Machete Kills is director Robert Rodriguez beating the dead horse far past that line of being an acceptable and sleazy Grindhouse film. Machete was an entertaining action film that proved to be a worthy extension of its Grindhouse faux trailer, while Machete Kills is a sluggish and cheaply made spoof movie that never knows when to stop. It’s not that funny and it’s also rarely amusing, despite Rodriguez stunt-casting just about anyone that had a free minute, including Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding Jr. and many more.
Machete (Danny Trejo) is back and this time he’s working for the President of the United States (Charlie Sheen) to help take down a Mexican revolutionary that’s threatening to blow up the White House with a high tech missile that he’s acquired.
Along the way our Mexican bad ass runs into face-changing assassins, whores with machine guns strapped to their boobs, corrupt officials and old friends. Seriously, Machete runs into just about any outlandish character that you can think of and yes he kills them up in traditional knife-swinging fashion.
Machete also can’t die. Like literally. He gets hung, shot, stabbed and beaten to death, but he just keeps getting up. Machete might have been a cheesy B movie that poked at its Grindhouse roots, but Machete Kills is a full-on disaster movie that almost deserves a little praise for turning out so shitty and awful.
Director Robert Rodriguez clearly shot this one on a fraction of the budget the first film had, because every single blood effect is rendered on a computer screen and most of the explosions look like something made in Paint, which in the film’s defense is sort of the point, but still not an excuse for how cheap and bad everything looks.
Danny Trejo‘s performance remains one-dimensional and cold, with most of his bad assery coming from his fighting skills and ability to slice and dice with a machete like no other. The rest of the crew mostly understands their one note cameos, with Sheen and Gibson doing their best to play up the silliness, while Cuba Gooding Jr. surprisingly delivers the film’s most exciting performance as a well-mannered face-changing assassin.
The rest of Machete Kills is for lack of a better word, pathetic. Rodriguez made this one out of pure boredom or just for the chance to work with such a diverse cast. Nothing about Machete Kills feels as funny or as fun as Machete. Instead, the film just feels like a repetitive chore that simply moves forward to try and top the last scene of absurdity.
Rodriguez isn’t shocking or awing or paying homage to a genre of films. He’s just pissing and shitting all over said films, while ruining his reputation as a legitimate filmmaker. This is not the same man that delivered us Sin City or Desperado.
Machete Kills is more in line with Rodriguez’s Spy Kids films and other childrens film adventures. It’s shot, cut and delivered in a way that is presentable, but everything about it is rotten and smelly and something that one simply does not want to ever have to view again.
Machete Kills Again… In Space may sound like an even bigger joke, but odds are high that Rodriguez somehow scores the funding for that one too and ends up making it just as bad, if not worse than Machete Kills.
I once had high hopes for this series, because while Machete was a tad slow and far from perfect, it was an entertaining action film that poked and toyed with the Grindhouse stuff that Rodriguez and Tarantino delivered on years earlier. Machete Kills does not do that at all and instead makes you remember why some of these horrid B movies stayed hidden for this long and never made it to home video or theaters.
Machete Kills is something that will be forgotten by next weekend and probably ignored for the rest of Rodriguez’s filmmaking career. It’s that bad. I’m worried that Rodriguez has stumbled into a new, lower quality of filmmaking and I can only hope that he rebounds with a vengeance, because this one is just inexcusable.
Machete Kills – 4/10