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Created from the fake trailer that some people saw in Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse (and by some I mean a few Americans as it wasn’t aired as a double feature anywhere else), comes Danny Trejo as Machete, a former Federale whose wife and child were murdered by the Mexican drug kingpin Torrez (Steven Segal). Left for dead, Machete makes his way to America and the great state of Texas where senator John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro) is trying to campaign for an electrified fence built between Texas and Mexico to stop illegal immigrants entering the country.
Machete is hired by Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey) to assisinate McLaughlin however it was a set-up all along and McLaughlin is actually working with Torrez in order to control the Mexican border. Cue a violent rampage of revenge and ridiculousness in which the most unbelievable thing you’ll see is Lindsay Lohan in a nun’s habit. Lohan was a big doubt over appearing in the movie as it was being shot as she was in and out of prision, luckily for her, she shot her scenes in three days, possibly during her day release.
As you’d expect if you managed to see the trailer – as most people did on the internet – and if you saw Rodriguez’s half of the Grindhouse double bill, this movie is not to be taken seriously and that’s shown right from the get go when the naked woman Machete rescues pulls a phone out from her “natures pocket” to call in Torrez. The very fact that you have Steven Segal playing a Mexican drug lord should be enough to know the sort of movie you’re in for.
We see the Grindhouse effect on the movie with grainy scenes and colour loss in places but it all works from the sheer creativeness of Rodriguez. The plot is your basic revenge story but the rampage is so filled with blood and gore that will have you twisting in your seat, you don’t care that you’ve seen it a thousand times before.
For a B-Movie rip off the film does house some big names, alongside De Niro and Segal come Jessica Alba who plays an immigration officer and Michelle Rodriguez, a Mexican sympathiser who is the head of an organisation known as “the network” that has been ensuring safe passage for Mexicans into America. They all bring certain elements to the film, even if Alba did have a no-nudity clause written into her contract meaning the scenes where she does get her kit off had to be digitally manufactured.
You can expect limbs to be hacked off, women to be exploited and a penchant for the ridiculous as Machete (who don’t text by the way) works his way through the racial and political quagmire to exact his revenge in the final battle scene which is all you’d expect and a whole lot more. It’s by no means a perfect film, it will make you cringe, it will make you laugh but it won’t have you baying for the supposed sequels (as announced in the end credits) as it did after the fake trailer was shown.