Movie Review – Machete Kills (2013)

Machete Kills, 2013.

Directed by Robert Rodriguez.
Starring Danny Trejo, Alexa Vega, Mel Gibson, Carlos Estevez, Amber Heard, Vanessa Hudgens, Sofia Vergara, Jessica Alba, Lady Gaga, Michelle Rodriguez, Cuba Gooding Jr., Demián Bichir, Zoe Saldana, Edward James Olmos, William Sadler, Antonio Banderas, Tom Savini and Walton Goggins.

Machete Kills


The U.S. government recruits Machete to battle his way through Mexico in order to take down an arms dealer who looks to launch a weapon into space.

To exactly discuss Machete Kills in terms of film criticism is a test upon itself. We find Danny Trejo’s Machete, now a spy, recruited by the US President, appropriately played by Charlie Sheen to take down an international criminal organisation lead by (once again appropriately) madman Mel Gibson.

Machete Kills must not be taken seriously. To take it with a grain of salt would be far too of an understatement. However, this doesn’t give it any excuse to simply yawn its way through its underserved running time of 105 minutes. Each set piece, however utterly ridiculous feel rushed and tired with its only savior being Sophia Vergara’s “strap on” gun.

Thankfully, the kills are more inventive than anything I’ve seen in recent years with machetes, helicopters and strange science fiction guns all part of Machete’s arsenal. These moments save the film from simply being an unneeded sequel to a film no one really asked for. It is with Trejo that these moments gleam with 80’s style one-liners and Rodriguez’s continuing flair for the flamboyant and ridiculous.
Robert Rodriguez has certainly assembled an impressive and vast ensemble cast with Trejo, Sheen and Gibson supported by Lady Gaga, Cuba Gooding Jr., Antonio Banderas, Sofia Vergara and man-of-the-moment Walton Goggins. However, in a similar vein to Rodriguez’s more recent features, these vast casts bring very little to the final product with each actor simply appearing in bit-part cameos. As a result of this, it’s a pleasure when Mel Gibson hams up every second of his return to the Hollywood mainstream.

As with Machete, Machete Kills has a certain element of political satire running through it with immigration and the exploitation of the Mexican workforce running through the plot. These themes aren’t exactly subtle and they’re buried under ridiculous one liners, “Machete don’t tweet,” and purely absurd Star Wars references that have utterly no place in the plot. Although the attempt at political satire is futile, the plot is a mish-mash of 80’s science fiction and the grindhouse genre that Rodriguez continues to yearn after.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★

Thomas Harris

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