Machete (2010)

Machete (2010), directed by Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriguez, written by Robert Rodriguez and Álvaro Rodriguez, starring Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Don Johnson, Steven Seagal

Robert Rodriguez has always had an affinity towards cheesy, bloody, exploitation movies and Machete is an exploitation movie through and through. It is, in a story, a simple tale of an ex-federal cop known as Machete (Trejo) from Mexico, who leaves his home behind after drug Torrez (Seagal) lords kill his family.

Machete ends up in the USA, doing odd jobs here and there when he's hired to kill Senator McLaughlin (DeNiro), who's known as a hard ass anti-Mexican, anti-immigration supporter, who in his spare time also shoots the poor people trying to cross the border illegally. Von (Johnson) is a head of a vigilante border patrol militia, that is supporting McLaughlin and his views.

In this mix of violence and racism is Sartana (Alba), who's an immigration officer, trying to track down mysterious She, a head of a secret underground helping illegals to cross the border. She's spying on Luz (Rodriguez), a taco car owner, whom she suspects of being the mysterious underground leader.

Machete really is the kind of a concoction you'd expect it to be: it's blunt, violent flick with a tongue in cheek, blood soaked style of comedy. It's not a movie that will enter in the history of cinema as some sort of masterpiece, but in the end, it's not supposed to be anything like that. It's an exploitation flick and it is that very proudly, without trying to hide what it is. I mean, if you have any doubts about what kind of a movie it is, the only thing you need to do is to take a look at that poster at the top of this post. As far posters go, that is pretty accurate on what you'll get when you press the play button.

This proudness of what it is seeps through the direction, the writing and in the acting when even actors like Robert DeNiro just throw themselves into the cheesy roles they play and do it with an air of earnest and not cynicism about it. Make no mistake about it, Machete is the kind of a movie that does dance on the edge of cynicism, but from some reason, it doesn't really step over the line. It even has a peculiar way of portraying the henchmen of the baddies as people, who aren't doing what they do because they are necessarily evil, but misguided.

As far exploitation, or grindhouse, how ever you want to call these kinds of movies go, Machete is a pretty solid flick on its own right. It is a genre flick through and through, with no intention of trying to pretend it's something else. As a movie, it might not be the greatest story ever told, but it is something that looks and feels like the people who made it had genuinely fun at making it.