Party at Robert Rodriguez’s House! Everyone’s Invited!
Robert Rodriguez has made a name for himself by making silly and gore spattered parodies of cheap exploitation films. Sometimes this works out quite well for him, like with Planet Terror or From Dusk Til Dawn. Other times… well. Let’s just say, he made The Faculty. Still, it’s hard not to have a little fun with whatever Rodriguez film you’re watching. Well now, he’s released a follow up to his action comedy Machete, called Machete Kills, and the results are… mixed.
Trying to sum up the plot of Machete Kills without spoiling everything would be like trying to teach a rat to play the tuba with its ass. So the long and short of it is, there’s some missiles aimed at America by a psychopath (Mel Gibson) and Machete (Danny Trejo) has to stop him for launching them. There’s a bunch of blood and betrayal and a heaping dose of some of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. There you go.
I remember having fun with the first Machete. Sure it wasn’t as good as Planet Terror, but it had enough moments that I enjoyed to make it not feel like a waste of time. Going into this movie though I had forgotten almost everything about Machete, which was sort of a problem because this movie is a direct sequel to the first. During the first few minutes it was hard for me to keep up with some characters because they’re hardly introduced based on the assumption that you’ve seen and memorized the first film.
Even worse than that though was the fake trailer before the film. Ever since Grindhouse, which featured fake trailers before both films, Rodriguez has added these jokes to the beginning of his more ridiculous fare. The problem with the one before Machete Kills though, is that it basically spoils a portion of the later part of the film. It was distracting to watch the movie while I kept thinking about how they were going to build to the events in the fake trailer.
One thing that works quite well for this movie is the cast. Featuring a mile long list of some of the most beloved (or reviled) faces in showbiz, Machete Kills feels like a huge gathering of good friends having a blast with a camera in front of them. It kind of plays out like a high school project that one super popular kid got everyone else in on, and for one day all those people just went wild. It’s blatantly obvious how much fun everyone who’s in this movie is having. From Lady Gaga, to Mel Gibson, to Michelle Rodriguez, and even this big guy himself, no one seems bored with bringing the crazy factor to eleven. With so many cameos from so many stars, and with all of them seeming to have a good time, you can sometimes feel yourself get swept into the film, and it feels like you’re having as good a time as the performers.
However, the movie gets so ridiculous, so early on, that about halfway through you just become desensitized to it. It feels like someone you know just told you a really funny joke and one of your other friends walks up as you’re laughing, so you have to hear the joke again and all the punch is lost. There’s so much blood and gore, that later when people are getting sucked into helicopter blades you aren’t even shocked. The overall exploitation film feel of the film also begins to be redundant. Many of the film’s gags are directly recycled from Planet Terror and Machete, so when you see them trying to be played off again, it’s just kind of frustrating.
This film is by no means a really bad film. It’s just more of the same. Unless you’re a huge Rodriguez fan, I really can’t imagine you enjoying this movie a whole lot. But if you aren’t, and you do wind up at the theater, rest assured that there will be some laughs to be had so you won’t be totally disappointed, yet for most people I imagine that Machete Kills won’t leave them dead in the aisles.