Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Machete: It cannot get bloodier...

Will you watch a movie that has a tagline like,
"They just f***ed the wrong Mexican!"
"He knows the score. He gets the women. And he kills the bad guys!"?
I am sure you will not even give it a try. And that is precisely the reason why I am posting on this movie "Machete". Even after reading this post, you are going to stay away from this one, and you will ask me what is the purpose of this whole exercise. And my answer will be, in art there is always room for absurdity. Like it or dislike it...

Some years back, two of the most talented directors of Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino, who gave us Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction and Robert Rodriguez, who made El Mariachi trilogy (El Mariachi, Desparado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico) decided to make a movie that is a tribute to the exploitation movies that they grew up watching. Exploitation movies are a breed of movies that exploits the primitive senses of viewers. Made with shoestring budgets, by independant movie makers, these movies will have loads of graphic portrayals of violence, nudity and foul language. Incoherent and often ridiculous plots and low production values are some common characteristics. Biker movies, Horror movies, Blaxploitation movies (movies that are made by blacks for blacks), Splatter movies (so violent that it is comedy), Bruceploitation movies (made using Bruce Lee dupes following the death of the star) are all the subgenres. Grindhouse movies was the term used to denote them. Tarantino and Rodriguez made two movies, Planet Terror and Death Proof, that eerily resembled exploitation movies of 70s and 80s. Although the movies that starred major stars like Bruce Willis and Kurt Russel did not do well as expected, the fake trailers that they made to show between the movies generated lot of buzz. And the one that hit the bull's eye was Machete,  the revenge story of a Mexican. 

Seeing the positive response to the trailer, Rodriguez decided to make it to a full length feature starring Danny Trejo as the ruthless Mexican, a regular in all the director's movies (in bit roles) and many  industry stalwarts like Robert De Niro as a corrupt senator, Steven Seagal as a drug lord, Lindsay Lohan in a double role, Jessica Alba as an immigration officer, Cheech Marin as Machete's brother and a priest in arms, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Don Johnson and more...

The plot or story is irrevelent, nothing is done to plug any loop holes, dialogue is as cheesy as it can get, violence is unbelievably gory, nudity is rampant, but acting is top class. The movie maintains the rawness and madness that characterises exploitation movies. The actors have done unbelievable job. Everyone has played their part with utmost conviction and sincerity, even knowing the absurd parts they have to play. The wooden acting and hamming by actors contributes to the authenticity of the movie..

I doubt they will ever officially release it in India due to its unique styling and I will not recommend it to anyone. But I had a blast watching it. It is an amazing effort to rebuilt a bygone era without making it look like a spoof. Critic response was also great. Unlike Indian critics, the international critics took the movie for what it wanted to show, not for what they wanted to see.



  1. I am not aware of this one but loved his earlier movie, The Inglorious Bastards...

  2. even i m nt familiar with this bt must say,i m gonna stay out, too much blood n violence is nt my cup of tea,nywaz dose directrs r big names, ur review may b condescending to dem bt still wrth..nice post indeed

  3. no, won't be watching it...though liked their movies...a film review can be of any crap movie...well, we Indians have had earth filling of crappy films...nice honest assessment..

  4. @alka: Inglorious basterds is a masterpiece and it is by Tarantino, this one is by Robert Rodriguez

  5. @vineet: I don't say good about a movie after looking at who directed it. IN fact I hate tarantino's two Killbill movies and Death proof. I could not sit through his Jackie Brown and I really hate Rodriguez's Spykids series.

    @Rek: It is not meant for all :)