Machete cuts down all expectations

Connor Reis, Staff writer

Deciding if “Machete” is the right movie for you shouldn’t be too much of a challenge: does the idea of a Mexican using a man’s innards as means to repel from a window intrigue you? If so, see this movie immediately.

“Machete” is an exciting and fun action flick that can entertain just about anyone with a massive amount of testosterone and a lack of a weak stomach. The action scenes keep the viewers on the edges of their seats, and seeing Machete (Danny Trejo) behead three grown men with one swing of a blade causes them to nearly fall off.

The plot is pretty basic: Machete, an ex-police officer from Mexico, used to be the best of the best. After an action-packed attempt at capturing a drug lord goes awry, he decides to lay low as a day laborer in Texas.

Multiple cast members have appeared in other Robert Rodriguez-directed films. Trejo aside, Rodriguez managed to pull in a number of big-name stars for the supporting cast. Cheech Marin (known to some as Uncle Felix from “Spy Kids”) plays a priest who finds no problem with killing people (provided he does his penance), and Robert De Niro plays a racist, corrupt senator.

Other noteworthy cast members include Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert De Niro, Steven Seagal and Lindsay Lohan.

The movie’s main character seems to be based off of Trejo himself. A rugged Mexican, Machete is rarely seen wearing outfits that don’t include numerous weapons hanging from his jacket or pants. Trejo’s complexion screams ‘rough past,’ which is perfectly displayed in the opening scene of the movie. He really makes the audience cheer on the character without displaying many emotions — think Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix”.

The first half of “Machete” is filled with blood-filled action and memorable fighting scenes. Exciting actions sequences contain almost nothing but the blade-wielding Mexican killing people with a ridiculous number of knives and other sharp objects. He doesn’t go completely gun-free, but the character definitely lives up to his name.

Sadly, the movie begins to lose its steam after about an hour. It makes a somewhat poor attempt to build up the plot. Rodriguez tries to build up the suspense toward the final battle, but it really only makes the final action scene less exciting.

People looking for originality, look no further; The idea for Machete started as a spoof and was intended to last for under a minute. A fake trailer of the over-the-top action flick was released in Grindhouse (also directed by Rodriguez) under the same name. If you need something to compare this to, imagine to director of Tropic Thunder making Satan’s Alley a full-length film.

The plot doesn’t have much to offer, and there is virtually no character development to be found. The two main female characters in the movie (Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez) are practically identical in their makeup, attire, acting, and dialogue. It took me a good 30 minutes before it was obvious which one was which.

Recommending this movie to anyone will prove a near-impossible task for most people. This isn’t because the movie was poorly made; it just takes so much for a person to truly admire “Machete” for what it is.

“Machete” is a movie that will be loved by anyone who enjoys insane action-packed films and hated by anyone who doesn’t. The story is thin, the kind that is written simply to tie two fight scenes together. The easiest films to compare it to are Blaxploitation films (“Shaft”, “Jackie Brown”, etc.), but with Mexicans instead.

As I said before, nobody will be able to fully appreciate “Machete” without a high tolerance for violence and an even higher tolerance for over-the-top action scenes. If you think you can handle it, don’t miss this movie. Otherwise, steer clear of it. Way clear of it.