You know, I like a good decapitation as much as the next person–maybe even more–but it is possible to get too much of something. After the third or fourth beheading, not to mention the chopping off of other body parts, the knife skills of “Machete Kills” begin to wear a little thin.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez with screenplay by Kyle Ward and story by Robert Rodriguez and Marcel Rodriguez, “Machete Kills” is the follow-up to “Machete,” which was a really fun, solid B movie. Ah, the good old days.
“Machete Kills” brings back Danny Trejo in the title role as an ex-federale. This go-round he’s hired personally by the President of the United States (Charlie Sheen/Carlos Estevez) to stop, by whatever means, the actions of a mastermind behind the creation of a missile aimed for the U.S. which could take down the whole world. “A master of knives taking down a mastermind criminal?” you ask. In the world of “Machete,” anything is possible.
“Machete Kills” is not meant to be taken seriously. It is one gigantic live-action cartoon and unabashedly so. There is nothing wrong with that as evidenced by the original “Machete.” The problem with “Machete Kills” is that absolutely nothing makes sense. The film boasts a huge cast of stars, but most of them are in the film for about 2 minutes. For those who have more screen time, they are very good, no matter how ridiculous the material. Danny Trejo brings whatever gravitas there is to the film very convincingly. It’s easy to imagine him handling knives, guns, machetes…whatever. Sofía Vergara’s Desdemona is one tough cookie who puts her best assets forward in some hysterical scenes. Charlie Sheehan’s President is fabulous and extremely funny. It’s hard for me to be objective about Mel Gibson. Let’s just say his villainous Voz doesn’t seem like too big a stretch. Amber Heard is great as Miss San Antonio and Machete’s contact via the President (would you expect less with Charlie Sheen as President). Finally, there is Demian Bichir as Mendez, the film’s supposed villain. Bichir is a revelation. His character goes through many different personality changes and he is fabulous in all of them. One can’t overstate how great and how much fun he is to watch.
“Machete Kills” has some stunning visual effects and the switching out of characters is brilliantly done. However, there is a reason that on its opening weekend, there was only one other person in the theatre with me and he left before the conclusion. That reason is…it’s just not very good. Based on the end of the film, there is one more “Machete” film yet to come—“Machete Kills Again…In Outer Space.” Since so few people will have probably seen “Machete Kills” there is a chance to right the ship and give us fun with more than just a smidge of sense. Even the “Roadrunner” has a semblance of a storyline.