ACTION, 1hr 45min
STARRING: Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Steven Seagal, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan, Don Johnson, Jeff Fahey
Approach with caution: Trejo
Robert Rodriguez must have had a big ol’ blast writing and directing the get-up-and-go-go-go theatrics of Machete — right off the bat, heads roll as arteries spurt vivid jets of blood, and there’s plenty more spurting to come.
Trejo, impassive as a concrete block, is fallen Mexican lawman Machete, who wrong-foots it with the wrong people and fetches up in Texas. Contracted by a handsome sleazeball (Fahey as Booth) to shoot a Mexican-hating Texan senator (De Niro), Machete approaches the dirty gig with his customary sullen burn. Nothing goes according to plan, which is all part of the bleeding fun, and M. becomes a wanted man — by Booth and drug lord Torrez (Seagal), by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Sartana (Alba) and by demonic vigilante Von (Johnson). Taco stand operator and closet activist Luz (Rodriguez) is in the Big M’s corner, but Machete is a man who mostly swaggers alone…
What a cheesy tamale! Even at its most preposterously and operatically violent, it’s flat-out winking at itself. Which could be worse but could also be better, wholesale brute force being a so-so zone. At least the ladies are easy on the eyes, with La Lohan even going au naturel. For what that may be worth.