Blu-Ray Review: Robert Rodriguez’s ‘Machete’ With Jessica Alba, Robert De Niro

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CHICAGO – “Machete” may be one of the most wonderfully-conceived films of 2010. The idea that one of the fake trailers from “Grindhouse” could ever become a full-length film is a movie lover’s dream come true (and it’s so ironic that “Machete” grossed more domestically than the movie that spawned it). While I love the very existence of “Machete,” the movie itself is something of a disappointment, and it’s not helped by a mediocre Blu-ray that barely has any special features.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0

Robert Rodriguez is an undeniably-talented man with great ideas but little concept of pacing and an inability to edit his own material down to a reasonable slice of entertainment. There’s a lot to like here and it’s better to be able to watch it at home in installments but Rodriguez has no idea when to quit.

Working from the preview in “Grindhouse,” Rodriguez crafted a movie around the already-shot footage and incorporated it into the final product. In fact, you can watch the original trailer as a preview for this film. That preview basically featured a lot of grainy shots of star Danny Trejo kicking ass as the title character.

Machete was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 4th, 2011
Machete was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 4th, 2011
Photo credit: Fox Home Video

In the full version, it is revealed that Machete used to be a Federale until he was burned by the notorious drug dealer Torrez (Steven Seagal) and his wife was decapitated in front of him. Three years later, Machete is working as a day laborer in a Texan border town when he’s approached by the nefarious Booth (Jeff Fahey) to assassinate Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro), a character clearly inspired by Senator McCain in his support of an electrified fence to keep Mexicans from crossing the border.

Machete was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 4th, 2011
Machete was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 4th, 2011
Photo credit: Fox Home Video

McLaughlin is so intent on stopping immigration that he often rides with the maniacal Von (Don Johnson), a lunatic who enjoys picking off immigrants as they attempt to cross the border. The assassination attempt doesn’t go as planned on either side and Machete ends up framed and on the run. Luckily, the sexiest Customs Agent in history (Jessica Alba) knows the truth about him and a nearly-as-sexy freedom fighter named Luz (Michelle Rodriguez) rallies her forces to his aid. Along the way, a shotgun-toting Priest (Cheech Marin), a hitman named Osiris Ampanpour (Tom Savini), and even Booth’s drug-addled daughter (Lindsay Logan) play a part in the action.

There are moments and scenes in “Machete” that kind of need to be seen to believed including a shot of a gun-toting Lohan dressed like a nun, the use of a man’s intestine as a rope, and the hiding of a cell phone, well, someplace special. Through it all, Rodriguez coaxes typical-for-the-genre B-grade performances from hacks like Fahey, Seagal, and Johnson. I’m not sure that Alba knew she was in a film filled with bad performances or was honestly doing her best. As for Danny Trejo, his one-note character actually works for the film in that it too is basically one loud note.


And that’s the problem with “Machete.” It becomes numbing. It wears out its routine by the hour mark and it’s barely over half-over. There’s a fine line between B-movie fun and C-movie dreck and “Machete” crosses it several times. Rent it, but don’t get your hopes too high.

The Blu-ray release of “Machete” is one of the most surprising in a long time. Robert Rodriguez is well-known for doing tons of special features, including commentary tracks and his famous 10-minute film school. With a cult hit in the making like “Machete,” one would assume that it would follow the pattern. Sadly, Fox only includes a few deleted scenes and an audience reaction track. It reeks of a planned special edition. Someone call “Machete” and send him after the executives at Fox who put this version together.

Special Features:
o Digital Copy
o PocketBlu
o BD-Live
o Audience Reaction Track
o Exclusive Deleted Scenes
 

“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 Rodriguez & Ethan Maniquis. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 4th, 2011. It is rated R and runs 105 minutes.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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