Machete Kills

Directed By:  Robert Rodriguez

Starring: Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Walton Goggins, William Sadler, Demián Bichir, Mel Gibson, and Jessica Alba

Machete Kills is the sequel to the 2010 cult hit Machete.  Unfortunately, Machete Kills fails to deliver the fast-paced, brutal fun of the original film.  In fact, Machete Kills is so bad, that patrons actually walked out of my theater in the middle of the film.  With the cost of movie tickets these days, that says quite a bit. 

The film opens with the unstoppable formal Federale Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) and his girlfriend Sartana (Jessica Alba) attempting to stop a weapons sale between the U.S. military and a Mexican drug cartel.  During the exchange, Sartana is viciously killed and Machete is captured by local Arizona authorities and detained for her murder.  Machete is about to be brutally hung when President Rathcock (Carlos Estevez a.k.a. Charlie Sheen) calls and asks Machete to report to the White House.  When Machete arrives in Washington, the President advises him that an insane Mexican revolutionary named Mendez (Demián Bichir) has obtained a missile and plans to attack the United States.  The President wants Machete to travel to Mexico and thwart Mendez’s dastardly plans.  Machete initially refuses, but then accepts the mission as he knows that Mendez is somehow connected to his girlfriend’s death.

During his mission in Mexico, Machete encounters countless obstacles.  Man-eating brothel owner Madame Desdemona (Sofia Vergara) and her band of gun-toting prostitutes are determined to assassinate Machete.  Mendez, Machete’s target, is a bipolar psychopath who is at turns a raving murderer or a bold revolutionary fighting for the rights of Mexicans.  The Chameleon, a face-changing assassin, is hot on Machete’s trail after a bounty is placed on Machete’s head. And arms dealer and weapons extraordinaire Luther Voz (Mel Gibson) has diabolical plans for Machete, which somehow includes space.  Ex-federale Machete must battle all of these different forces in an effort to save the world from destruction and to avenge the murder of his love.

The first Machete film was an ode to the exploitation films of days past and Danny Trejo was perfect as the unstoppable killer fighting for justice.  The first film was brutal and violent, but it also contained a fair amount of humor and commentary on social and political issues facing immigrants.  Machete Kills, however, is just a completely over the top, ridiculous parody with minimal entertainment value.  Rodriquez ramps up the violence to ridiculous heights.  Men are cut in half, disemboweled, beheaded, turned inside out and tossed into propellers every few minutes.  The violence is so excessive that as a viewer, it is almost an assault on the senses.

Not only is the brutal violence on overload, the film depicts most Latino women in a fairly misogynistic fashion.  Sofia Vergara (who is easily understandable without the heavy feigned Modern Family accent) literally uses a double D bra and a strap-on penis pistol as her weapons of choice.  But perhaps the saddest sight was Alexa Vega.  Seeing little Carmen Cortez from Rodriquez’s Spy Kids franchise as a gun-toting, evil hooker in Machete Kills just felt wrong to me.

However, the film’s biggest flaw is its lazy, uninteresting plotline.  While the cheesy special effects and bad acting do not help, the overall plot is just dull and humorless and connected only by Trejo’s steadily increasing body count.  The lone bright spot in the film is Cuba Gooding, Jr., who plays the Chameleon.  He oozes cool evil effortlessly, and I would love to see him in more villain roles.  Unfortunately, Gooding, Jr. is only in a few scenes, and thus could not save the movie.

Machete Kills earns a much deserved wasted rating.  You will need kamikaze shots to struggle through this one.