The border crossed us

Ah the long weekend, I am so happy I can appreciate it once more. Because of all that time off I had before I could not enjoy them. I was home and it was just another day. But now, having that extra day to relax is such a blessing. Apparently I was feeling a little too relaxed yesterday cuz I did not finish writing this post. Even though it was a very, i mean VERY, slow day yesterday, my procrastination took over and I did everything possible not to do it.

Anyways, I started out my fabulously relaxing long weekend by seeing a movie, no surprise there. What was a surprise was how good Machete was. I can’t say I thoroughly enjoyed the experience because it was somewhat ruined by the fools that sat behind me in the theatre. They giggled through nearly the whole thing. I know it is supposed to be a kind of grindhouse b-movie thing but all that was totally unnecessary. The guy laughed almost non-stop making this high pitched sound and the girls made stupid comments like “How come everyone in this movie is, like, Mexican or something?”. The worst part is when there was something actually funny to laugh at they didn’t. They laughed uncontrolably when “Mexico” appeared on the screen or someone got their head chopped off but at a joke? No, not them. It was so infuriating. Whatever. On to the movie.

Machete (Danny Trejo) is a ex-Federale who miraculously escapes death at the hands of a vicious drug dealer Torrez (Steven Segal). He resurfaces in the US taking odd jobs just to survive. He gets hired by a business man named Booth (Jeff Fahey) to kill the anti-immigrant Senator McLaughlin (Robert DeNiro). He takes the job only to give the money to The Underground. The organization is headed by Luz/She (Michelle Rodriguez) to help foreigners cross the border and integrate into the American way of living. Machete is betrayed by Booth during the assassination attempt. In his plot for revenge he finds out that Booth and the Senator’s campaign are being funded by Torrez. Machete goes on a bloody killing spree with the help of Luz, the people of The Underground network, and an INS agent (Jessica Alba) who has been pulled into this mess.

In recent years the resurgence of these exploitation/b-movies has been interesting with movies like Black Dynamite, Planet Terror and Death Proof. Each one had it’s own way of showing homage to the genre. Even though they were all enjoyable none of them really had much of a whole story or overall point. But Machete has a complete story with highly visible political overtones. Sure the political statement is amid explosions, hyper-violence, and random nudity but it gets its point across.

Don’t worry, the movie doesn’t beat you over the head with this political statement it doesn’t take itself that seriously. They have fun with it. The dialogue is over the top when it needs to be, cheezy for comic relief, and mellows out so you don’t get tired of it. It is good enough that you don’t sit there getting annoyed and not good enough that you find yourself analyzing it. Machete is a man of few words but when he speaks you listen.

I don’t know what to say about the acting, I am not sure you can call it good, but it is good for this kind of movie. It is a little over done and melodramatic but not outlandish or flat out ridiculous. Trejo fit the role perfectly. He has that weathered strong man look and that gruff voice. Alba tried to be a tough girl but she can’t pull it off. But in a movie like this where it isn’t supposed to be serious it works. DeNiro obviously had fun with this role. He plays the senator perfectly. Segal does what he usually does. He says cheesy things that are supposed to be menacing or prolific and then he does some sword play. These qualities that made his movies the laughing stock of action movie genre made him enjoyable in this one.

There were also a couple of cameos including Cheech Marin who was awesome as the Padre or Machete’s brother. He is a priest with shot guns. The almost unrecognizable Don Johnson is in there too as Lt. Stillman, the out for blood border guard. And the most sensationalized cameo is Lindsay Lohan. She plays the drugged out daughter of Booth. She isn’t great in the role but it works cuz it seems like she is just being herself. But her part has been grossly over hyped.

Now the action is great. It is over the top in all the right ways. There are huge explosions, crazy gun fights, and a scene where someone’s intestines are used as rope to repel down the side of a building. There is a lot of blood in other words. Even though it is a violent movie it is not grotesque in its maliciousness. Things will still look painful but it is clearly not real.

Machete is definitely a movie to be seen on the big screen. It just goes for it without pulling any punches and is a hell of a lot of fun.


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