Thursday, September 9, 2010
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO part 2: MACHETE
The movie is about a Mexican federale whose wife is killed by a drug lord and he is left to die in a burning house while he tries to save some girl. Next thing you know he is in the U.S. illegally and tries to start some kind of new life (I am assuming) working odd jobs. Fahey shows up and offers him a job to kill an "Independent" senator who is against illegal immigration. For a weak reason (they will hurt him if he doesn't accept) he takes the job. Of course its a set-up and Machete spends the rest of the movie running from the bad guys. That is all the plot I am going to give you because there are so many characters and subplots that affect the movie that it would take all day to write. That's a huge problem for a badass movie. Keep it simple. Its like Rodriguez never learned his lesson from Once Upon A Time In Mexico. There were too many characters with stories to tell leaving the action sequences an unimpressive mess of explosions and people running around for no reason in that one. Machete never develops nor does it invoke your emotions to care about most of these characters. Why doesn't Machete refuse the job and kill anybody who tries to hurt him? He has to kill everybody anyway. Machete says he wasn't going to kill the senator. He was just going to shoot him in the neck. I'm pretty sure that would kill him, Machete.
There are a lot of villains but they seem to be put into this movie as nothing more than political cartoons with an agenda. Deniro is the "Independent" Senator who is a racist. Fahey is a businessman who is greedy who works for Deniro and Seagal. Don Johnson is a sheriff along the border who is racist. These are the basic Republicans are evil stereo-types. In the movie universe I accept them as bad guys and can't wait to see Machete kill all of them which is why I went to see this movie in the first place. Rodriguez misses the mark. Machete kills a lot of the low level goons in awesome gruesome fashion but he doesn't kill any of the main bad guys. They all get killed off by each other or by other characters who aren't as interesting. Some of the deaths are really weak sauce. There is a main goon who is kind of like a main villain who is built up pretty good but instead of getting chopped in half by Machete he is strangled by Fahey. That's like killing Darth Vader by pushing him down some stairs. Tom Savini makes a surprise appearance as a hired hit man who kills Machete's brother and instead of getting a machete shoved down his throat he just goes away and is never seen in the movie again. Maybe they will bring him back in a sequel but it seems like there was so much junk going on in this movie that they simply forgot to film him getting killed.
Lindsey Lohan is in this movie! That is not a good thing. Lets just say that she is playing herself. Her story is so not needed in this already packed movie. There is almost no impact on the story with her character. She shows up at the end dressed like a nun shooting a machine gun that knocks every body's gun out of there hand. Everyone gets the message and there is peace. Symbolic? Nope, just stupid. They are called deleted scenes, Rodriguez! Use them!
The whole movie is out of focus in more ways than one. The movie begins with a grindhouse look to the film with scratches and jump edits but as the movie continues it simply looks like a direct-to-video movie. The scratches and old school look disappear after the first ten minutes or so. The movie has a rushed feel to it. I assume that is why there are weak action scenes at the end with weak deaths of the main villains. Deniro's death is a little poetic and Seagal's should have been more badass but its the message that counts. Right? Emotions don't match up sometimes. Machete finds his brother who is a priest nailed to a cross. The next scene is suppose to be a pissed off Machete hacking through waves of baddies getting revenge on the suckers who did that. But that doesn't happen. Instead he goes to Fahey's house and takes down the four guards in ways that don't require blood and guts and intestines. He lets them live. Its a great scene but it should have happened earlier not after Machete is motivated by immediate revenge. Heck, Machete doesn't even take time to cut his brother down. What kind of hermano is that?
At the end there is a big assault on the compound where a bunch of racist white dudes who hunt illegals as they cross the border live. What you see is a bunch of crap thrown on the screen trying to look like a badass ultimate final showdown between illegal aliens and racist rednecks. Everyone shows up, twin nurses, two dish washers, a one-eyed super hot back from the dead Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsey Lohan dressed as a nun carrying a machine gun. Its a mess. The movie becomes less badass and more cartoon. The Expendables was better.
I know there is a lot of negatives but I still really liked Machete. I really liked the over the top violence that is plentiful throughout the film. Danny Trejo is a total badass even though there are some shots where he looks really short. There are still some great scenes with some clever dialogue but I can't recommend it. Rodriguez should watch They Live again. John Carpenter made a sci-fi film that pokes fun at the 80's but it doesn't shove it's political message down your throat. The message doesn't get in the way of the story. Everyone can enjoy it. Machete is a step back for Rodriguez. Hopefully Machete Kills and Machete Kill Again will be better.