Machete Kills (2013): Trained to Kill, Left for Dead, Back for More

Posted: June 26, 2014 in Action, Crime, Thriller
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MV5BMjA2MzUxMTM3M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzA2NzkxMDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_At the Arizona-Mexico border, Machete and Sartana Rivera confront a group of weapons dealers and break into an all-out gun war. Just before falling to the gun of the cartel leader, a group of masked men show up in helicopters and take out the remaining cartel members. In the fray, Sartana is killed and Machete is captured and delivered to Sheriff Doakes. While in the process of being hung in the sheriff’s office, President Rathcock calls and requests Machete join him for a mission to stop a madman aiming a missile at Washington. Machete heads to Mexico with the help of his friend, Blanca Vasquez, to take out the revolutionary Marcos Mendez. Upon arrival and meeting with Marcos, Machete learns that the revolutionary has rigged the missile to his heart, which will automatically launch it if his heart stops. Machete changes the plan and takes Marcos on a trip back across the border to get the maker of the device disarm the missile.

Starring: Danny Trejo (Machete Cortez), Mel Gibson (Voz), Demian Bichir (Mendez), Amber Heard (Miss San Antonio/Blanca Vasquez), Michelle Rodriguez (Luz), Sofia Vergara (Desdomona), Charlie Sheen (President Rathcock), Lady Gaga/Antonio Banderas/Walton Goggins/Cuba Gooding Jr. (La Camaleon), Vanessa Hudgens (Cereza), Alexa PenaVega (KillJoy), Marko Zaror (Zaror), Tom Savini (Osiris Amanapur), William Sadler (Sheriff Doakes)

This is not the type of movie that boasts strong acting. To be honest, it lacks the charm of the characters from other films from a similar vein, like Sin City or Kill Bill. Danny Trejo is a man of few words. His performance was much more about looking menacing and lethal, which he technically was able to achieve. Gibson was a bit of an off character, as he appeared sophisticated but primal when put under pressure. The strongest characters in the film were the women, Rodriguez, Vergara, and Heard, but even their development was minimal. The most entertaining character was Bichir and his bipolar rage.

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Robert Rodriguez has had success directing violent, dark thrillers before, but this film ended up simply being a cheesy story with poor acting. Machete, a man who appeared to be invulnerable, had his heart ripped out by the sudden death of his partner and love interest Sartana. When he agreed to take the case to go after Mendez, he allowed himself to ignore his pain over losing Sartana and have a tryst with Vasquez. Even after capturing Mendez, he seemed to develop a sense of trust and respect for the revolutionary’s crazy, destructive ways, potentially feeling for the guy’s lack of self-control. Double-crossed and nearly left for dead, he discovered that Vos was the one behind the threat on Washington and was using Mendez as his delivery method. The battle left Machete betrayed, Luz blinded, and the story with no clear ending or closure, other than the prevention of the missile and the escape by Vos.

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The film never took the time to develop any character. Sartana was the most innocent of them all and she was out in the first 10 minutes. Desdomona went nuts going after Machete but there never seemed to be a reason for her rage other than how he decided to take Cereza out of the brothel. La Camaleon also did not seem to have a clear motive for his pursuit. While the $20 million reward would make sense for La Camaleon, Desdomona was in pursuit before the announcement and it was a rather weak plot point to serve as filler action between the entrance of Mendez and arriving at Vos’s lair. There was also a strange intro with Machete in space, with a follow up to the intro at the close of the story with Machete agreeing to go track down Vos in space.

The film is relatively gory violence with a hint of a storyline. Nothing more and possibly less.

Dan’s Rating: 1.5/5

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