Director Robert Rodriguez “Machete” is a wild ride homage through the world of the film genre known as Grind House. Growing up in Westchester I missed out on the Grind House experience which apparently involved run down theatres that showed horribly scratched prints of exploitation films. Picture a pre-refurbished Times Square.
In 2007 Rodriguez, along with director Quentin Tarantino, made the movie “Grind House,” actually two films in one, that attempted to replicate the Grind House experience. Part of the conceit of “Grind House” was that it included trailers for grind house type films that did not actually exist. One of these trailers was for the film “Machete.” Now, three years later Rodriguez has made the film to go with the trailer.
“Machete,” while certainly not for every taste, is a no holds barred, violent film with lots of gratuitous nudity, beheading galore and Robert De Niro!!! Yes, “Machete” has an eclectic cast which in addition to De Niro also includes Don Johnson, Steven Seagal, Cheech Marin (as a priest no less) Lindsay Lohan (as a shot gun totting nun), Michelle Rodriguez and Jessica Alba. The titular character is played by the tough, muscular, no nonsense pock marked faced Danny Trejo. Machete is a former Mexican federale who takes matters into his own hands after he is ambushed and double crossed. Trejo carries the film along with this nutty cast which actually probably features some of De Niro’s best work in years. It was nice to see our once great actor stop resting on his “Meet the Parents” laurels and play an over the top character, an extreme right wing senator who pulls no punches when it comes to stopping illegal immigrants from Mexico from entering the U.S.