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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Machete Don't Blog

You may know of Robert Rodriguez as Quentin Tarantino's non-union Mexican equivalent, or as the director of Sin City and Planet Terror. I, however, was first introduced to him in my youth through the wonder that is the Spy Kids movies. You know, the ones about kids. Who are spies. Also there are thumbs. Like, literally characters that are just thumbs.

And these things. The fuck was up with this movie?
Why is this relevant to my current post which, due to the title and inclusion of a large poster above, is evidently not about the Espionage Infants series? Other than having the same director, of course. The reason is because there is another, even more awesome link between these films and our subject for today, Machete. They both have Machete in them.

"Yes, Ben. Danny Trejo is indeed in Spy Kids as the titular kids' Q-like inventor uncle. What of it?"

Well, diligent reader, what you may not be aware of, unless you read Cracked as painfully religiously as I, is that Uncle Machete from Ignoring Child Protection Laws: The Movie is actually the very same Machete as the one in Machete.

Spy Kids is, according to Trejo, literally what Machete does when he's not...machete-ing stuff. With machetes.

So yeah, that's pretty awesome. A BIT LIKE THIS FILM. I mean, holy shit man. Just wow. Sorry, I don't usually make my opinion known this early on, but dear lord. Ugh. Lets just get going with talking about the ins and outs before I make a mess of the floor.

By spilling my glass of milk in excitement. Yes, milk. You people sicken me.
We've all seen some of the seedy underbelly of cinema that is exploitation movies. You've got your torture porn, stoner movies, nunsploitation and so on. They all hinge on one gimmick and are usually ludicrously bad. Or worse, they're Saw sequels. Machete revels in being a part of the family, with horrific special effects blasting all over the screen, spectacularly cheesy one liners at every corner, comically deadpan delivery and ridiculous characters pushing the convoluted plot forwards. This film is, essentially, the distilled essence of the pure fun and over-the-top spectacle of movies wrapped up in a little package with a handwritten love letter to 80's exploitation films signed with a tiny spritz of eau de Rodriguez.

This time it's a jizz joke.
Ignoring the fact that I just used two identical pictures twice in a row twice in a row, I'll give you a bullet point list of some of the awesome that can be found in this movie:

  • Danny Trejo - 'nuff said
  • Steven Seagal with a katana
  • Michelle Rodriguez with an eye patch
  • Jessica Alba
  • Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez in the same scene (see picture above)
  • Lindsey Lohan as a junkie nun with an uzi
  • Nudity
  • A priest with a shotgun
I could keep going but I'm having enough trouble as it is choosing which of these moments to screenshot and put as the next picture.

Nudity was the obvious choice, but for the sake of fairness I replaced the nipples with Seagal's face.
Genuinely, if you aren't usually a fan of stuff exploding and utterly senseless violence you should still give Machete a go, because I guarantee you there will be at least one moment in the film that you watch and can do nothing but grin gormlessly at for the next ten minutes due to its unbridled epicness. Be that the beautiful one liners, the obligatory Tarantino-esque discussion between security guards about the ethics of hiring cheap Mexican labour, or the use of a pimped up car as a weapon, you will find that one moment when the clouds of doubt break and the holy light of pure, unadulterated movie genius shines down upon your ignorant brow, showering you in the sweet bliss of awesome.

Somehow that guy just strollin' by in the background is far more captivating than the endless face pummelling. 
 So on to the bad stuff. Firstly, the previously mentioned bad acting. Now there are genuinely some really good actors in this movie. Robert de Niro plays a spectacularly greasy evil politician (there's a lovely little nod to his heyday when he steals a taxi for a car chase) and Danny Trejo, although expectedly wooden, is still a convincing badass. Then there's Little Miss Perpetually Miffed.

Arriving from a abruptly abandoned pirate stripper party.
Why does Michelle Rodriguez never smile? What terrible childhood trauma did she experience in order to become this disgruntled toughie who only shows her feelings by speaking in monotone slightly louder than normal? Surely expressing slightly more than the emotional range of Kristen Stewart's hot water bottle from time to time wouldn't hurt, right?

But she's not alone. Steven Seagal is, well, you know, Stephen Seagal, so there's that too, and some of the extras provide some atrociously delivered lines. Then there's the bad special effects and ridiculous storyline.

But this waist-deep-in-shit feel of the whole film is it's endearing feature. You have two choices in this situation: wait it out and hope the dysentery kills you before the critics do, or fashion a crude beach ball and have some god-damn fun.

Before entering the pool area, ensure your children have been vaccinated for Hepatitis B, C, H and the latest version of Microsoft Windows.
Machete does the latter. It came into existence as a joke advert in the Rodriguez/Tarantino Grindhouse Double Feature (and was, interestingly, the only good thing about it). It knows its meant to be bad, so there's no expectation for anything other than plain old violence, silliness and one of the most enjoyable movies in the past decade.

Lets just hope Machete Kills manages to keep our metaphorical beach ball of shit afloat when it rolls around later this year.

Tagline: "MORECHETE!"

Overall Ben Equivalence Rating

Following a Mexican Maid Around, Making Up Her Life Story -
You just know that these people live secret lives as awesome gun-toting vigilante badasses. Who are also spies. And priests. Priest spy assassin robot Mexicans! I bet a tenner that hoover has a katana hidden in it. A flaming snake katana! With lasers! HAND ME A FUCKING CAMERA.

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