'Machete Kills' Review: Everything The First Movie Should Have Been
I feel a kindred spirit of sorts to Robert Rodriguez. Most of the time, we’re both stuck in kiddie land of our own volition. Then when we decide it’s time to play with adults, we’re both so slap happy that we continue acting like 15-year-old reprobates. Truth be told, Machete Kills isn’t any more of a grown-up viewing experience than, say, Spy Kids 4. But it is a lot more fun and kills more braincells to boot.
No one expects seriousness from a movie featuring Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, Lady Gaga, and Sofia Vergara’s rack. I wouldn’t speak so blatantly about the rack, but Sofia’s nips shoot bullets. This seems like a natural progression for a filmmaker who once attached a M4 carbine to Rose McGowan’s severed leg. The machine gun boobs are truly ridiculous, but they reflect the entire mood of this sequel to 2010’s Machete. Truth be told, I never intended upon watching the second installment because I found the first one far too misguidedly political and full of poorly executed satire. The good news is that Machete Kills drops the serious stuff and gets on with the order of the day — gleeful idiocy and abundant violence. That is, this movie indulges Robbie Rod’s inner teenager in a very R-rated manner. These dumb movies are his inside joke to Hollywood, and he’s somehow found enough of an audience to keep funding them. At this point, the second film is essentially a joke within a joke within a joke. It’s really best not to even semi-analyze the story, the characters, or anything at all.
Last time around, Machete (Danny Trejo, one of the most prolific character actors in Hollywood) trotted off into the sunset of his own mythical making. Now he’s back to save the world (really) from nuclear destruction. POTUS (Charlie Sheen, really) calls Machete into action (with the renewed offer of citizenship) to take care of a missile-threatening Mendez (Demian Bichir), whose weapon of choice is programmed to launch at the precise moment of his death. Mendez is operating at the behest of arms manufacturer Voz (Mel Gibson). That’s basically the entire plot, and Machete spends the entirety of the movie defending himself from various henchmen and henchwomen while taking a little time out here and there for da ladies.
The women of this movie are, of course, ridiculously portrayed. Vergara’s boobs play the leader of a brothel, and her performance is typically over the top and exaggerated even more so for this director’s benefit. She’s also the proud owner of a strap-on dildo gun which she uses with much abandon. Amber Heard shakes it as an undercover agent with an impressive cache of weaponry. Lady Gaga, oh, forget her. Fortunately, taco slinger Michelle Rodriguez is back as Luz, the one vaguely glimmering beacon of womanhood in the entire fucking franchise. RR’s treatment of women is moderately offensive (even the POTUS bangs more than chick at a time), but he’s never claimed otherwise. Fortunately, Rodriguez paints his male characters just as stupidly, so it all gets funnelled into a low-rent bouillabaisse of nastiness. Which is fine if you’re into that sort of thing.
Overall, Machete Kills is a lot less serious than its predecessor, and it just might be the movie you were expecting to see the first time around. Basically, it’s good for a good time. I’d advise being either drunk or stoned for the experience, or perhaps saving the film for a drinking game at home where one can get sloppy while counting the endless stream of cameos, including a dash of Walton Goggins (which is always fun). Mel Gibson has one hell of a good time playing the ultimate cartoonish bad guy. This feels like the role he’s been careening towards for the entire past decade of his real-life insanity.
Machete Kills is absolutely nothing of consequence, and I’m not sure that it should have been made, but far be it from me to say that Robert Rodriguez’s little pet movies have no right to exist. Here’s a filmmaker who’s answering to no almost one, and that’s something to be celebrated. Unlike Michael Bay, Rodriguez recognizes that throwing a bunch of explosions haphazardly into a movie doesn’t make him the ultimate artist. The problem is that Rodriguez never knows when to stop — the movie wears thin about 10 minutes before the credits roll. Hopefully, you’ll have passed out from the drinking game before then.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at Celebitchy.