Trailer Trashin’: They Messed with the Wrong Mexican Again in Machete Kills
First off, let me apologize to you, dear readers, for getting this week’s column to you so late – it’s been crazy busy on my end, and this got away from me. In happier news, over the weekend, I finally saw The Wolverine, and I have to say that I liked it more than I thought I would. More importantly, this week finally sees the release of Elysium, which I am planning to see as soon as I can. And looking beyond the end of summer, this week’s installment of Trailer Trashin’ takes another look at one of my most anticipated films of the fall, Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills.
Premise: Mexican ex-Federal agent Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) is recruited by the President of the United States (Charlie Sheen) for a mission that would be impossible for any mortal man. Machete must take down eccentric billionaire arms dealer Luther Voz (Mel Gibson), who has hatched a plan to spread war across the planet.
My take: For a long time, I was only familiar with the work of Robert Rodriguez indirectly – he was someone I knew of, but I hadn’t seen any of his films. But in the last couple years, I’ve finally gotten around to seeing some of his films, and I’ve quite liked them. My favorite film of his, that I’ve seen so far, is Machete (2010), his ultra-violent tribute to the exploitation genre. I feel like Machete is the film that exemplifies Rodriguez’s unique style and persona as a filmmaker. Ever since it was announced that it was officially happening, I’ve been looking forward to the film’s sequel, Machete Kills. This is the second trailer for Machete Kills, and it really underscores why I’m so looking forward to seeing it.
As I said last time, the awesomely eclectic cast is one of the biggest reasons why people were interested in the original Machete. Danny Trejo has been such a recognizable character actor for so long, and it’s great to finally see him getting leading roles, especially roles where he gets to kick as much ass as he does here. Michelle Rodriguez, who returned to the Fast & Furious series earlier this year, is back as the revolutionary leader Shé and doing her usual tough-chick thing. Also returning is Jessica Alba as ICE agent Sartana Rivera, but given how little she’s shown here, some people are wondering if her character might get killed off. We also get to see a lot more of Mel Gibson as evil arms dealer Luther Voz, which I believe is his first villainous role and he looks like he’s having a lot of fun with the part. While I still don’t have much respect for Charlie Sheen, credited here by his birth name Carlos Estévez, I’m on board with the idea of him as the President, and I like that they’re playing on his very well-known hard-living persona. We also see a bit more of Sofia Vergara as Madame Desdemona and her machine gun bra, which I think essentially sums up the tone of the film in a single image. I was kind of surprised to see Amber Heard’s character Miss San Antonio working with Machete as his handler; but given that we also see her fighting with Shé, she clearly either joins the bad guys at some point, or she’s actually a mole the entire time. This trailer also makes it clear that Lady Gaga’s La Chameleón and Cuba Gooding Jr.’s El Cameleón are in fact the same character, with the latter being a disguise used by the former. There are still some notable names in the cast that haven’t been seen yet, including Zoe Saldana, Edward James Olmos, and Tom Savini, and I kind of hope that we don’t find out what roles they play until the movie actually comes out.
The action on display here also looks really cool. The first Machete was blood-soaked, over-the-top, and a whole ton of ridiculous fun and Machete Kills is clearly continuing that tradition. We’ve got hand-to-hand combat galore. We’ve got huge amounts of gunfire. We’ve got the wonderful insanity of Machete taking out a helicopter with a harpoon gun and a hapless thug. And I absolutely love the moment where Machete grabs a guy, then stabs an electrical box with his other hand, uses his own body as an electrical conduit to shock the guy to death, and then just twitches a bit and walks away. A lot of fans have doubts that anything could top the moment from the first movie of Machete gutting a man and swinging on his intestines like a rope, but it’s clear that Rodriguez is trying his hardest to outdo himself this time.
This trailer shows off more of the film’s humor, and I like what they’re showing. I think a big factor in why the humor here works is that, as absurd as things get, the characters never act like anything is out of the ordinary. All the violence is so over-the-top that it takes what could be horrifying and instead makes it hilarious. I got a good chuckle out of the line “Machete don’t tweet,” which is, of course, a reference to the line “Machete don’t text” from the first film. And as crude as it is, I have to admit that I did laugh at Shé’s “I smell fish taco” line.
All in all, this is a really good trailer, and it perfectly sums up why I’m so excited about the film. We’ve got an awesomely eclectic cast, crazy action, fun humor, and that perfect old-school exploitation vibe. What more could you want? Needless to say, it’s a safe bet that I will be checking out Machete Kills when it opens in theaters this October.
Release Date: October 4th, 2013
Starring: Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Mel Gibson, Jessica Alba, Charlie Sheen, Sofia Vergara, Demián Bichir, Amber Heard, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Zoe Saldana, Edward James Olmos, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding Jr, William Sadler, Alexa Vega, Marko Zaror, Tom Savini, Samuel Davis, and Electra and Elise Avellan
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writers: Kyle Ward, Robert Rodriguez, Marcel Rodriguez, and Alvaro Rodriguez