these on purpose, because I've seen him with direct a film with laser focus precision (Sin City and Desperado for example) so I know when he wants he can make a masterpiece, but I also like these films, they are the equivalent of eating a sloppy burger or something.


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