Article By: Sam LeGassick
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For those who watched Planet Terror/Death Proof, I think everyone would agree that Rodriguez's Planet Terror was the better half. For all the coolness of Tarantino, his Death Proof was just boring and it seemed like a stale homage rather than a good film in it's own right. Okay, the last fifteen minutes or so were pretty good but still it was Planet Terror that really encapsulated the raw, amateur, visceral grindhouse feel. It was stupid, silly and yet thoroughly entertaining. Fortunately enough, Machete follows this same path and comes up trumps.
Firstly, no-one can fault the cast, Robert De Niro, Steven Seagal, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan, Don Johnson, Jeff Fahey (the pilot from Lost), fan fave Cheech Marin and of course, Machete himself, Danny Trejo. People might argue that Seagal, Lohan etc. aren't deserving enough to be in a picture like this, but it's only in a film like this where they can really shine, it's all OTT and as long as you're willing to give anything a go, you can't go wrong. Danny Trejo isn't the best actor in the world and luckily, he doesn't have to be. Machete hardly says a word, but generally grunts, fucks and slices his way from scene to scene without having to worry about any Oscar nominations, after all, films like this make their heroes more of an old-school character, a hyper-real myth (if there is such a thing) rather than a broody Jason Bourne type. It's a living comic book or pulp novel, and everyone involved knows it.
If you don't know the general plot, Machete is a fugitive and gets asked to kill a local politician, but he is double crossed and he wants revenge but behind it all is his arch nemesis - Steven Seagal's Torrez. Along the way comes Alba as an immigration officer, Michelle Rodriguez as a revolutionary and Lohan as an incestuous daughter. But the plot shouldn't mean too much as it is the fucking cool action that really sets this apart, whether it's slicing off heads, using intestines as a rope or just generally blowing stuff up, the ignorant, racist America that this is against is really just in the background for just making stuff look cool.
The film is completely relentless; the cuts, the feel, the one-liners, the story, everything about it places it in that Seventies shit-flick groove, but unfortunately it's the last fifteen minutes or so that let's it down. Once Machete becomes a leader of sorts and there's a big riot, it feels like it's all got a bit too much and the shots from the original trailer feel too forced into the action. This is a great film with some great set pieces, but at the end of the day you know you're watching some cool trashy flick that dries up a bit towards the end, but you can't fault the fact that they've made everything look COOOOOL. So if you like cool films, you'll love this, just remember the only fleshing out of characters you'll see is their guts hanging on the floor.