A kill ‘em up, tie the bad guy’s guts to a chopper blade, guns that turn your insides out, holy fucking Christ . . . that is just a small sample of how badass Machete Kills is. Going from director Robert Rodriguez’s make believe trailer in Grindhouse, to Hollywood’s first Latino action star in 2010’s Machete to the long awaited sequel, it’s so ridiculously unbelievable but the truth of it is Machete Kills is not for serious movie snobs. It’s all about blood, babes, guns, everything you want in an action flick that’s more silly than cinema but nevertheless is an enjoyable hour and a half of watching your favorite ex federale butcher, chop and slice, and blow up a lot of stuff.
For those of you who need a reason to watch a film where virtually every girl walks around half naked (which is a good enough reason for me to check out a movie), here goes the plot. After Machete’s partner/girlfriend Santana (Jessica Alba) is murdered after uncovering a nuclear warhead being smuggled into the US, Machete (Danny Trejo) is captured and sentenced to death by the country bumpkin sheriff (William Sadler). As Machete slowly hangs to his death none other than the President of the United States (Carlos Estevez/Charlie Sheen) sends a last minute reprieve to spare Machete’s life. With me so far . . . nuclear warheads, surviving a hanging, the President of the United States is using his legal Latino sounding name and now the world knows he’s not Caucasian. We good? Good.
Turns out there’s a Mexican terrorist on the loose with plans to launch a nuclear warhead towards Washington D.C. Machete must kill. Before heading to Mexico he meets his contact, Miss San Antonio (Amber Heard) who wants to find out for herself if what she “hears” about Machete is true. Once in Mexico Machete has to escape a band of gun wielding Mexican whores led by the madam, Sofia Vergara, who has looks that can literally kill. Once Machete finally meets with his target named Mendez (Demian Bichir), he informs Machete that if he dies the warhead goes off because—and this is important—the warhead is connected to his heart ,set to go off once it stops pumping. Now the interesting part is, upon his capture his men are ordered to put a bounty on Mendez’s head, leading to Machete to have to save his life and bring him to the United States to the only man that can deprogram the warhead—Voz (Mel Gibson).
Now here’s where things go really, really over the top. After a series of James Bond type references—think You Only Live Twice and any Roger Moore Bond film with its zany weaponry—Machete is taken to Voz, an arms dealer with a collection of hi-tech guns, machetes, and an ability to predict into the future. And of course, he loves Star Wars and apparently, so does Rodriguez because by this point the film takes a weird sci-fi turn. Voz has his own Luke Skywalker style land speeder—seriously, a speeder—and his own space shuttle/cruiser (think Imperial starship, only a little smaller which is a bit more believable). The shuttle becomes a pivotal point by the end of the film leading to the finale of the trilogy (we get a sneak peak at Machete Kills Again, an equally over the top trailer shown at the beginning of Machete Kills) and you’ll never believe where it takes place. Think north, way up north.
With Voz being the real brains behind a possible worldwide nuclear assault, Machete calls on Luz (Michelle Rodriguez) and her network of undocumented revolutionaries who, as it’s repeated several times throughout the film, are in it for “the greater good” and launch their own mini war against Voz. That means more blood, guts and shooting at targets perfectly through large crowds of people.
I have never sat through a film that takes such a weird turn as Machete Kills. Where Machete was more of a consistent comedy/action/adventure film with an obvious message regarding undocumented immigrants, racism, government corruption and patriotism, Machete Kills is more the homage to B-movie grind house features we expected Machete to be. While I loved Machete, Machete Kills is the film I can watch over and over again. It’s a film where multiple viewings will have you seeing something you hadn’t noticed before. Did we forget to mention the many quick cameos of the Chameleon, an assassin who reveals a different face after each kill until the Chameleon is revealed to be Lady Gaga, not. She is, in her 13 minutes of screen time one of the more memorable characters in a film full of characters you won’t forget and will most likely be in the final installment of the Machete trilogy. It’s typical Robert Rodriguez, a director noted for making silly, offbeat, independent style films but always makes a positive impression on you long after watching it.
Do a shot: When Machete gets hanged but doesn’t appear to be dying, just giving the small town Texas sheriff the evil eye.
Take a drink: Each time Sofia Vergara’s breasts begin shooting bullets.
Do a shot: Each time Lady Gaga (the Chameleon) unveils a different face.
Take a drink: When one of the major characters gets frozen in carbonite. Yeah, you read that right.