Almost three years after releasing Machete, director Robert Rodriguez is back with Machete Kills, another look at the sword-wielding, stone-faced antihero (played by Danny Trejo) who originally came about as a joke in a faux trailer for Grindhouse. The project has an impressive cast list, including Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez as She, and Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga, Charlie Sheen, and Mel Gibson in supporting roles. No one, least of all Rodriguez, is pretending that Machete Kills and its predecessor are anything other than campy, fun flicks, but the movie is sure to inspire some questions. We've rounded up the biggest ones and are addressing them below.
How Is Lady Gaga?
Pretty good, considering that this is Gaga’s first movie role. Of course, she also has the benefit of only having a few lines (most of which are spoken by a man), and spending a majority of her time in what looks and feels like an outtake from her 2010 "Telephone" music video (minus Beyoncé). Unsurprisingly, Gaga fits perfectly in Rodriguez’s world, which could be a good or a bad thing, depending on whether you're a fan of the director's work.
What About Sofia Vergara?
Despite the fact that Vergara and her machine-gun bra are featured heavily in promos for the film, she really only has a handful of lines in the actual movie. And the lines she does have are delivered at a decibel level so high they make Modern Family’s Gloria's screechiest moments sound like hushed whispers. Aside from all the yelling, Vergara seems like a natural fit for one of Rodriguez’s films. Her mixture of va-va-voom and winking silliness make her one of the more interesting actors to watch — you just get the sense that she's enjoying herself.
Keep reading for more from our review of Machete Kills.
And What About Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson?
Remember when Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson were regular topics of conversation in pop culture? Yeah, well, this movie just cements the idea that either these actors will never be able to reclaim their former glory or will only be able to play caricatures of themselves from this point forward. Whatever you think about the actors’ personal lives, they are both talented, so they play their parts well, but their presence in the film feels dated. Does anyone even remember Sheen's #winning moment?
Is the Movie Super Violent?
Yes, but the violence is so cartoonish and fake that it’s hard to take it seriously. People get shot, stabbed, and even turned inside out, but the gore is deliberately made to look like something from an aspiring film student who had access to a gallon of Heinz ketchup and little else. And, just so we're clear, that's a good thing with this movie.
OK, So, If I Like the First Machete, Will I Like This One?
Probably, but this film just isn’t as enjoyable as the first. The whole project feels like a joke that has run out of steam, and the giggles that the first Machete elicited with its defiantly unsophisticated special effects and Trejo’s deadpan humor don’t come as easily this time around. Machete Kills doesn’t really add anything new to the story and humor of Machete.
What If I Didn't See the First Machete?
Unless you are an avowed fan of Robert Rodriguez (but then, why wouldn’t you have seen Machete?) you probably won’t love this film. Rodriguez’s "mex-plotation" films are goofy, fun flicks that look like they were as fun to make as they are to see. They are also chock-full of violence, campy humor, and over-the-top offensiveness while deliberately avoiding any attempt at depth.