Originally, the Machete franchise (if you can call it that) began life as a fake trailer, played in conjunction with the 2007 release Grindhouse. When turning this concept – that of a B movie, exploitation picture, into a fully fledged film, director Robert Rodriguez was already in danger of stretching this joke out further than it can manage. Therefore eyebrows were suitably raised in regards to this sequel Machete Kills, and rightly so, because although hilarious at first, the joke wears extremely thin.
Esteemed, and seemingly impenetrable ex-cop Machete (Danny Trejo), is hired by the President of the United States (Charlie Sheen) to track down – and ultimately take down – the infamous Mendez the Madman (Demian Bichir), who plans on launching a weapon into space. Though a seemingly straightforward plan, Machete encounters many villains along the way, all desperately determined to kill him and claim notoriety as a result, crossing paths with the likes of beauty queen Miss San Antonio (Amber Heard), terrorist Luther Voz (Mel Gibson), and the elusive hit-man El Cameléon (played by a variety of actors such as Cuba Gooding Jr., Antonio Banderas, and Lady Gaga).
Working as a pastiche of so many films to have come before it, and being deliberately ‘bad’ (for user of a better word), there is no denying the fun to be had in Machete Kills. The problem is, such fun doesn’t last for very long. The opening 10 minutes are immensely enjoyable, while the joke and concept remains fresh and all of the smallest quirks are a source of comedy. However as it trudges along, it gets so tiring, I mean, there are so many decapitated heads rolling around on the floor before you stop laughing. You could argue that just the one is pushing it.
To leap to the defence of Rodriguez, however, Machete Kills does not take itself seriously at all, and the occasional moments are hugely memorable. That said, because of the jovial, frivolous tone, there is no severity to this story, and though effectively this is a comedy with a farcical edge (of the Austin Powers ilk), you do crave some more intensity to it and to provide the narrative with some extra sting, where you can become more invested as a result. However nothing lasts given the fast paced approach, and any potential issue, or stumbling block for Machete and his mission, is dealt with so swiftly. Barely any villain or potential problem lasts no longer than a scene, as we weave in and out of various stories and characters. Though in fairness, it does keep you from getting too bored, that much is true.
It’s somewhat difficult to review Machete Kills, as you know exactly what you’re going to get with this production. However what can’t be denied is that this leaves a lot to be desired as a feature length movie, despite being made with the best intentions. The biggest problem of all, however, is that we have a third on the way. Good luck with that one.