There aren’t many movies I really feel the need to see in the theater. But ever since I saw the special “leaked” (wink wink) trailer of Machete released around Cinco de Mayo, I knew I had to see this movie in the theater if for no other reason than being able to laugh out loud with my friends and other theater-goers.
Laughing with others is always preferable to laughing alone, although I do the latter all the time. Last time I sat at my desk and cracked up all by my lonesome was when I watched a podcast from Alex Jones of Infowars.com. Never heard of ‘em? Good. You aren’t missing much really, except the paranoid rantings of some loon concerned that Robert Rodriquez is going to single-handedly kick off the Great Brown on White Race War of 2010 with the release of this film. Drawing comparisons to The Plan of San Diego and attempting to contrive significance between the use of machetes in the film and the use of machetes during South American revolutions and Liberation Theology, Alex Jones is just one of many bug-eyed airbags who feared this movie was created to further fan the flames of racial tension. As if stoking that fire to any noticeable degree would even be possible over the stronger collective gusts of nonsense coming from his mouth and others like him.
The movie opened on Friday. It’s Sunday evening at the time of writing this. Maybe I accidentally deleted the email about where us brown people were supposed to meet in order to set it off proper. Or maybe that memo hasn’t been sent yet. In any case, I didn’t see any race war going down this weekend.
What I did see was a campy, totally bitchin’ bloodfest with a fair amount of boobs and legs, too. With Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Lindsay Lohan and Tom Savini in the cast, the official tagline of the film should have been “Machete: Everyone and They Mama.” These actors did turn in stellar performances, though, and thus saved the film from being your average tired B-movie. Steven Segal made a very convincing–and humorous–appearance as a supervillain. Don Johnson took the role of whackjob militiaman to a whole new level. Robert De Niro, not surprisingly, shined as the corrupt politician you love to hate. Michelle Rodriguez was as hard-assed of a heroine as one could hope for. Jessica Alba was, well, Jessica Alba. Narrative-wise, this storyline is solidly engaging from jump, progressing at a fast pace. With plenty of comicbook-like action and cheeky sex scenes, there was always something to laugh at. I can only hope that this is the beginning of a new genre of Mexploitation films and that all the subsequent films from here on out are as side-splittingly amusing as Machete.
Becoming a warrior for La Raza wasn’t a message I internalized when Danny Trejo disemboweled some goon and then used dude’s colon as a rope while jumping out of one window, crashing through a window on the floor one level down. Um, can you say RIDICULOUS, much? Nor was I motivated to go bash some white men after watching the scene in which Jessica Alba’s highly dedicated law enforcement character is shown diligently working on a hard case, conducting a criminal database search in the middle of the night–all while in steamy shower, glistening wet and fully nude. Starting a revolution was not on my mind while watching the exceptionally gorgeous Midriff Rodriguez, I mean, Michelle Rodriguez open fire on a mob of angry white militia men while wearing only an eyepatch, cargo pants, black satin bra and grimace. In one fight scene, Machete sticks a meat thermometer in some hitman’s neck just prior to escaping a massive house explosion. After the explosion razes the house, the airborn hitman’s body lands on the hood of a nearby car–meat thermometer shown popped up and smoking. These are not the images that make me want to start a race riot. If any kind of riot is going to be started, try laugh riot. This flick kept the laughs coming.
If you like your blood spurting high and your miniskirts riding short, go see this. You will not be shortchanged when it comes to gratuitous gore. There is an abundance of female nudity–the perfectly-carved, airbrushed, bouncy unrealistic kind found only in comic books, video games and pubescent fantasies. If one is willing to look past the tongue-in-cheek camp, simply over-the-top violence and cheap sex scenes, sure, there is some timely commentary here about racial and class divisions that exist in our country, the broken immigration system and political corruption. But, by no means is this movie a call to arms. To be afraid that Mexicans are going to see this movie and in turn go out and start killing people is just absurd. If one can stop laughing long enough to glean anything from this film, the messages to be learned from our heroes in Machete are that there is the law, and there is what is right, the two sometimes are not the same; but, there is justice and it will always prevail. Those are the truly revolutionary messages to be taken away. And those are ideas not to be feared, but rather, embraced–and embraced by all people.
Have you peeped this flick? What did you like about it? What didn’t you like? Drop us a comment. Gozamos wants to hear from you!