Machete Kills Blu-ray Review
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Written by Kyle Ward, Robert Rodriguez and Marcel Rodriguez
2013, Region 2 (B), 108 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
Blu-ray released on 17th February 2014
Danny Trejo as Machete
Mel Gibson as Voz
Demian Bichir as Mendez
Amber Heard as Miss Santonio
Michelle Rodriguez as Luz
Lady Gaga as Whatever she wants to be...
The first time I saw Machete Kills, I had hated it. Silly, annoying and completely lacking in substance, I had found it to be a genuine chore to sit through. Re-watched without expectation and running low on enthusiasm, however, I couldn't help be tickled by its charming performances and sense of fun. Watching for a second time around, I thoroughly enjoyed Machete Kills. Yes, even the bits with Lady Gaga.
Well, it's about time he killed something. After not killing much of anything (besides a fat Steven Seagal) in Robert Rodriguez's disappointing Machete, Danny Trejo returns as the titular character for Machete Kills, a film which promises to deliver on the gory possibilities inherent in a character named after a really big knife. Although there is indeed a lot more killing this time around, it is still a very mixed bag.
A bag of nuts, that is. Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson head up the new additions to the cast, ably supported by the likes of Amber Heard, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Antonio Banderas. Some of it works – Cuba Gooding is the best I have ever seen him, playing hitman El Camaleón – while others transform the film into something borderline (Mexican border, geddit) unwatchable. Sofia Vergara is particularly grating as a brothel owner with machine gun boobs, while Rodriguez insists on bringing back the terrible Michelle Rodriguez and Crazy Babysitter Twins. Lady Gaga, meanwhile, is categorically terrible as one of El Camaleón's many faces.
All these ingredients bubble away in a busy (some might say incomprehensible) plot which sees mercenary and Mexican freedom fighter Machete Cortez once again recruited by the U.S. Government in order to bring down an insane arms dealer planning to launch his big weapon (oo-er) into space. This brings him into conflict with a face-changing assassin (half of the brilliant supporting cast), mad scientist Voz (Gibson, on fantastic form) and annoying brothel boss Desdemona. Trejo handles the action admirably, chopping off heads, pulling out intestines and dispatching his enemies with increasingly impressive style. J.J Abrams take note: turns out Trejo wields a mean lightsaber. Well, if it's good enough for Samuel L. Jackson, why not the Trej?
Depending on your mood, you'll either have a great time with Machete Kills or hate every moment of it. I must have have had a real grump on the first time around, since I found this re-watch to be much more palatable. Fun, even. It's still very silly and very uneven, but it's hard not to raise a smile at the sight of Mel Gibson and Danny Trejo driving around in a Star Wars landspeeder. On the other hand, if you're after something a little more serious, the sight of Mel Gibson and Danny Trejo driving around in a Star Wars landspeeder will likely not be to your tastes.
Those who remain should be charmed by this relentlessly daft action film, warts n' all. Sometimes we could all do with lightening up a little.
Video and Audio:
The Blu-ray's high definition sheen does neither of its leads any favours, with Danny Trejo's pock marked face and Mel Gibson's crinkled forehead looking more cavernous than the Mexican desert in which Machete does most of his much-publicised killing.
If Carlos Estevez Were President asks Estevez (that's Charlie Sheen to you and I) what his policies might be if he somehow wound up in the White House. Unsurprisingly, legalising marijuana is high on the list. High, geddit. Like Charlie Sheen. Six Degrees of Robert Rodriguez is an interesting feature exploring the recurring themes, actors and actresses of Rodriguez's movies. There are also a series of interviews with the main cast, most notably Rodriguez, Trejo and Gibson. Choice quote comes from Gibson, on Trejo: “He's nicer than your average bear.”