When Robert Rodriguez made Planet Terror, the first half of he and Quentin Tarantino’s grind-house double-feature, back in 2007, he also fabricated some fake trailers to insert at various points between the film’s segments and at the mid-way point before the “let’s all go the lobby” ads at intermission. One was for Machete, a Mexploitation flick about a vengeance-seeking vigilante of the same name played by Danny Trejo. (He’s called ‘Machete’ because he prefers hacking his targets to death rather than just shooting them. It’s more fun—and bloodier—that way.)
When Rodriguez made Spy Kids back in 2001, Trejo appeared as the same character—turns out the script for Machete was actually written in 1993, after Rodriguez had cast Trejo in Desperado, proving that, if nothing else, Rodriguez is insistent and constantly thinks about “the big picture.” The ‘final’ trailer for Machete came out earlier this year, and everyone still thought it was just a joke—especially because it seemed too well-timed, coinciding as it did with the state of Arizona’s real-life introduction of stringent anti-illegal-immigration legislation. But it is a real feature-length hack-fest, and it’s bloody awesome.
The title character is an ex-Federale who, after a drug kingpin has executed his wife and child, gets invited across the border to Texas carry out some hatchet-job murders by various seedy businessmen and political types, including a senatorial campaign by a redneck politician played by Robert de Niro. The campaign hires Machete to attempt to assassinate the incumbent senator, but it’s a “false flag” operation: the campaign plans to use the assassination attempt to drum up support for the senator’s harsh anti-illegal-immigration laws, and had planted a sniper to try and kill Machete. He seeks revenge, and, in the end, gets it.
Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, and Steven Seagal prop up the rest of the film in various guises; Cheech from Cheech and Chong has a hilarious cameo, and Lindsey Lohan could not be more perfectly cast as the senator’s coked-out alcoholic floozy of a daughter. The film is deliciously grimy, frequently bloody and consistently hilarious—it’s definitely one of funniest films you’ll see all year. Machete opens November 11.
Machete opens Thursday November 25th.