Robert Rodriguez & Ethan Maniquis | 100 mins | TV | 1.85:1 | USA / English & Spanish | 18 / R
Multi-hyphenate Robert Rodriguez takes his Grindhouse fake trailer and expands it into an all-star “Mexploitation” actioner, with mixed results.
When it’s on its game, Machete is the best kind of spoof: innovative, comical, and as thrilling as the cream of the genre it’s targeting. Moments that achieve this are liberally scattered throughout, and to cite them would be to spoil them.
Unfortunately it’s far too long, with an overabundance of characters and conflicts dragging things out. A serious prune could have made this sharp, quick and fun, rather than a mix of highly enjoyable sections with dull longueurs.
The cast at least seem to be having fun, and are certainly in on the joke. Jessica Alba was nominated for a Razzie, which shows someone completely missed the point — she’s actually pretty good here. The number of “goofs” listed on IMDb suggest plenty of other people didn’t get it either, mind. I suppose any kind of comedy is an acquired taste.
Part of that joke is to be OTT, but sometimes the film goes too far, trying to be crazily fun but instead ending up overcooked. It’s also clear that bits from the fake trailer have been joylessly shoehorned in. It seems fitting for the genre to shoehorn in “cool stuff” that doesn’t make much narrative sense, but occasionally Rodriguez seems to be jumping through hoops to fleetingly include something that ‘needs’ to be there purely because it was in that trailer.
Machete has enough entertaining moments to ensure enjoyment for many; as to how much the thumb-twidding filler mars the experience, your mileage may vary. For me, it stood in the way a bit too much.
This review is part of the 100 Films Advent Calendar 2014. Read more here.