Friday, September 20, 2013

Fantastic Fest 2013 Review: MACHETE KILLS - Jonesy's Take

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Written by: Kyle Ward
Starring: Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Mel Gibson, Amber Heard, and Carlos Estevez
Synopsis: Machete is back on a new mission to stop an evil arms dealer. 

In his original film, MACHETE, director Robert Rodriguez expanded on his Grindhouse trailer and created a fun and stylish Mex-plotation film. As a joke, the end of the film promised Machete would be back in MACHETE KILLS. Rodriguez never imagined the following his film would have, thus he comes back with the sequel with shifts gears from a smaller, grittier style to a wider scope.

Machete (Danny Trejo) is reeling from the death of his girlfriend/partner Sartana (Jessica Alba). The president (Charlie Sheen billed as Carlos Esteves) enlists his help in stopping an evil arms dealer, Voz (expertly and crazily portrayed by Mel Gibson), from destroying major cities for his own evil scheme. Similar to the first film, the plot doesn't particularly matter. If you're looking for deep characters and complicated plot structure, this is not that film. The action is fun and cheesy. Almost every scene has a laughable kill where Machete kicks ass; however, the graphics and blood felt too fake. The grittiness feeling, which made the first film such fun, felt lost somewhere in post-production in this film.

The performances of all the side characters is what kept the film moving. Gibson chews on every line and as expected, can play a deliciously crazy psychopath. Trejo plays a perfect deadpan, unkillable assassin who likes to speak in the third person, and his more subtle performance creates many comedic moments. One detail the film could have left out was the opening sequence. The title sequence ends up spoiling some fun casting choices. There's a certain character that evolves during the film, and it would have added some enjoyment to be surprised with each evolution.

While this film picks up a little after the first one lets off, about two-thirds of the way through, it shifts genres completely to a sci-fi film. Though the sci-fi section ended up being the more interesting aspect in the adventures of Machete, it doesn't flow with the first part of the film. Instead, it ends up feeling disjointed and oddly paced.

While MACHETE KILLS doesn't have the chutzpah of its predecessor, there's enough with the performances and kills to keep you entertained.

MACHETE KILLS will be released nationwide October 11, 2013.

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