Plot: What’s it about?
While it’s doubtful that Danny Trejo is a household name, I’m sure many will at least recognize him when they see him. He’s appeared in several films, mostly in supporting roles. Here, he plays the title character, Machete (his weapon of choice). Trejo is about as unconventional an action here as you can get. He’s short, has rough facial features and usually doesn’t speak very much and when he does it’s usually with one word replies. The character of Machete originally appeared in a fake trailer attached to Grindhouse. It received such positive feedback that director Robert Rodriguez decided to give the character his very own film. The plot is fairly simple, Machete is discovered by Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey), a corrupt business person who hires Machete to kill the Senator John McLaughlin (Robert Deniro). As Machete is attempting to shoot the Senator, another sniper shoots Machete in the shoulder and the Senator in the leg. The whole idea was to set Machete up and make the Senator appear as a hero to boost his votes. Many of the regulars who appear in Rodriguez’s films show up here. We get Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Cheech Marin and even Trejo himself. Steven Seagal even shows up here. Lindsay Lohan also has a supporting role here as Booth’s daughter. She has plans of being a star via her website. Of course her dad has to constantly get her out of trouble. The film is a bit more plot heavy than many might expect. It’s never confusing, mind you, but there is a lot going on. Rodriguez does a fine job of developing the characters, giving each one a motive. The Senator’s plan is rather humorous, he supports an electrified border fence to keep immigrants from entering the United States.
I am surprised by how well the film holds up on repeat viewings. To best appreciate a film like this it requires you to check your brain at the door. How many films do you see where the hero cuts out a man’s intestine and uses it to jump out of a building? The villains in this film are just as interesting as the hero, maybe even a bit more interesting. Jeff Fahey is great as Booth, he takes out an entire house full of criminals without even breaking a sweat. Deniro is having a great time playing the Senator here too. He’s careful to not let it get too campy. There’s just enough of a wink at the audience for it to work. Michelle Rodriguez is playing her usual tough-as-nails self, but it works here once again. The film works well because it not only knows what its audience wants, but never takes itself too seriously. It delivers R-rated goods in full force. Heads get severed, limbs detached, explosions left and right. There’s even a fair amount of nudity for those curious (you know who you are). The film could have easily turned into a stale one joke movie that wore out its welcome fast. Thankfully, that’s not the case here. Rodriguez also does a good job at keeping thing under control. He never lets things venture too far into one direction. There are several characters in this film, but Rodriguez juggles things perfectly, finding a nice balance to give enough screen-time to everyone. He is clearly inspired by the exploitation flicks of the 1970’s. In Machete, he is not only exploiting the genre, but also respects it. It’s clear he has an affection for those types of films. Machete is a great time from beginning to end.
Video: How’s it look?
Fox has done a fine job with this transfer (AVC encoded). The opening of the film has a rough, grainy look, but this is intentional. It’s a mockery of the older Grindhouse films. It only lasts for the first few minutes or so. After that, there is very little to complain about. This is a very clean print used, free of debris, defects and grain. There’s a ton of blood in this film and it shows up in deep, dark reds. Danny Trejo isn’t the best looking man in the world. His various scars and pock marks show up in fine detail here. Black levels are strong and deep and colors always accurate. The climax takes place outdoors in the day time and definition is excellent. I can’t find anything negative to say here. This is a first-rate transfer.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS 5.1 HD track also fares well. The rear channels kick in on more than a few occasions. The results are never less than superb. Vocals are strong, background noise always evident and always clean. There’s certainly a lot going on in the film and this track displays that nicely. There are tons of bullets, exhaust pipes roaring and bombs blasting, all showing great range and giving a nice kick to the track. As with the transfer, this track should please fans.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The extras are sadly lacking. This two disc set includes a digital copy on the second disc. This was released before the UV codes were all that were needed.
- Deleted Scenes – (10:58) There are 10 scenes here. One includes a small subplot involving the Jessica Alba character and her twin sister. There are some interesting scenes to see here.
- Audience reaction track – This is a truly pointless feature. I have no clue how much enjoyment one can get from hearing some random audience react to a movie.
- Trailers – We get two for Machete, one regular and one Red-band (R rated) trailer. There’s also a BD-Live extra and some trailers for other Fox films.
- Digital Copy