“Grindhouse” was a film that never got the audience it deserved. Sure the 3-hour plus length scared some away, but any proper throwback to cinema’s yesteryears is not without issues. Teaming up two very different directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, “Grindhouse” offered two movies for the price of one. But more than that were the fake trailers. Borrowing heavily from the Splat Pack (a group of horror directors from the early ‘00s), a series of fake movie trailers bridged the two mini-films. Of all the trailers, one that stood out was by Rodriguez about a vigilante South of the Border named Machete. In 2010, Rodriguez expanded “Machete” from a short to a full-blown feature. Last weekend, the sequel hit the megaplex.
“Machete Kills” follows up shortly after the events of its predecessor. Machete (Danny Trejo) is working with Immigration Agent Sartana (Jessica Alba) and living his usual existence. When the United States discovers a terrorist is planning to launch a missile at The White House, the President (Charlie Sheen) calls upon Machete to save the country in exchange for citizenship. Despite first rejecting the offer, Machete goes to work. When he finds the real perpetrator behind the threat is a technology tycoon named Voz (Mel Gibson), Machete must face an enemy with weapons far beyond his need. Coupled with his signature blade, Machete aims to rise to the occasion.
The first “Machete” was a riot. Excessive violence, gratuitous nudity, and language that more than deserved its R rating, which was part of the point. It celebrated B-movie cinema in all its wacky and low-budget glory. This sequel puts too much emphasis on the spectacle and not enough on the plot. The story goes quickly in spots and stalls in others, creating a jerky experience. Here, the cast are mostly bait-and-switch gimmicks. With the exception of Trejo, the film is basically a cameo-packed cavalcade. Most of the other roles have hardly any screen time, leaving the film feel hollow without consistent faces.
As the third film has already been greenlit, it seems unrealistic to expect any rebound in quality on the next try. On its own, it’s bland. When compared to its legacy, it’s crap. 1.5 out of 5 stars.
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