Being free from the spouse this weekend has allowed me to catch up on some media consumption that my better half wishes not to stomach, primarily over the top, ultra violent, sell some popcorn, movies. This basically omits most Robert Rodriguez films. While Rodriguez has proven he can direct popular films, most of the director’s loyal followers have been built off his ability to make stylish, funny, punched up action films with a knowing nod of irony. You could compare him a lot to his collaborator on “From Dusk to Dawn” and “Grindhouse”, Quentin Tarantino, where both are obviously aware of the irony, but Rodriguez appears to try less to make you think that he knows “film,” and more that he enjoys the same movies he references and plays off of(personally I feel that Tarantino’s films often are leaning as criticizing similar movies for their lack of “artistic filmmaking” as opposed to honoring them, as the director claims).
Without divulging too much of the paper thin plot, Machete acts as a vehicle to give a varied group of wooden A, B, and C list actors a vehicle to explore the trappings of a 70s exploitation film in the context of the setup of an ex federale (played by Danny Trejo) prompting him to go on a rampage against those parties who set him up, including a prior boss, and now drug lord. Where the limited skills of actors such as Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, and Steven Segal would likely be a detriment to any other film, the lack of seriousness we are asked to give their characters actually works in the director’s favor. For once the overacting of Segal was able to be reigned in to only go to a 10 (as opposed to the constant 12) and fit the tone of the character he had to portray. It is from this context that I think Rodriguez would do quite well making the next comic book franchise film. He can take silly dialogue and often wooden actors hired to portray similarly wooden characters and make it work in the silly genre of action films. Just remove some of the bare tits (of which Machete had plenty) for spandex, and machine guns for super powers, and you're there.
This movie is highly recommended for a blow off night of popcorn and entertainment.