Saturday, October 23, 2010

Machete: a Texan goref(i)est(a)

Take some ridiculously explicit violence (as the title suggests) and black humour à la Tarantino. Add a desert location and nude female flesh, and you end up with a movie out of the exploitation genre. Directors Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriguez’s previous work includes titles like Sin City, Once Upon A Time in Mexico and From Dusk Til Dawn, and if you enjoyed those, chances are you’ll love this film too. It is a bloody thrill-ride about a former Mexican policeman who finds himself embroiled in a battle between border police, crooked US senators (Is there any other kind?) and Mexican gangsters.

The unmistakable Danny Trejo, whom you may remember from the director-duo’s previous films, stars as the titular character, a former cop hellbent on revenge after his partner is killed. Michelle Rodriguez, of Fast and the Furious, Lost and Avatar fame, plays woman with sympathies for the immigrants who flock to the US every year. Jeff Fahey, who is mostly known for his TV roles, oozes his way across the screen as the despicable villain. Robert de Niro portrays the caricature of the US senator. An insipid, if sultry, Jessica Alba stars as the FBI agent investigating the presence of illegal immigrants on the border. The other actress with questionable acting skills in this movie is Lindsay Lohan, who was seemingly portraying herself. But don’t worry about it, the ample nude shots distract from the mediocre acting. (If the crass objectification of women offends you, this, like most of the directors’ films, is definitely one to avoid.)

The film does raise some interesting questions about Mexican immigrants in the United States, and what their role should be in that society, but this is an exploitation flick, and no one watches a title like that actually looking for some serious answers to, well, anything. If you’re in the mood for decapitation, served with a helping of nudity and sprinkled with a very liberal dose of black humour, this is one for you.

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