Film Review: Robert Rodriguez’s ‘Machete’ Pushes Excess Past Breaking Point

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CHICAGO – Not everything should be filet mignon. Sometimes you just want a greasy, delicious cheeseburger. Now imagine eating ten of those cheeseburgers in a row. Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete” starts as a wonderful gore-fest but falls victim to its creator’s inability to realize he doesn’t need to answer to every violent vision he can dream up. The film is proof that even extremely over-the-top films can be monotonous in that their one tone is “ARGH!”

"Machete" started as a fake preview in the "Grindhouse" double feature that Rodriguez made with Quentin Tarantino that consisted of "Planet Terror" and "Death Proof" along with other made-up B-movie trailers by Rob Zombie, Edgar Wright, and Eli Roth. Instead of just starting over, Rodriguez devised "Machete" around that original preview, working from the footage he shot for it and even incorporating it into the full film. So, yes, you could actually use the "Grindhouse" footage of "Machete" as a preview for the 2010 film. That's kind of brilliant. Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0
StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of "Machete" in our reviews section.

And the way Rodriguez builds on his original B-movie concept of a man with a knife for a nickname is admittedly somewhat brilliant as well. Not unlike the way the Blaxploitation flicks of the '70s used genre to make sociopolitical commentary, Rodriguez uses "Machete" to offer an extreme controversy on the immigration debate in 2010. He imagines a world where the border isn't just divisive or dangerous but downright ludicrous.

The film starts with Machete (stone-faced Danny Trejo) as a Federale trying to track down the notorious drug dealer Torrez (Steven Seagal). When his enemy gets the jump on him and decapitates Machete's wife in front of him, the man becomes a myth. Three years later, he pops up as a day laborer in a Texan border town and just happens to be chosen by the nefarious Booth (Jeff Fahey) to attempt an assassination of Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro), a clear characterization of Sen. McCain and his battle against illegal immigration.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Machete” review.

“Machete” stars Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Shea Whigham, and Lindsay Lohan. It was written by Robert Rodriguez and Alvaro Rodriguez and directed by Robert Rodriguez & Ethan Maniquis. The film is rated R and opens on September 3rd, 2010.

Photo credit: Fox

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