"Machete don't text": 11 reasons why Robert Rodriguez's Machete is the sweetest film thus far this year
Why is Machete the sweetest film thus far this year?
1) Because it speaks for the working man, Latino or otherwise. Machete is an exploitation film that agitates against the exploitation of the working class.
2) Because, in comparison to so many Orlando Bloom-ish photoshopped pretty boy leading men, Danny Trejo makes for a delightfully unlikely craggy, grungy, laid back, his-shirt-tale-hanging-out hero. He's such a gentleman, he doesn't even take advantage of Jessica Alba's character when she drunkenly asks him to join her in bed.
3) Because writer/director Robert Rodriguez keeps paying affectionate tribute to Quentin Tarantino and his tendency to loot 1970s schlock cinema. In reference to Pulp Fiction, Rodriguez includes an important briefcase and a climactic fight with a Samurai sword. Also, the comically exaggerated killing of Machete's family (to set up his revenge) reminded me of Kill Bill.
4) Because Rodriguez teases the viewer with a desire to see Don Johnson's eyes, which remain masked by shades until near the end of the film. I kept being weirdly reminded of Johnson's first movie, A Boy and His Dog (1975).
5) Because it attempts to resurrect the acting career of Lindsay Lohan. In her first scene, her character's father (played by Jeff Fahey) blasts his way into a meth lab, killing numerous thugs to help save his daughter from her drug-induced stupor. Later, when she wears a nun's habit, she wields a machine gun with aplomb. Like a Dirty Harry Mother Teresa, Lohan is both redeemed and empowered.
6) Because, in comparison to the scraped-with-a-Brillo-pad mindless bloodletting of Piranha 3-D, Machete concerns a real issue--illegal immigration--that grounds all of the exploitative raunch and gore in something like real emotion. As one bodyguard says, "We let the Mexican park our cars. Why don't we let him into our country?"
7) Because Robert De Niro gets to play a variation on the Charles Palantine politician character in Taxi Driver. In his role as anti-immigration advocate Senator McLaughlin, De Niro reminded me of the main character in Bob Roberts, as well as former Vice President Dick Cheney's little mishap with a shotgun while hunting. In our gun-obsessed country, trigger-happy Senator McLaughlin scarcely seems like an exaggeration.
8) Because the film is full of discussions and insert shots of things like intestines, corkscrews, and skull scrapers that you know will be delightfully employed in the next fight scene.
9) Because when Jessica Alba's character ICE agent Sartana fixes Machete a Mexican dinner to the sound of cheesy Latino music, I felt like I was visiting my favorite Mexican restaurant.
10) Because Cheech Marin plays a hilarious Catholic priest with lines like "I absolve you for all of your sins. Now get the fuck out." I also liked his crucifix made up of surveillance monitors (a symbol for our times).
11) Lastly, because Machete leads the revolution against too much oppressive technology in our lives. As he says, "Machete don't text." When given the choice between a gun and a machete, he prefers to wield the working class sword every time.
Erik Hayden's thoughts about Machete
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