So once again we have survived.

Machete

tn_macheteMACHETE is the story of Machete, a man with alot of machetes. That is why he is named Machete. Danny Trejo (MARKED FOR DEATH, URBAN JUSTICE) stars alongside Steven Seagal, Robert DeNiro, etc.

You know what, I just remembered that you guys already know what MACHETE is. But in case there’s one person out there living under a rock where nobody tells you about these sorts of things (and if that’s the case then the fact that you’re somehow reading this raises some questions about internet access under that rock), MACHETE was originally a fake movie trailer made by Robert Rodriguez for that “GRINDHOUSE” double feature he did with Quentin Tarantino. But it was so obviously a good idea for a movie that the people all rose together as one united voice and demanded that it be made for real. This sets a dangerous precedent. Saturday Night Live could conceivably be forced to manufacture fictional products that they advertised as a joke. Filmatists could decide to turn their movies-within-movies into movies-without-movies even when nobody wants to see it, like the vampire movie from BODY DOUBLE or CHUBBY RAIN from BOWFINGER. Or M. Night Shyamalan might decide to write the important piece of writing that his character was going to write in LADY IN THE WATER that was gonna inspire a kid that would go on to become president.

mp_macheteBut here we are in 2010, a futuristic world where the best American action movies are straight to video and second best are postmodern sort-of-joking-about-it homages. MACHETE embraces absurd gore, exaggerated stereotypes and a cartoonish sense of reality, similar to BLACK DYNAMITE’s philosophy of stealing all the most awesome parts of blaxploitation but making them 10% more ridiculous. For what it is the tone is just about right. I think it’s a little closer to a Real Movie than PLANET TERROR was. I still prefer the crazy-but-serious Rodriguez of DESPERADO (before he got a computer), but I respect that this is deadpan and non-jokey enough to keep it out of any comedy sections. There were some parts in the early script that were really funny but too comical for the rest of the movie, and I see Rodriguez had the discipline to leave those out. Good job Rodriguez.

MACHETE does take its job of delivering the goods pretty seriously, though. There are several applause-worthy kills, one classic bit of gorey ridiculousness that had people laughing well into the next scene, a bunch of sexy girls (I believe Machete gets it on with four of them), six memorable bad guys (Seagal, Jeff Fahey, Shea Whigham, DeNiro, Don Johnson, Tom Savini), alot of explosions, an equal amount of decapitations (although I wish they weren’t digital), the Crazy Babysitter Twins as sexy nurses, etc.

The movie takes place in a world of racist politicians, corrupt political advisors, immigration cops and nutbag border patrol militias fighting a highly organized underground network of militant illegals. But having read an early draft of the script before the recent Arizona law turned this into a big election issue I gotta call sucker on the people who seem to take it seriously as an angry anti-anti-immigration statement. In fact in my review of the script I made a wish for somebody on Fox News to “get riled up” about it, because I thought it would be funny for all those windbag pundits to have to decide their stance on a Danny Trejo movie. I already saw talkbackers on Harry’s review complaining about its depiction of anti-immigration people as racist gun nuts, when in reality it’s not that cut and dry, there are many different facets to this thing, obviously some of them have shot people for reasons barely even having to do with how completely racist they all are.

Nah, I’m just playing with you, I know it’s a complex issue. Let’s everybody calm down before you guys start shooting minorities. It’s just jokes. Anyway my point is that this is a movie about a badass illegal alien who hacks up bad guys with knives and garden tools and plays tricks like videotaping himself fucking a guy’s wife and daughter, leaving the camera on the guy’s desk but taking the ladies away passed out naked in the back of a hearse. What I’m proposing is that perhaps working a thoughtful, nuanced exploration of the immigration issues raised by the plot would not be an improvement in this particular case. In this movie broader is better. But to be honest the right wingers in this are not even as exaggerated as, say, the racist white cops in the DOLEMITE pictures. I’m sure they meant them to be when they had Johnson shoot a pregnant Mexican so the baby wouldn’t be born a citizen, but then the Republicans went and started talking about changing the 14th amendment. So don’t put that one on MACHETE. That was supposed to be a joke, it was that representative from Utah that made it seem like the boot might fit.

Nothing in the movie can really be taken seriously, but I don’t think it’s a parody either. It genuinely respects the same conventions of Badass Cinema that we do, even if they make us laugh. So Machete is a good cop who disobeys orders to do the right thing, he often finds himself carrying naked damsels over his shoulder, he has a little bit of a “just how badass is he” moment (“He’s FBI, CIA and DEA all rolled into one!”) although I remember one from the script that I wish was still in there (something about his “Old Testament style concepts of vengeance”). His wife and child are killed, his brother (Cheech Marin) is a priest who used to be a gunfighter, he has a bullet stuck in his skull, he wins a street fight without putting down his taco. These are the types of things I enjoy.

So MACHETE is a real fun time at the movies, but I do think it could be better. The biggest problem is the same one I had with ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO: there are so many different characters that there’s not enough focus on the lead badass I came to see. I mean there are alot of really cool characters and performances, and I was more interested in what would happen to them than I was with PLANET TERROR. And I’ll go over some of them individually here in a minute. But like I said, there are six major villains and two female lead/love interests not even including the two girls he makes out with under the waterfall. Alot of these characters could almost be a spin-off on their own, but shit, I’m still hoping for Johnny Depp in “THE MAN WITH NO EYES” ever since the after-the-credits deal in MARIACHI 4. MACHETE is the same deal, there’s so much going on here that it has to spend more time than you’d expect on talking about what’s going on and less than you’d expect on glorifying Machete. Let’s be honest, for a movie where Danny Trejo kills this many people it’s kind of slow. But not that bad.

I guess it has a unique problem from being adapted from a trailer: all the parts that are designed to be the highlights are the old parts you’ve already seen before. It is kind of funny to find out their context, though. For example the younger of the two waterfall ladies is now supposed to be Lindsay Lohan.

Yeah, I think this would work with just Trejo and no other recognizable faces, but Rodriguez gets some mileage out of his weird all star cast. Lohan is one of the smaller roles, but it’s surprising to see her willing to just playing a drugged out ho. She gets a little bit of redemption (or something) so it comes across as a sympathetic portrait. I liked her in it.

The main female lead is Jessica Alba as immigration agent Sartana. Since her body is partly made of twigs she isn’t believable as a badass kickboxing cop, but she plays it admirably straight and doesn’t seem like as bad of an actor as she does in some movies. It’s always bothered me that they tried to paint her white in the Fantastical Four movies, because I figured if it was that important to have a blond haired blue eyed girl they shouldn’t have hired Jessica Alba. So it’s nice to see her actually playing a Latina. You know she’s for real too because when she kills a hitman in a lucha libre mask she knows to take off his mask, because she defeated him. Blue-eyed Mrs. Fantastic wouldn’t know to do that. I also gotta give Alba credit for doing a partially nude scene since she chose not to do that in SIN CITY even though she was playing a fucking stripper.

I think Alba gets a little more screen time than necessary. The other female lead is Michelle Rodriguez as Luz, who secretly runs an underground immigration network out of a taco truck. It’s weird because not long ago I was really tired of Rodriguez always playing these same type of tough girl roles, but somehow in AVATAR and this (and even FAST AND FURIOUS) she’s suddenly likable again and weirdly hotter than she used to be. In some people’s opinions.

Fahey gives maybe the best performance as Booth, the sort of Karl Rove figure who sets Machete up. He’s no stranger to the types of movies this is paying homage to, so he knows exactly what to do, and even his hair looks sleazy. Johnson comes off more comical because he has what I have to assume are an intentionally fake looking pair of sideburns and doesn’t take his sunglasses off until near the end of the movie. He plays his yahoo border vigilante kind of like Michael Parks plays Earl McGraw (who, incidentally, does not appear in this movie).

DeNiro is fine, a little goofy, meets a good end, but not necessarily a great performance. It definitely seems like comedy DeNiro as opposed to KING OF COMEDY DeNiro.

Daryl Sabara got some of the biggest reactions from the crowd I saw it with. He has a small role as somebody who works for Luz, and these twentysomething dudes could not stop laughing whenever he was on. I realized after a while that it was because they grew up on SPY KIDS, and also that I am really, really old.

machete_torrezBut the biggest reaction was actually for Seagal when he first walked in early on as the cruel drug lord Torrez. I guess people hadn’t seen the advertising because there was gasps and “Is that Steven Seagal?!”s all around the theater. It’s a triumphant return to the big screen and I don’t know if you guys are aware of this but I actually have some interest in the subject of Seagal’s movies, there is a book, etc.

As a Seagalogist there’s alot to enjoy here even with his relatively limited amount of screen time. This is not only his first theatrical release since HALF PAST DEAD in 2002, it’s also his first villain role ever. He never had a henchman period like Van Damme, and even in the Korean film CLEMENTINE where he’s the guy the hero has to fight at the end he turns out to be a nice guy. As Torrez Seagal clearly enjoys being a bastard. Weirdly there are implications of human trafficking (a crime he was absurdly accused of after the filming) and he has an entourage of young Asian women bringing him things (a legal activity he has also been accused of). So I think they sort of take advantage of how people see him already to create this character.

Seagal has always enjoyed playing with accents and showing off his Spanish pronunciations, so he’s obviously happy to be playing a character who’s presumably Mexican. He gets to call people “cabrone” and “pendejo” and speak full lines in Spanish and everything. But don’t worry, he doesn’t leave his love of Asian culture behind. Torrez is also an expert swordsman and demonstrates knowledge of samurai concepts like honor, beheading and sepukku.

It’s weird but strangely natural to see Seagal on the other side, the guy who thinks he’s above the law. In fact I believe he refers to Machete as “notoriously hard to kill,” as if to say look fellas, Trejo is the Mason Storm in this one, he’s the one who’s hard to kill, I’m the one who he’s gonna take to the blood bank. Torrez has some qualities of a classic Seagal villain. Like Tommy Lee Jones in UNDER SIEGE he’s revealed to have the same background as Machete. His “just how evil is he?” scene is when he surprises Machete with the appearance of his wife and then beheads her in front of him. He’s kind of the top-of-the-pyramid villain posing a constant threat from far away, orchestrating events via webcam before showing up for a duel at the end.

If you’ve thought about Seagal being in this there’s something that maybe occurred to you: the EXECUTIVE DECISION factor. (SPOILER) And yes, as you could guess this is the second movie where Seagal gets to die (not counting HALF PAST DEAD where he dies but is resuscitated). You just know Trejo is gonna have to get revenge for Machete’s dead family and for Seagal putting him in a trunk at the beginning of MARKED FOR DEATH. In my opinion Torrez gets an excellent death, one of the best moments in the movie, and part of why I love it is because it’s not at all the approach I thought they would take. They find a way to make him more awesome in defeat. In fact you could argue that he isn’t even defeated. I’m already close to ruining it so I will say no more. You shouldn’t have read this though, I wrote SPOILER up there man. You can’t put this on me, pal.

But of course as exciting as it is to see Seagal in this unusual role, even for me the main attraction is Danny Trejo. We’ve admired his craggy face for decades, in good movies and very bad ones. We’ve seen him in that one scene of DEATH WISH 4, or playing various inmates, gang members or bodyguards. We’ve gotten excited when he gets a featured role like the knife thrower in DESPERADO or the bartender in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN or even in that shitty movie THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS because he got to shoot at Chow Yun Fat. Even though he has these directors who love him like Rodriguez and Rob Zombie he’s still just getting these supporting roles or cameos and then for his day job he still has to fight some Eyeborgs or something. So here at last is a movie that thinks Danny Trejo is just as awesome as we think he is, that makes the universe finally revolve around him, that gives him more women than Shaft.

So to wish it was even more Trejo-centric than it is might be asking too much. But fuck it. I’m asking for it, I want more Machete. The credits promise two sequels, and we’re gonna hold them to that.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Sunday, September 5th, 2010 at 12:33 am and is filed under Action, Reviews, Seagal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

156 Responses to “Machete”

  1. I thought Rodriguez was at his most inventive here (the gutsy escape, meat thermometer and weed whacker come to mind). I also hope people will embrace Machete and push for those sequels because it seems like these are the films he really wants to be making. Everyone pushes for Sin City 2 but he would have to do that with Frank Miller again. Can’t wait to hear the commentary and ten minute film school on this one.

  2. Goddamn, I wish I wasn’t so busy this weekend. Gonna have to catch a matinee this week, maybe make it a twofer with THE AMERICAN. Glad to see Seagal still managed to fit the Seagalogy paradigm in some respects, I’d hate for you to have to scrap that whole thing.

  3. Just got back from the the late show. A fucking good time at the movies. This why I go to movies. To be wildly entertained. I was surprised how hilarious it was. I loved the faceless henchmen. They were like some shakespearean interlude where Caesar’s advisors gather at stage right with their almost meta-commentary on events in the film and then are killed horribly by garden implements.

    Danny Trejo ruled, though, and you’re right, Vern. We need more MACHETE.

  4. It’s possible that I already mentioned this here, but I have a serious celebrity crush on Michelle Rodriguez and want her to star in a RomCom, since I saw her promoting Fast & Furious on a German late night show.
    (I hope the link works. Usually German videos are not know for having country restrictions, so it should: http://tvtotal.prosieben.de/tvtotal/videos/player/?contentId=37626&initialTab=related )
    It totally blew my mind to see her having fun and being charming back then.

  5. Seagal´s Spanish is so-so. Gwyneth Paltrow and Tommy Lee Jones, they speak pretty good Spanish.

    Good job, Vern, i can´t wait to see this movie.

  6. Vern, I can’t imagine how anyone could take anything this movie says seriously after watching a hot girl produce a cellphone from her Holiest of Holies. That should be a big neon sign that says “DO NOT TAKE SERIOUS. RELAX. HAVE FUN!”

    You’re also right that the large cast detracts from the main attraction aka Machete. In fact, I am willing to believe that Machete was the real person and that Danny Trejo is the alter ego he created to hide in plain sight after deciding he had spilled enough human blood and nailed too many women.

    To me, the other big problem is that it’s caught in between being Desperado (straightforward and serious) and Black Dynamite (a spoof of exploitation cinema). It wants to be both and that in-between keeps it from reaching the heights that Black Dynamite climbed. I do wonder if Robert Rodriguez has spread himself too thin — he’s making this movie, Predators and pre-planning Spy Kids 4 all at the same time.

    That said, it’s a fun time and watching so many big names overact is an interesting experience.

  7. Vern: I’m a bit surprised you didn’t mention the last shootout at the vigilante compound. I know that it followed many of the conventions of the genre (ie. cool cut-away shots of blood spatter in place of choreographed fight scenes), but didn’t it feel strangely lacking in geography to you? Even many of the weaker blaxploitation films give the viewer an idea of what obstacles have to be overcome in order for the protagonists to succeed, where they have to be physically and how they get there. MACHETE’s climactic confrontation looked like a bunch of disorganized groups of boys play-fighting in the park. I think the tone of the film can accommodate this sort of climax, and I wasn’t expecting a ROAD WARRIOR type finale, but it did seem a bit abrupt and poorly staged to me.

    Seagal’s performance left me confused in a way that some of Brando’s performances or Cage’s performances leave me confused. The only word that comes to mind is “slippery.” He seemed to go from parody to menacing within the same phrase. It was kind of brilliant.

    My pal Lee Marvin Girl said that even though she thought Alba was pretty weak in the film, it was difficult to doubt her commitment to the material. Poor girl just doesn’t have the right skill set. Lee Marvin Girl proposed that an actor with Julia Ormond’s depth would have been way better, or even Eva Mendes if she brought her A-game (ie. BAD LIEUTENANT: TOO MANY PUNS HAVE BEEN MADE).

    Personally, I think MACHETE would have been better served by a six hour mini-series. There was so much interesting material they could have fleshed out in a longer format. It wouldn’t have been more preposterous than DEXTER. As it is, the film felt very truncated.

    But the moment when all the loose strands of the Network converge, particularly the underground hospital, the later payoff when the ambulance arrives, and (SPOILER) Michelle Rodriguez’s triumphant return were awesome. Except they spoiled Rodriguez’s return in the opening credits.

    Gwai Lo: If you’re a fan of LIMITS OF CONTROL, THE AMERICAN doesn’t do much that Jarmusch did better. But if you like Antonioni homages, it should be cool with you.

  8. Well fuck Machete only gets 2.5 out of 5 stars from me. I don’t know who this co-director Ethan Maniquis is but I’d say he directed 98% of it. There are points where you laugh at the inventivness but I don’t know, it wasn’t fun like Planet Terror or his Bandares stuff. This isn’t the guy I love that made those movies.

    De Niro is fucking embarrassing to watch. Don Johnson and Seagal don’t get the op to fuck around with their characters. Lohan looks high. Jeff Fahey does the best job, but even he looks restrained. Trejo gets about 17 lines of dialog.

    Alba is naked.

    I wanted this to be better/worse. I really did. Fuck.

    That being said, if they make the two sequels they promote at the end of the movie, I’ll see ’em.

    Alba is naked.

    The Expedables won the summer cook-off for me.

  9. I totally dug this movie. Lots of fun from start to finish. Nimrod Antal is also hilarious as the Bodyguard with a sense of self preservation. Nice review, too. I know this is one place I can go for serious Seagalogical breakdowns. One love.

  10. Great review, Vern, as ever – which is making the wait ’til we get this here in the UK all the more unbearable (November 26th)!!

    Any film that has Seagal AND Don Johnson in it has gotta be worth seeing on the big screen.

  11. I liked it but I was a little disappointed that the movie didn’t seem to have the crazy energy as other RR joints. I too wonder if he is spreading himself too thin or if he didn’t have much hands-on time directing this one.

  12. Desperado was serious? a movie that has a guy shooting missiles from a guitar case?

  13. OK, maybe serious is too strong a word for Desperado. Let’s say not-as-over-the-top as From Dusk Till Dawn or as much a parody as Planet Terror.

  14. So far there is nothing with which I can strongly disagree in the review or the comments.  Jareth made an excellent point.  I, too, was disappointed by the action & lazy nonsensical geography of the climax, but the sheer humor of the aftermath and the totality of the thing made up for it.  

    **I think the tone of the film can accommodate this. . .**
    Yes, precisely, truncated Jareth!  So few films earn the right to maintain this tone and to implement fun manifestations of the liberties that accompany such a tone.  Machete does this virtually flawlessly, in my opinion.  This is not a mark of brilliance or mind-bending meta-aware self-satire or social commentary; it’s just great fun.  It’s not going to change the world; it’s just a great coupla hours with the bigscreen.  

    How does such a violent, exploitation-y film fail to offend me even once?  [That is, what’s the big difference between this and other exploitation homage type films (Rob Zombie’s garbage) that all suck or shockingly violent films (Kick-Ass) that draw yawns and displeasure?]  Rodriguez/Manquis establish & maintain a consistency of tone & intent and almost flawlessly execute action scenes & humor gags accordingly.  So many filmmakers fail in this respect, and the results are usually painful to watch.  

    Machete was a joy to watch.  It’s the Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 of 2010, only funnier, prettier, and awesomer.  

  15. Yeah this “Machete will cause a race war” stuff in the News just cracks me up.

    It’s like we’re going to get the Zoot Suit Riots: Part Deux.

  16. Yeah, my one complaint was that it seemed like Machete became a supporting character in his own movie. But other than that, the flick was all I could hope for an more. Seagal stole the show, no doubt about it. In lots of his DTV movies you can tell he’s barely able to contain his contempt for the material. In Machete though he was clearly having a blast. I hope we get a Torrez-ccentric prequel. That would be awesome.

  17. Guys I haven’t seen MACHETE but quite frankly if this is another cartoon and apparently it is, well I think I’ll wait for DVD.

    Having finally gotten to watching EL MARIACHI last year, you know I was surprised to find how uncartoonish it was compared to its sequels and later RR actioneers. Sure you had bits of comedy, but never once did I consider the movie silly, or believed the movie was asking me to chide it as being silly. It was serious, or as serious RR can be.

    Unfortunately it seems like the more freedom and money he’s given, the more RR tends to indulge himself. In essence getting paid to jerk off in public, which was what PLANET TERROR felt like, masturbating to Carpenter/Cameron movies. Robert I’m glad you like those movies, good for you. How about a real movie, not a glorified short episode from an anthology movie?

  18. I had a giant fucking grin on my face the entire time which is the exact opposite I had during The Expendables. Yeah, the last battle might have been a tad disjointed but when the characters got a bad ass moment you could see the bad ass moment. I never got to see shit during The Expendables. Listen Stallone, when I go see a movie that is supposed to invoke the action films of the 80s, I don’t want it to look like a film from 2010 that Greengrass directed. The reason why we got excited for it is because we’re sick of that style. Learn from Rodriquez. He gave you what you came to see and you could see it. Plus, EVERY CHARACTER got moments. You left out like three of you main Expendables out for almost the entire movie.

    Fuck the more I think of the Expendables to more I hate that movie. Machete, on the other hand, fucking ruled. Just like Piranha which also gave me what I wanted to see and not the opposite. When is Isaac Florentine gonna get his theatrical moment. That guy will show the world how you friggin’ direct action scenes.

  19. Not out in the UK untill November? What the fuck? I mean really, what the fuck?

  20. Chris – was Nimrod Antal the one who said “I quit”? I saw his name on the credits but wasn’t sure who he played.

    RRA – You know what it probly is, when Rodriguez made EL MARIACHI he was hoping to release it in the Mexican DTV market, because he figured that was the best he could hope for. So he tried to make it legit. Now that everybody knows him and he hangs out with Tarantino and Rose Macgowan and can make movies based on his kid’s ideas he’s more about joking around and having fun, he isn’t trying to convince anybody of anything.

    Didn’t he used to plan a biopic of Stevie Ray Vaughn? I can’t imagine him doing anything like that ever again.

  21. I will almost certainly see this one in the cinema, and write it up once I have. Think it comes out about a week later over here than it does in the USA.

    Interesting review, Vern. Fairly Seagal-centric, which is a new thing (although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, given Seagalogy!)

  22. Also the number of Expendables / Machete comparisons out there right now is straight-up ridiculous.

  23. What did you expect? Expendables & Machete are both throwbacks to a different time and style of action movies and both feature some actors that haven’t been prominently featured in a theatrical release for a while. (Not to mention that Machete is the movie that Seagal did and Expendables the one that he did not.)

  24. RRA, I also strongly disliked Planet Terror. Machete is way, way better.

  25. CJ Holden – point taken, but “both feature some actors that haven’t been prominently featured in a theatrical release for a while”? I count one in each movie – Seagal himself (who’s apparently not a major player), and Dolph Lundgren. (Unless you count “Stone Cold” as a serious actor.) Trejo, Van Damme, Stallone, Jet Li, heck even Gary Daniels – all of them have had fairly prominent cinema releases recently, albeit not always as the lead.

    And with all apologies to the Seagal / Dolph fans here (a couple of months ago I wouldn’t have counted myself among them, but look what’s sitting on my DVD cabinet now) but I hardly think either of them makes big news. Although as I said in the “Expendables” thread, Dolph seems to have got a publicity boost out of it, which is nice.

  26. Paul, that last paragraph is troublesome. The size of the news is relative. Seagal & Dolph on the silver screen is big news for some of us, you blasphemer.

  27. “I also gotta give Alba credit for doing a partially nude scene since she chose not to do that in SIN CITY even though she was playing a fucking stripper.”
    Though Alba is claiming her nudity in this one is a post-production trick and that she was wearing undies while shooting. ALBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! The funny thing about the SIN CITY stuff though is that having read the comics, I think the film’s version of Nancy on stage is actually MORE sleazy than the source material, which gives it this sorta weird unreal/mystical quality (she’s supposed to be passes for an “angel” in the Sin City universe) and uses the black and white colouring to make it look cool with the use of shadows(which could have been done digitally to keep Alba’s non-nudity streak alive). While in the movie, she’s just generically grinding on a pole to techno music while wearing leather pants.

  28. I’m pretty positive he’s the dude who said “I quit” and handed over his gun and walked off (which cracked me up), and earlier he was questioning Booth’s ethics and the other guys were like “woooah, where’s your sense of loyalty?”

    It’s kind of like when Curtis Hansen popped up in Adaptation. Except with guns. and gardening tools.

  29. My god, is this kid really serious? I would be willing to bet my life that you have never even been arrested let alone done time. I read your about and i feel sorry for you son. Not for your made up life story, just because of the fact that you have to MAKE ONE UP. Get a job and stop writing horrible reviews. You couldn’t tell a good movie from your penis which is probably about 4 inches long which is probably the reason you try to make yourself out to be some kind of tough guy. ROFL. If you worked out as much as you say you do… you would know the difference between STRENGTH and MUSCLE mass training. Anybody who has ever been in a gym or even done the slightest bit of research would know that. Im sure you get picked on alot in school already so i wont go on, BUT FOR GOD”S SAKE stop criticizing movies you dont even have the life knowledge to understand.

  30. hey Paul, why did you say I was a spambot in the Face/Off comments? :(

  31. I wonder where Paul2 has been published. How many books has Paul2 sold?

  32. RRA: In terms of tone, I’d characterize MACHETE as sillier than the two EL MARIARCHI sequels. It’s probably closest to PLANET TERROR, but without the slight scent of sleeze you get from PLANET TERROR. MACHETE is kind of more dignified. It isn’t an outright parody like BLACK DYNAMITE, but the pacing and DIY feel is similar, as well as the ramshackle plot.

    My pal thinks MACHETE would have been better if it opened with a punch to the gut like KILL BILL. Personally, I’m not sure Rodriguez is that kind of filmatist. The closest Rodriguez has come to that sort of thing is the similar loss/trauma Banderas carries around with him in ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, which is more wistful than what Tarantino put Thurman through. I’m not sure the whole house of cards Rodriguez built would have stood up with a more brutal beginning.

    Comedic violence was probably the right choice. Because Machete don’t do wistful.

  33. Nimrod is the one who keeps getting the weed whacker to the face, annoyed he can’t get his gun. He’s the one who gets pinned against the garage with the garden sheers. They even worked in some Hungarian dialog for him if you can remember.

    Rodriguez felt El Mariachi was sillier than most people took it. He says in the commentary that he believes this was because people went in expecting a foreign art film. I agree that Mariachi is his most serious but there is a lot of goofiness that is lost in translation. The bad guy’s name translates booger for example.

    The 1 800 HITMAN Tom Savini commercial had me in stitches.

  34. Sorry guys about this new Paul shitting all over like he just escaped the IMDb message boards. I’ve tried to avoid deleting and banning people so I sent him a cordial notice that that sort of moronic gibberish is not welcome. I would rather reform him so he gets one chance, if there’s more stupid shit I will delete it.

    And if you get a chance please explain to him that since I do like Over the Top, Machete and Dark Knight it’s kind of weird to be mad at me for not liking them.

  35. That must of been another Paul, im Paul G now, i noticed alot of other pauls. I just noticed this website today and started reading some of his sad reviews. What the hell is a spambot anyway? lol

  36. I’m not mad at you for not likeing them. Never said that, just that your overly criticizing a movie for its plot holes… when its a movie with Stallone about arm-wrestling… I don’t think anybody was renting that movie and expecting a modern classic. Lol, i really dont care if you do delete my posts. You need to try to be who you really are and not someone else, thats what im saying.

  37. So Paul G, basically what you’re saying is that OVER THE TOP is not supposed to be Shakespeare, correct?

  38. All I’m saying Paul G is that I believe in giving people second chances. I know you don’t care if your posts are deleted. But I believe you are probly an intelligent person even though you’re trying real hard to prove otherwise. I like OVER THE TOP, I love these types of movies, but I think people who don’t believe in holding them to a standard are stupid. If you don’t respect a Stallone armwrestling movie as a potential masterpiece then that’s normal, but it’s not what we do around here, so you came to the wrong place. Go watch whatever bullshit you like and be sure not to have any thoughts about it.

    You can choose to go down that path or you can be a man and come join us for intelligent discussion of stupid awesome movies. I would rather you join us and learn a few things but if not that’s your loss.

  39. Mouth im kinda surpised you didn’t like planet terror yet did like Machete. I guess PT was more for people who are into the 70-80’s style horror movies. Which i love, all these new “jump” horror flicks are so annoying. I praise R.R. for going back to the real basics of the horror genre. I mean all of grindhouse was at best a B movie but that what it was meant to be. I am a huge Q.T. fan so i might be a bit bias. But i still think reservoir dogs and pulp fiction are two of the best movies to come out in their time and genre. But thats just me, i was very disappointed in Inglorious Bastards, i actually prefer the original. That movie’s only good scene was the “Bear Jew” baseball bat part.

  40. Gwai ya i think you hit the nail there. I personally liked Over the top when it first came out. In your review you seem to despise it however. I didnt see any kind of positive comment towards it at all.

  41. What DOES it take to change the essence of the internet?

  42. It’s hard for me to be a big fan of horror since I’ve never been scared by a movie.  It sucks cuz I feel like I’m missing out on a fun area in the spectrum of human emotion.  Fear or the sensation of being startled is sadly absent from my constitution’s capabilities.  

    Anyway, Inglorious Basterds was the best film of 2009 and the gnarliest intellectual exercise film in years, and I say that though I’m no huge Tarantino fan.  Machete is the best film of 2010 so far, and I say that though I’m no huge Robert Rodriguez fan.  

    I actually studied Shakespeare pretty intensively in college.  I’ve seen all sorts of stage & unconventional adaptations of the Bard worldwide.  Over the Top would be a stretch, but Inglorious Basterds is comparable to The Tempest and other works by ole Bill as a work of art and an artful stimulant.  

    I’ve studied Badass Cinema for years.  Machete is badass.  I’ll be watching Machete long after Planet Terror dissipates from the cultural memory.  

  43. That “The stupid argument that will not die” post is more of a weary one-off type thing than the furious manifesto of the one-two punch TRANSFORMERS and INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL reviews, preferably read back to back:

    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/33228

    http://outlawvern.com/2008/06/09/indiana-jones-and-the-kingdom-of-the-crystal-skull/

  44. I like Planet Terror it’s a lot of fucking fun. I don’t think that gets said enough and I also kind of like it better than “Machete.” I only say that because everybody gives up about ten minutes before the end and decides that too much more awesome would probably eradicate all life from this planet. A shame really.

    I think there is something to be said for Danny Trejo’s decision to spare Jeff Fahey’s estate bodyguards like solidarity among hired hands or something. They weren’t exactly trained killers just guys making a living. but then again this may speak to the anti-climactic nature of the movie’s ending. We all just want to work and survive and we’re not going to be the one’s to solve this anti-immigration problem so we might as well take a hint when the slutty nun shoots guns from our hands. We’re always going to have more important fish to fry and some of those battles are worth fighting and can be won.

  45. “He describes BAD BOYS 2 as “the most hateful movie ever made” and always mentions how Bay’s directing credit is over a shot of a burning cross.”

    Hey, wait a minute. I’m rereading this TRANSFORMERS review… are you talking about Mr. Majestyk?

  46. Also I meant to ask earlier but just how naked is Alba in MACHETE? I saw her bum in THE KILLER INSIDE ME. Could muff be far behind?

  47. I actually felt Machete did not live up to the promise of the trailer. Mainly, because the cool parts of the trailer were not elaborated in the film. They didn’t do anything with the machine gun motorcycle. Cheech didn’t really do any more than the trailer showed either. The new stuff was great and even more outrageous, but I think it sold out the stuff that hooked us on Machete in the first place.

    Also, I think it’s great that a grindhouse movie deals with immigration as seriously, probably more so than actual political news shows. But, did that also make the plot slow and overly complicated? The idea of it is great but I somehow didn’t feel propelled through Machete’s revenge. Too many characters is certainly accurate, but something else is wrong.

    I enjoyed it fine but I’d say Machete is not a film I’ll rewatch that often (still been meaning to see OUATIM again since 2003) like Planet Terror, Dusk Til Dawn or Desperado. Or even Predators.

  48. Vern, Thank you for creating a place where we CAN discuss these movies as potentially Shakesperian works of art. Your handling of this thread has been magnanimous and professional. We all appreciate it.

  49. Personally, I’m more excited for “Hobo With A Shotgun.” It looks like it’s taking all the gory, over-the-top staples that mark out both exploitation movies and all these recent homages, but it’s taking them entirely seriously, and looking at them from a stranger, more unique perspective. That is, it genuinely looks like it’s setting out to be more, to be narratively meatier, than what Machete and all of these other ones tried to be. Just from the monologue in the trailer, even.

  50. FTopel – Yeah, exploitation films have always gotten a bum rush, for some reason. Like that’s some kind of bad thing – it’s particularly funny when you consider how many movies that are considered exploitative and so on at the time of their release have later become cinema classics. Like Sergio Leone’s Dollars movies, for example.

  51. aww why did you ban me? wait what that, you CANT ban me can you? lol

  52. All i said was why dont you rate the reviews you do.. so? Lol someone doesnt like criticism for a socalled critic

  53. try to ban me.. ill bring your site down punk

  54. YES! Someone just told me about “Hobo With A Shotgun.” They had me at Rutger Hauer, one of my favorites who unfortunately has probably only gotten 2-3 good movies.

    I just grew up realizing that everyone liked different things and there was no more inherent value to “serious” movies than the “fun” movies I liked. It all exists and it’s great that there’s someone there to appreciate it.

    re: Machete, I don’t think I have a problem with the homage tone. For example, Black Dynamite rocked that. That was also a lean 80 minutes, so maybe it’s just the pacing of Machete. It seemed to just stop in between every action scene.

    I should also say, Jeff Fahey was the best villain. I know it’s cool to get DeNiro but the regular old exploitation baddie would’ve been fine.

  55. The HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN trailer is truly one of the best things to ever happen to cinema:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nbl78cj5vM

  56. Did anyone else think the the Savini commercial from MACHETE was a rip-off of the Kenny Powers promo video from the first season of EASTBOUND AND DOWN… the one they showed at the party? Anyway, I like MACHETE, but about an hour in I was starting to feel exhausted. I might be getting old… I felt the same way with SCOTT PILGRIM and PIRANHA 3-D. It’s almost too much stuff.

  57. Reckon I’m all alone on the island of Machete love.

    Meanwhile, I’ll get to work on substantiating some Shakespeare comparisons and report back here sometime soonish. MLA standard style, double spaced, at least 6 scholarly sources good for everyone?

  58. Oh, and Wes sounds like the emperor in Amadeus — “Too many notes.”

  59. brandon curtis: I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a few of the good folk who contribute to these comments to want to pass on MACHETE in favor of a different kind of awesome, like, say RED CLIFF, which is deadly serious but totally badass. That’s how some of us swing. And I’m not just saying that because I passed on EXPENDABLES in favor of the Joan Rivers documentary.

    Gwai Lo: Alba gets a full body side shot in the shower with her leg and arm situated to only hint at nudity, just like every lingerie advertisement out there (what George Costanza would call “sidal nudity”). Lohan, on the other hand, is pretty much naked the whole time. I could probably provide a detailed sketch from memory.

    Filmist: I wasn’t sold on the HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN trailer – the apocalypse seemed so rinky-dink – but I’ll admit it seems like something unique, less an homage than an original vision.

  60. Jareth – Dude HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN looks like a bigger budget, more polished Troma version of a vigilante picture.

    Which I’m fine with.

  61. Mouth – speaking of your reference to an actor later convicted of a sex crime involving young boys, what you think of the man-boy love shit in some villages in Afghanistan?

  62. The original (and still best) Paul

    September 5th, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Vern obviously knows because I always use the same e-mail address, but can I just say for the rest of you that I haven’t posted anything here since my response to CJ Holden regarding his comment about actors who haven’t had recent cinema releases? Damn, that wasn’t fun.

  63. I had another thought on the laughter in the audience. I always tend to laugh for a particularly badass moment. It’s not at or with the movie. It’s my cathartic reaction to the moment when McClane has a gun taped to his back, when the head of OCP gets fired so Robocop can shoot him, when McClane takes out the F-15 with his mack truck… Maybe it’s that I see the kicker as a good punchline, but I think that’s a good reaction and certainly warranted for a good payoff.

  64. I feel like this movie might be entertaining, but the right wing reactions to it have the potential to be more entertaining.

  65. RRA: I hadn’t thought of it that way (ie. more CLASS OF NUKE’EM HIGH, less THE ROAD). Thanks.

  66. Hobo with a Shotgun looks awesome. It’s almost a play by play remake of the original trailer, which is pretty great. When I heard they were making a movie I assumed they wouldn’t have the ninja in hockey gear in the ring of fire. Figured they’d mainstream it. So glad they didn’t!

    And what’s with all the pantywaists over at AICN who seem really offended by a gratuitously violent trailer? It’s like a bunch of Christian conservatives over there. But even less fun.

  67. And Mouth, you really are missing out when it comes to horror. You don’t have to be scared to appreciate them, few horror movies are really “scary” anyway. But sometimes aren’t they still suspenseful just in a “what will happen to these characters” sort of way?

    Besides, three of my favorite horror movies are Evil Dead 2, Return of the Living Dead, and SLeepy Hollow…none of which work as scary horror, but they’re just awesome and fun.

  68. Mouth, you are not alone in the Machete love, I fucking loved it too, all I wanted was some more crazy fun in the vein of Grindhouse (of which I’m also one of the few people who unanimously loved Grindhouse) and Machete delivered in spades

    are there too many characters? I would say no because all the characters are really cool, I was especially surprised by how much I liked Lindsay Lohan in it, I didn’t know she was in it and was kinda annoyed to see her in the opening credits, but lo and behold her character wound up being one of my favorites, when shes dresses up as a Nun with guns at the end, well I found that really sexy

    if there’s one complaint I have it’s that I wish both Lohan and Alba actually showed the goods, what is it with actress these days that think they’re careers are gonna end if they just show their tits? and if they do it’s usually for some “serious and dramatic” movie like that awful movie Powder Blue that people only watched to see Jessica Biel naked, it’s weird how paradoxically there’s so much pornography on the internet and yet you so rarely see “just for fun” nudity in movies that aren’t DTV, that’s why that Friday The 13th remake gets respect from me for having a ton of nudity even if the rests of the movie was lame

    p.s. Mouth, if you want some good horror movies that will creep you out if not scare you, then check out Jacob’s Ladder (which comes out on blu ray later this month) and Candyman, both great early 90’s pre Scream horror movies

  69. Mouth and Griff are hardly alone in the Machete love. Vern seems to love it too.

    Count me in as unanimously loved Grindhouse. I just didn’t think Machete captured it.

  70. @ the original Paul and what he replied to yesterday: My line about the several actors was a little bit inarticulate. I meant that both movies TOGETHER have several actors who haven’t had a theatrical release in years (although in the end they are still just two. It was late at night for me. :) )

  71. I was surprised by how many people didn’t like Grindhouse, it’s one of the most fun times I’ve ever had at a movie theater, it’s like when people complain about all the dialogue in Death Proof, I was always wonder “did you people not notice the fucking amazing car chase that came after that?”

    I haven’t seen it since it was in theaters though, I can’t wait to finally re-watch it on blu ray next month

  72. I loved it too. Something about the image of gardeners and fry cooks charging into battle against militia wingnuts wielding gardening tools and skillets really struck a cord with me. Also, Seagal’s death is truly one of THE best demises ever.

  73. my audience laughed quite a bit at that part

  74. I liked Machete, but I still wish there’d been more, well, Machete in it. Don’t get me wrong, Fahey did well, Cheech was, well Cheech, DeNiro was obviously having a blast, Rodriguez looked good, etc, but still, when I’m seeing a movie about a dude named Machete, I just kinda want, well, more Machete, less side characters(though Savini’s commercial was awesome). I had the same problem with Once Upon a Time in Mexico, I went to see the movie because I’d come to enjoy the “El Mariachi” character, and while the movie was indeed entertaining, there wasn’t enough Mariachi to make it as entertaining as I’d hoped.

  75. Can we have a rundown of some cool lines from the film? Especially some nice Seaglisms….Vern mentioned he uses words like cabrone and pandejo, but does he have some iconic quotes like ‘what does it take to change the essence…’ or ‘some motherfuckers always tryin to iceskate’ etc. I’ve heard one by Machete..’machete don’t text’. c’mon guys, let’s get quotin!!

  76. I thought the first two thirds was the best work Rodriguez has ever done, but then that welcome restraint Vern mentioned just disappears and the last act is a clumsy mess. Too bad, it was so close to being pop masterpiece.

  77. oh, I forgot to mention that seeing it in theaters was a little awkward because there was a big Mexican family that sat near me (not even sure they could speak English) and they brought their kids, there was one little boy who was maybe 6 or 7 that sat near me, his mom never covered his eyes, not even during the parts with naked ladies

    thankfully though the kids didn’t make a lot of noise or anything

  78. Griff-you think that’s bad there were two 6-7 year old boys at the theatre when i saw Piranha 3D last week. They laughed hysterically every time boobs were on the screen. I would find that movie way more inappropriate if i were there parent.

    Anyway count me in the “loved it” category for this movie. The escape sequence from the hospital was worth the price of admission alone for me. I highly doubt there will ever be anything half as badass as someone swinging through a window from some henchman’s large intestine.

    The dis-loyal humorous henchman were also a really nice change of pace. I got a good laugh when Trejo walks up with the gardening equipment and they just let him in cause he’s Mexican, but them immediately realize he’s Machete. I guess that was Nimrod Attal? Good job dude, I thought you were a legit actor.

    Michelle Rodriguez jumping out of the van with that eye-patch and low cut leather pants…..Jesus Christ. I think you will all agree.

    Hopefully we get the sequels that they tease, without having to hit all those specific scenes people wanted to see from the fake trailer we can maybe get a movie with slightly better pacing that doesn’t feel so dis-jointed. Still loved it though.

  79. Griff – Could you tell if they liked it? While I was watching this I wondered if it would play to actual Mexican audiences or if it was too Americanized.

    Overall, the film made me think of this Vice documentary about Mexican DTV movies about/funded by drug lords and vigilantes.

    http://www.vbs.tv/watch/the-vice-guide-to-film–2/mexican-narco-cinema-part-1-of-3

    It’d be interesting to compare some of these to Machete to see what an actual Mexican version of this type of story is like.

    Oh, yeah – and I enjoyed it. Machete is just a great time at the movies. Maybe a little rough around the edges (like that confusing finale, or too many characters, etc…) but it gets some leeway for being so damned fun.

  80. On the one hand friendo, I feel your point with regard to not getting one’s panties in a twist over this type of film’s “social commentary”. Buuut on the other, well its always easier to take the “lighten up folks” high ground when its not your particular views being lampooned into ridiculous straw-man caricatures. I mean “Team America” certainly had no aspirations at being “Citizen Kane”, but did that curb your irritation with their F ilm A ctor’s G uild jab at Janeane Garafolo and other outspoken left leaning entertainers. Just sayin. I also gotta say that the “lighten up” angle kinda seems like a not to distant cousin to the “What were you expecting, Shakespeare”, argument. Nowhere near as egregious or stupid, but it does echo that same sentiment of “where do you get off taking these films seriously”.

  81. dieselboy – laughed hysterically every time boobs were on the screen? that’s pretty funny

    and question mark, I have no idea if they liked it or not, but I’ll bet it was probably a life changing experience for that kid, maybe he’ll grow to be a concierge of badass cinema?

  82. RRA, how dare you remind me of the sex acts performed by sexually repressed Islamo hardliners. Dudes grow up never seeing a girl naked, convinced they must be one & only one to break some chick’s hymen, so they compromise in the meantime before wedding night and have 14 year old boys wear make up and dance, call them jurus. Nasty shit. I deliberately avoided gaining too much knowledge in my conversations with locals, but our FOB’s JLens (big tethered blimp thing with a powerful camera) caught some bestiality in infrared. It was just unclear and digital-y enough that it was funny; if we’d seen it with the daylight cameras, I’d be scarred.

    Griff, I’ll follow your advice on those reckos

  83. RRA, how dare you remind me of the sex acts performed by sexually repressed Islamo hardliners. Dudes grow up never seeing a girl naked, convinced they must be one & only one to break some chick’s hymen, so they compromise in the meantime before wedding night and have 14 year old boys wear make up and dance, call them jurus. Nasty shit. I deliberately avoided gaining too much knowledge in my conversations with locals, but our FOB’s JLens (big tethered blimp thing with a powerful camera) caught some bestiality in infrared. It was just unclear and digital-y enough that it was funny; if we’d seen it with the daylight cameras, I’d be scarred.

    Griff, I’ll follow your advice on those reckos.

    Yeah, Michelle Rodriguez. . . For some reason, Machete is the first movie in which I’ve found her hot.

  84. Stupid trippy internets

  85. “did you people not notice the fucking amazing car chase that came after that?”

    One decent car chase doesn’t entirely wipe away over an hour’s worth of self-loving dialogue performed by mediocre actors. And I say decent car chase because…was it good? Yes. But essentially it’s Russell chasing the girls, then the girls chase Russell, always in a straight line down the road. It was well done and all, but I think we’re so starved for car chases, and the whole amazing aspect got lost on me.

  86. It’s funny, I get that with Death Proof QT wanted us to like the victims, so that we could have this “turn the tables on the slasher” situation, rather than the usual “the victims are annoying I’m just waiting for the slasher to kill them” so we had these lengthy conversation sequences; but I found them incredibly turgid conversations and I still disliked the girls by the end of the film. In fact Stuntman Mike, whilst the villain, was far more engaging and entertaining to watch than the girls ever were so I thought it kinda sucked in the final car chase how he wimped out so soon.

    And as Jones pointed out, a high quality car chase doesn’t make the rest of the film any better, and even though the car chase is well directed, because I had no emotional connection with the girls or desire to see them succeed, there was definitely an emotional disconnect from the whole car chase, making me not really care too much about the outcome.

    I also found it kinda weird that QT so heavily promoted it as a grindhouse film when it’s not really, most of the film is conversation, far from grindhouse cinema, not hugely exploitative in anyway, just got a fuzzy grain over the film. It has more in line with Vanishing Point, which isn’t a knock against VP, but that wasn’t really a grindhouse style flick. But then I guess that’s just QT for you, he talked up Inglorious Basterds as the ultimate men-on-a-mission film, and it’s not (though it’s still great).

  87. Yeah, Tarantino doesn’t really know his subgenres. I mean Pulp Fiction wasn’t really pulp fiction at all. Shit, even Stephen Sommers’ Mummy was more pulp fiction than the movie that was called Pulp Fiction!
    And if you think about it, there wasn’t any G…house in G…house (Are we allowed to say Grindhouse again? I don’t know.), because Planet Terror was for me more a throwback to late 80’s DTV horror than the kind of exploitation movie that I would associate with it.

  88. Rogue4 – good points, and I did hate the second half of Team America, but mainly because the first half was such a perfect and ingenious take on Jerry Bruckheimer movies, so turning into corny cheap shots at various celebrities was a letdown. I also enjoy the Rambo sequels, Red Dawn and some other movies that don’t fit with my politics.

    But you’re right, it’s easier for me to say not to take it seriously when it’s making fun of beliefs I don’t agree with. I guess I could have some sympathy for a serious person and G’house fan who was offended by it, but so far I’ve only noticed a bunch of whiny dipshits who haven’t seen it anyway. I’m probly making more out of it than it deserves, unless Glen Beck or somebody starts complaining about it on TV or radio.

  89. I’m hoping to see Machete tonight if I can make the time. I did mange to watch the DVD of Harry Brown on Friday, but I’ll save my comments for a time when it’s relevant to the topic again. As for the politics of a movie, I’ve never been bothered by politics I don’t agree with in a movie except in some so-called documentaries. It is harder to not notice the politics if the movie sucks though.

  90. Dan Snoke – it’s interesting you bring up the politics bit, as that’s mainly my problem with Harry Brown. Everything’s fine right up until that final shot where (spoilers) it’s presented as Harry’s vigilantism has worked, the streets are now clear, hurrah for shooting teenagers! (spoilers) I can sit back and enjoy a good vigilante/revenge film even though I don’t agree with any of the politics/morality of it, but when it’s masquerading as a “true to life” depiction of England and then blatantly shoving it in my face that “violence solves all!” I can’t help but feel uncomfortable/dislike it.

  91. Griff: There was also a large group of Mexicans in my theater and they talked throughout the whole movie. Ordinarily, I’m annoyed by talking in the theater but it added to the atmosphere of the movie.

  92. You’re absolutely right on the 1st half/2nd half of Team America thing, but also maaaaaaaaaaaatt daaaaaaaaaamon

  93. The original Paul

    September 6th, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Rogue and Vern – one movie I can watch again and again is the original “Dirty Harry”, and I’m about as far against the death penalty, politically speaking, as you can be. Not that we have that particular problem over here in Britain any more. I have no problem with films that are polemics that are against my own political views.

    Here’s what I DO have a problem with. (Another rant coming.)

    So me and a friend decided that we were going to go and see “Machete” in the cinema. It’s the kind of film that you would want to see there, and besides, it’s pretty much universally regarded as at least a lot of fun, and sometimes a lot more, right? Hell, I loved “Inception” and I really enjoyed “Scott Pilgrim”, hopefully it’d be a hat-trick.

    So we tried looking for it in cinemas. Nothing at the Odeon. Nothing at UCI. Nothing anywhere that I can see.

    So then we Google the UK opening date and it comes up. November 20th.

    NOVEMBER THE FUCKING 20TH??!!!

    I seriously cannot get my head around this one. I can’t remember another film that came out in Britain three months after it came out in both Australia and the USA for several years, at least. Heck, this is almost a throwback to the days before the Internet was popular when you’d be lucky to see a big blockbuster movie in Britain six months after it came out in America. Seriously, what the FUCK?

    Anyway, if I don’t comment on this film for a while, it ain’t because I’m not interested guys. It’s because the absolute last thing I would ever do would be to download a “cam” version, but this is literally the only means I have to see the film for the next two and two-third months. I’m not going to do that, so… there you have it.

    And movie producers complain that BitTorrent is reducing cinema sales.

    Rant over, needed to get that one off my chest.

  94. Well, Germany gets it two days earlier (November 18) although so far the word is not out yet if it’s gonna be uncut. And the start date for Scott Pilgrim is January 6 2011! And that was before it tanked at the U.S. Box office, so who knows when it will come out now or if it will get a theatrical release after all!

  95. The Original Paul – I have no sympathy for you, considering DOCTOR WHO airs weeks (if not months) before its rebroadcast here in the states so….tough titty?

  96. You have to wait weeks for Doctor Who? Boo fucking hoo, RRA. We had to wait till 2008 until a German channel decided to air it at all and then it tanked so hard* that we will never see any episode of it that goes beyond Season 2!!! Not even as a DVD release, because the distributor don’t want to take the cost for the translation and dubbing!

    *Thanks to showing it on Saturday afternoons, often in pretty strong cut versions and advertising it as a flat out comedy (“The intergalactic SciFi fun!”)

  97. BLACK DYNAMITE only JUST got a release in the UK, and it’s very limited, so much so that if I had been able to see it, I missed it because I didn’t know about it.

    Hey, didn’t Rodriguez say he was going to release a second fake trailer he cut that made Machete look like a wholesome family film?

  98. Well, Black Dynamite came out over here last month, but only DTV.

    Don’t know about the family friendly Machete trailer, but I read last week about a longer version of the movie that will be on the DVD and is supposed to be even so different, that some characters who survived the theatrical cut will suddenly die in it!

  99. CJ – Fair enough, but I must admit its hilarious for someone to try to sell it as a comedy. Might as well sell old STAR TREK reruns as documentaries.

  100. GoodBadGroovy. Well yes the politics in Harry Brown are certainly not my own, but I did enjoy the film none the less. It got way to predictable by the end, but there were a few really well done scenes (I loved the scene in the creepy drug dealers home) and I still really enjoy Caine.

    And for the record, I really enjoyed Machete. As many have pointed out, the ending lacks focus, but it didn’t totally kill the mood. I’d say this is my favorite film from RR so far. I saw Mariachi when it first came out and wasn’t that impressed, and the only thing of his I’ve enjoyed much was Planet Terror and even that was let way down by having that little wuss Freddy Rodriguez star.

  101. The original Paul

    September 6th, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Well I know this may seem somewhat redundant to those of you who’ve actually been lucky enough to see it, but GODDAMMIT CAN YOU PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT HOW GOOD MACHETE IS IN THE FUCKING “MACHETE” TALKBACK?

    *sobs quietly into a handkerchief…*

    Oh, and while we’re completely off-topic…

    RRA – the Americans get “Doctor Who”?

    CJ – the Germans get “Doctor Who”?

  102. Mouth – I’d recommend getting into horror by watching action/horror movies like The Thing or Dog Soldiers. Makes the transition easier.

    And it’s funny that every time Seagal talks to anyone, he refers to them as a “pussy.” Like he’s the one person qualified to tell everyone how unmanly they are.

  103. Original Paul – Well yeah. We started getting it in the early 1970s on PBS up until you wankers cancelled it. I have fond early childhood memories of watching in particular the Sylvester McCoy episodes.

    Here its always been at best a cult show. It was on Sci-Fi, but now its BBC America which not as many people get and quite frankly that channel is shit. Plus Americans can’t get interested in anything Anglo unless you all are dressed up like women or attending a wizard’s school. Or your evil wicked ways stopped dead by the God-blessed American badass hero.

  104. Speaking of Doctor Who, has anyone seen David Tennant as Peter Vincent from the Fright Night re-make? Pretty amazing transformation, I had trouble telling it was him.

    http://www.joblo.com/arrow/index.php?id=23861

  105. Stu-
    That’s right, he did say he had cut it as a Family Film trailer. I want to see it! My inkling is that Fox stole any marketing control Rodriguez had had after that Illegal trailer caused all the controversy. All the weird superimposed double cuts in the official trailer almost seem like they are trying to give it an indecipherable/disorienting action scene feel. Of course that’s what’s hot despite how most of us feel about it but I’m quite certain Rodriguez would never cut like that. Hereported having helped with the Predators trailer which was cut brilliantly in my opinion. One thing you have to agree about Rodriguez is he’s a fantastic editor. Kind of ironic that a movie spawned from an amazing trailer could have had it’s final trailers cut without the director involved (if that’s the case).

  106. The original Paul

    September 6th, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    RRA – hey, don’t knock British villains. Without despicable British master criminals and classically trained British actors playing Eastern Europeans, a good half of American action cinema wouldn’t exist. What would the world be like without “Die Hard”?

  107. Without Die Hard the World would be a far less interesting place

  108. The original Paul – It would also leave the Empire practically nonexistant, save for that black guy voicing the black suit guy.

  109. @dieselboy:

    JoBlo has a screenie confusing PETER VINCENT:

    http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_movies_blog/files/2010/06/petervincenteh3.jpg

    with JERRY DANDRIDGE:

    http://img.listal.com/image/1190517/500full.jpg

    As we all expected, the remake\boot\imagining sexes it all up. And makes it suck.

    (see what I did there?)

    A great look at the concepts of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ENERGIZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in sequels:

    http://www.redlettermedia.com/

  110. Original Paul: Like I said, German’s DON’T get Doctor Who. ;)

    (But back in the 80’s we had the Sylvester McCoy season and a few years later another channel showed the Tom Baker episodes. And then as mentioned we got the full Eccleston season and the 1st Tennant Season. Ironically Torchwood is pretty successful here, but not successful enough to convince any channel to try it again with Doctor Who.)

  111. Please keep Doctor Who out of this sight. Its like a fever in the UK. And I can assure you, its dog shit. Never once has there been a bad ass moment. Same for Torchwood. And the fans are as bad as Trekkies.

  112. Doctor Who irritates me as well, I’ve never watched it, but the fans of it seem to talk about nothing but Doctor Who

  113. Well said Griff. Together we can make a stand against this kind of pomp.

  114. indeed, for great justice!

  115. This could be like some form of confederacy of freedom from Doctor Who. I never thought I would feel so safe in here! At last, I am at peace. Thank you.

  116. This is Verns site dammit and I will steer the topic off course in whatever way I see fit. And there are LOTS of badass moments in Doctor Who, he’s like the intergalactic John McClane/James Bond/Frodo or whatever.

  117. Nobody gets the “So say we all”. Damn, the people here are seriously un-geeky. (Which is technically not a bad thing, considering how geeks these days are dumb enough to think that that Mr Plinklett guy is funny and insightful and that The Big Bang Theory is not making fun of them.)

  118. While I appreciate Doctor Who’s position in the Pantheon of Sci-Fi Heroes, I have never been able to sit through an entire episode without falling asleep or changing the channel.

    Give me old school Buck Rodgers as my weekly sci-fi!

  119. The only way someone can get through a Buck Rogers episode is if they grew up on it…because that show is HORRIBLE.

  120. Well, I just saw Machete the other night and I thought the movie was awesome.
    The theatre was somewhat crowded and I heard a conversation about Seagal going on a few rows in front of me. Good times!

    I liked the way the movie not only uses the gore just for gore but also to remind us what kind of movie we are watching. It’s so over the top the crowd just went insane whenever a nice kill was made(especially by machete.) Although I would have preferred the use of old school beheading methods over cgi.

    When seagal entered the scene and beheaded machetes lady, the crowd was rather silent as in: “okay that was not what I was expecting from seagal.” it was somewhat menacing.
    I think seagal should play more bad guys from now on. like vern says, he’s rather good at it.
    though the end battle was too short and stuntdouble-ish IMO.

  121. Ace Mac Ashbrook/Griff – You mean like certain people around here who out of the blue beg plead and whine on a regular basis for Vern to go review THE WIRE?

    I have no sympathy.

  122. Do like The Wire, loved it in fact. It would be to big of an ask for Vern to sit through and then review god knows how many hours of episodes.

    On the other hand, a bit of an expansion on Vern’s thoughts on Justified would be great. I only ask because it was this site that put me onto what has been the best thing I have seen on Tv in years.

    RRA, please have symathy.

  123. I gotta agree with dieselboy on this one, Doctor Who might be a British dandy but he fits fairly well into the badass role.

    He calls himself the Doctor because he wants to help people and refuses to use guns, but is constantly drawn into violence (in the first Tennant episode he drowns an entire species). He gets a lot of “just how badass is he?” moments where things he’s done in the past are brought up. His badass juxtaposition is that time machine looks like a phone booth and his outfits are usually goofy. In the finale to the last season he literally tells a sky full of warships to check their files on him and go away – and they do. That’s pretty bad ass.

    Thankfully I’m American and don’t have to deal with annoying fans. Of Doctor Who at least. Glee fans can die in a fire.

  124. My problem with Planet Terror: too much “Tales from the Crypt presents…”, not enough John Carpenter.

    Whereas, I think Machete does something really weird and awesome; it hits an almost perfect balance between being genuinely badass and being an early Steve Martin comedy.

  125. Diesel Boy/?. Sorry gents. There is no way I can agree with you on that. I don’t want a war with you guys. By all means have the last word. I just don’t think the Doctor is bad ass.

    Because his greatest enemy is an army of dustbins.

  126. Ace Mac Ashbrook – and Machete’s betrayer was the Lawnmower Man. We all can’t pick our adversaries. We can’t be too prejudicial.

    Besides the Doctor’s greatest enemy isn’t the overused Daleks with their killer plungers or the conversation-buzz kill Cybermen. You never see Cybermen at hip-hop concerts for a reason. No the #1 WHO baddies are the only psychopaths in the universe who kill you nicely.

    Just don’t blink.

  127. RRA: I can’t speak for the entire WWF (WIRE Whiner Federation), but I don’t expect Vern to actually review the series. Really, no one should have to undertake such a chore.

    I just think he needs to see the damn thing. I consider THE WIRE crucial to a comprehensive understanding of current badass happenings.

  128. If Vern started The Wire or Deadwood, this sight would grind to a halt for the time he was chopping through all the box sets. And of course, that must not happen. Infact, start on the requests for him to avoid them. When would it stop? He might get into American Idol, write a review on the badass Simon Cowell and… Oh god no.

  129. RRA- I lol’d at your just don’t blink comment. My wife and I recently went to visit a relative out of state and the first thing we saw on their porch were two of those creepy ass statues staring at us. We let them know how dangerously close to death they were.

  130. Things I learned from Armond White’s MACHETE review:

    – MACHETE is “idiotic.”

    – Those of us who like MACHETE have “crap taste.”

    – Rodriguez somehow perpetrated an act of abuse on De Niro.

    – Those of us who caught and enjoyed the reference to SHAFT in MACHETE’s hospital escape are demonstrating “fake erudition.”

    [Is it “real erutition” if I caught the Antonioni references in THE AMERICAN? Or is that “fake” too?]

    – Apparently the recent JONAH HEX film is brilliant. And, probably, we’re all idiots for not seeing it.

    http://www.nypress.com/article-21588-machete.html

  131. Armond White is pretty reliable. If he hates something, I’ll like it. If he loves something, you get the picture. Wow now I’m certain I wasn’t drunk, that JONAH HEX was truely a piece of shit.

    Ace Mac Ashbrook – Oh fair enough I agree. I think we just need to understand that “badass” the potential definitions don’t stop with what you or me would consider badass. Besides, wearing a bowtie in 2010 is practically badass juxtaposition.

    Dieselboy – speaking of which, I’m intrigued to see how Neil Gaiman’s episode will play out in the next WHO series.

  132. Hey Vern, since you read the original script, I have to ask what SPOILER Torrez’s death looked like in it. The way it plays in the movie (both the writing and the way he plays it) just seems so uniquely Seagal that I sort of have to believe he had something to do with it, along with the samurai swords, the Asian assistant, etc. Any specifics like that in the script, or ought we to assume that as soon as Seagal signed on he began making the part his own?

  133. Subtlety: Well, the version of the script I read was pretty different from the final result. Most of the plot was about the same, but the characters were moved around – the character that became Jessica Alba had a twin sister, for example. In that version Torrez was actually the commanding officer on the radio in the opening telling Machete not to go into the safehouse. But he did fight with a sword, I think just so there could be a machete vs. sword duel.

    The actual death is more serious and less awesome in the early script. Machete gives him a death blow and he softens up, saying, “Machete, we were friends. We stood
    for something…” and then Machete stabs him between the eyes.

    I think you’re right, I suspect Seagal made some suggestions, although it would also make sense for Rodriguez to have added those things once he’d cast Seagal. Whoever came up with it it was a good way to have the bad guy get killed while also respecting Seagal’s need to not be shown up in a movie.

  134. Man, I take a break for a few days and the place goes to hell. It’s funny how much your typical Internet assclown sticks out around here. It’s like when your townie friends visit you at college.

    But yeah, hey, breaking news: MACHETE = awesome. I agree that our hero gets overshadowed by his supporting cast in the climax (a problem Rodriguez has lately) but he gets enough moments earlier in the movie that he can handle it. I like that he lets those henchmen live. They’re all just working men, after all. I’ve wondered why more henchmen didn’t just say fuck it and get a new j0b when it became clear that they were going to get slaughtered. Times are tough, but jeez.

    My favorite line is probably “I just got a text from Machete…” That’s some finely calibrated ridiculousness there.

    And it was oddly moving to see SPOILEY Cheech crucified for all us sinners.

    By the way, does anybody remember what happened to Savini or did he just disappear from the plot, cameraman-in-PIRANHA 3D-style?

  135. Saw it last night and thought it was pretty awesome, but has all the default problems Rodriguez has these days. It’s really only noticeable in the last section, where all of a sudden all sense of geography, pacing and storytelling goes out the window and he just starts flinging every possible idea at the wall to see what sticks. Disappointing, but not a deal breaker. Still though, for MACHETE KILLS lets stick with Trejo all the way through and leave the rest of these jokers behind (except Michelle Rodriguez, bring her and her machine guns back).

  136. Vern — thanks for the clarification. Given the amount Rodriguez seems to let his actors fine-tune their characters, I’m choosing to believe in the abscence of other evidence that Seagal got to reshape his character to suit his own interests. Either that, or Rodriguez is a Seagalogist worthy of posting here — the details just seem so right, such a perfect and organic translation of Seagal’s unique awesome weirdness to a villain role. At the very least, its nice to know that someone still understands his appeal enough to put some effort into keeping it intact.

    Mr M – I believe Savini quits during the scene where Fahey realizes “He’s coming after us!” (he says, “You mean, he’s coming after you” or something and doesn’t appear again. Guess Fahey chose not to retain him).

    By the way, what universe are we living in where Jeff Fahey gives a performance which is superior to Robert De Niro in every concievable way? I’m going to blame the Bush presidency, but I’d sort of like an exact date when we crossed over into a mixed-up alternate reality where nothing makes sense.

  137. Mr. M- Yeah i realized after watching it that they left out the shot from the trailer where it shows Tom Savini lining up a shot with a rifle before Machete rests his blade on Savinis shoulder, basically making you think there’s going to be a Savini/Trejo fight somewhere. This is offensive to my sensibilities.

  138. It was Election Day 2004, Mr. Subtlety.

  139. “what universe are we living in where Jeff Fahey gives a performance which is superior to Robert De Niro in every concievable way?”

    I didn’t think about it in that context. This is actually a stunning revelation. Wow.

  140. Seriously though, I thought Bobby D did just fine in Machete. It was an exaggeratedly uber-right wingnut caricature. He was mostly evil, and he had fun with it.

    Plus, he had a fine badass moment for himself, in my opinion. Maybe it slipped your mind or under your radar, but when he arrives at Don Johnson’s compound at the very end, first thing he hops out of the car and bluntly says, “Give me a vest and a rifle.”

    He says it so expectantly, so plainly and without hesitation, as easily as a crazed militant would take a breath or a normal person would ask one’s roommate to grab a beer from the fridge.

  141. I thought his little freakout in the back of the limo was well done.

  142. I mean, I don’t think De Niro embarasses himself or anything, but Fahey manages to be slimer, more interesting, more threatening, more intense, and even wrings a little pathos out at the end. De Niro plays it pretty broad, but not quite broad enough to be a parody. As such, he ends up being a little bland (although as you point out, he has a few nice moments). Fahey plays it absolutely for real, and as a result comes across as much more interesting and memorable (and still completely ridiculous, just by virtue of the script alone).

    Actually, compared to some of the static out there, De Niro’s campaign stuff seemed sadly plausible.

  143. This movie went on too long and ended up being semi-boring.

  144. We need a Machete sequel where Trejo and all his cohorts get hunted down and killed like the dogs they are. Maybe a giant firecracker up his ass or we could launch them into space.

  145. So now we have seen both Dolph and Seagal back on the big screen, so i hope Van Damme is next. Yeah, i know we get to HEAR him again on the big screen in Kung Fu Panda 2, but that is not the same.

  146. Alba’s nudity was CGI. She wasn’t really naked. She’s the Milli Vanilli of movie-titties.

    Still, though, I give this one 9/10, 5/5 stars. Machete was awesome for all the reasons you described, and more.

  147. Came out in the UK today and I just saw it. Very enjoyable, though you do have to go in knowing it’s an intentional B-Movie to not be let down by some things. Satisfyingly graphic action and a lot of funny moments. It also manages to take it’s massive cast of characters and use them all enough. Some could have gotten more time for sure, but I don’t think anyone was wasted. I too was wondering about the Machete/Savini fight implied by the trailers. I sat through the credits expecting it to be a coda. Maybe if they do a sequel Savini’s character will come back? I liked DeNiro’s performance personally, especially towards the end and when they make it clear the Texan thing is all just an act by his character. Cheech was great too. “I absolve you of all your sins, not get the fuck out!”

  148. ^now get the fuck out!

  149. Anyone notice that, *SPOILERS* of the fucking SIX main villains Vern speaks of, Machete doesn’t kill any of them? Whigham gets killed by Fahey, who gets killed by Deniro, who gets killed by Lohan, and then again by Don Johnson’s lackey. Johnson himself is killed by Rodriguez (I guess) and Savini just disappears, and Seagal kills himself. After pointing out Machete’s death blow didn’t really do shit. Way to undermine your lead character there. Shit, Whigham’s character in the original Grindhouse Trailer is played by some other dude and STILL gets killed by someone else entirely.

    But the main problem is the same one with Once Upon a Time in Mexico. I think most of the actors in that movie never met each other, and I’m willing to bet the same happened here. Was Deniro actually in any scenes with Trejo? Did Trejo ever meet Johnson or Savini? I feel like Rodriguez just cobbles together scripts and entices actors with like 3 day working schedules, then shoots and edits around them to hide the seams. I don’t know about you but I’d rather Salma Hayek just sat out OUATIM then whatever the hell that role was.

    And when is Rodriguez going to grow up and try to make real films like Sin City again (a movie I didn’t even really like but at least admire)? It seems all he’s doing is making purposely shitty movies or movies for his kids. Do you think we’ll ever get an Inglorious Basterds or even a Kill Bill out of him?

  150. In Sweden, comin just out on dvd. This is the first time for us watching it. Going to cinema is pretty difficult nowadays if you live over here and want r-rated shit. You only get shit like Harry Potter and James Bond. Since us swedes ( me unin-fuckin-cluded) only watches the ESC and the occasional ovie, it´s hard living nowadyas. But ´nough ranting:

    MACHETE was fucking good, despite the subplots whathaveyou. iIpersonally don´t get the CG-hate everyone throws at Rodriguez.
    Here´s my take at the CG vs Practical effects:With practical prostethics: When you´re having for example a head blowing off,you need to have a cut-away shot to, let´s say a reaction-shot and then then cut back to the replaced fakehead blowing off. Nowadays you can´t do that because it obviously looks fake.The audience won´t buy it anymore. Instead what you CAn do with CG, is having seamless shots without having to cutaway. Now, Machete is not entirely seamless. You do see the fakeness, but it works much better without all the editing required.

  151. What makes Danny Trejo believable as a tough guy as opposed to let´s say tom Cruise, is that he got that weathered face, the age to tell us he´s led a long and hard life that has harden him up to the point that NOTHING he ever faced before makes him shiver. He´s been there, done that! Just like the great tough guys in the past; Charles Bronson,Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, James Coburn, Nick Nolte, Clint Eastwood etc…Nowadays it´s all about pretty faces and I don´t buy them being tough. They haven´t lived a long enough life to be believable as on-screen tough guys. A lifetime of experience hardens you up and THAT makes a true bad ass tough guy believable. it´s just a shame that it took this long for Danny Trejo to get the recognition he deserves.

  152. MACHETE KILLS first trailer-
    http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/05/30/watch-machete-kills-trailer
    “Carlos Estevez” was one of the things on my wishlist for this movie, so I’m glad to get that.

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