Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
We saw foresaw a great day my friends, because Robert Rodriguez has rebooted 'Machete' with 'Machete Kills'.  We enjoyed the first 'Machete' an awful lot, being a near perfect mix of grindhouse, insanity, wackiness and raw dog entertainment.  Thus, with that knowledge in mind, it brings us no joy to report that we did not have a great day with 'Machete Kills'.  Just an okay day.  Now we have to examine how a movie that gives us even more of what we got in the first movie, at least in the final equation, and added up to less.

Machete (Danny Trejo) is in love.  Her name is Sartana (Jessica Alba) and while she does seem young enough to be Machete's granddaughter, sometimes love just won't wait.  Note to secret agents… don't take your loved ones on violent secret missions as bad things might happen.  On this unfortunate day Sartana was on the wrong end of a gun being held by some murderous cat in a business suit and luchador mask,  after she uncovered a mega bomb, and now Machete is sad.

Machete's grief will have to be short lived as this bomb, owned by Mendez (Damien Bachir) the crazed revolutionary, has it pointed at D.C. and the President (Carlos Estevez) needs Machete to save us all. 

First order of business is for Machete to meet with his contact, Miss San Antonio (Amber Heard), work his special magic, disable this bomb and eliminate Mendez.  Now Machete's adventurous nonsense kicks into high gear as he makes it south of the border, dodges a crazed madam (Sofia Vergara) and her prostituting minions of death, a multi-million dollar bounty has been put on Machete's head which means all kinds of vermin are coming after him, not the least of those is a morphing hitman who might look like Walton Goggins one moment, Cuba Gooding Jr. the next moment, and then Lady Gaga next just to name a few of his faces.  Don't know how this hitman generated boobs. 
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Invariably all of this rigmarole boils down to a super wealthy, borderline insane weapons designer named Voz (Mel Gibson) and his plan for the planet Earth.  At this point I would normally say that chaos, mayhem and nonsense shall ensue, but up until now, that's about all we've seen.  Thus if a little less chaos, a little less mayhem, and tad less nonsense were to ensue… we would not have been mad at Mr. Rodriguez.  That didn't happen.

I'm sure if any of you have read these pages before, you know that we here at the FCU aren't the most sophisticated of film watchers.  By that we mean that you will find far movies from the late porn director Joe D'Amato and SyFy Channel originals than you will find of director Stephen Frears.  Frears is hanging out here, just not all that often.  But alas, even we here at the FCU have our limits, and Robert Rodriguez's 'Machete Kills' kind of abused these generous limits that we allot for chaotic, exploitative nonsense. 

But how did this happen?  On paper, and thus in theory 'Machete Kills' looks to have everything 'Machete' had plus a little bit more.  There's more Michelle Rodriguez, and she's wearing fewer clothes in this episode.  That's a good thing, right?  Yes, Jessica Alba might've clocked out early, but she was replaced by Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard and that kid from those 'Spy Kids' movies who has grown up in a most amazing and unpredictable way (Alexa Vega).  Then, as a topper, where we had Steven Seagal playing an evil Mexican in the first movie, which admittedly was kind of awesome, this one had Mel Gibson as the heavy.  Mel Gibson vs Steven Seagal?  There's no comparison, right?

So with all of these potentially killer elements in place, all handled by the same cat wrote and directed the first movie, a movie which we called… I forgot what I called it and I'm too lazy to pullout one of my quotes, but I liked it a lot… what happened?

Well, if we were to put on our thinking cap, which we don't use all that often, I'd say that 'Machete' paid service to the spirit of exploitation films, and while it was crazy, as most exploitation films tend to be, it was still rooted within some kind of reality that, if you thought about it real hard, felt like it could actually happen.  'Machete Kills' on the other hand felt as if the director dreamed up a series of ridiculous vignettes, asked some of his super cool friends… say like Antonio Banderas or Mila Kunis… if they wanted to popup  in his film, and then strung these things together so that they formed something resembling a movie.  So while watching Sofia Vergara shoot a boob gun, or listening to Antonio Banderas talk like a Texan, or watching Machete ride a missile or watching Michelle Rodriguez exist all looks cool individually, as a collective narrative… not so much.  And even exploitation, grindhouse movies, at least the good ones… like 'Machete'… still need a coherent narrative to work.   

We wouldn't call 'Machete Kills' a waste of time as there were some cool things to look at during its over the top running time, it was just a disappointment compared to the movie that came before it.
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