Machete Kills…IT

Machete Kills posterSequels by nature bear a heavy load when it comes to satisfying the fans of the original movie while also carrying a fresh feel so as not to make the viewer feel as if the movie is just a recycled plot line from the original (Hangover Triology, anybody?). In Machete Kills, Robert Rodriguez faced a difficult challenge in trying to navigate such a fine line. Unfortunately, for as much as he succeeded in not being another sequel statistic, he failed to keep the elements in place that made Machete a fan favorite amongst those who found his B movie Grindhouse-inspired vibe so appealing.

Danny Trejo makes his return to the big screen as the ex-Mexican Federale-turned-spy Machete, who is recruited by the President of the United States (played by Charlie Sheen, who was one of the bright points of the movie) to stop a maniacal revolutionary Mendez (Demián Bichir) from launching a missile aimed at Washington, DC. In the process of trying to stop Mendez, he discovers that there is a greater evil involved – an arms dealer named Luther Voz (played by Mel Gibson, who easily stole the screen from Trejo whenever they shared any scenes).

This movie is packed with celebrity cameos, some of which have been highly promoted in the movie’s ads. From Sofia Vergara and her machine gun bra to Lady Gaga, they all make an effort to leave their mark on the screen in the very few minutes that they appear. At times, it almost feels like every opportunity was sought to throw in a celebrity cameo into the movie, regardless of how well they would fit the scene. Antonio Banderas is the perfect example, who is used as some sort fake over-the-top paisa cowboy (you know, those Mexicans with the crazy leather boots, sombrero and the silk shirt that looks like it’s made from a middle eastern rug) whose costume ends up being his ultimate demise. I can’t help but to think that they could’ve used another actor for that seen that made sense and played it better, but then again, if the goal was to stick an A-celebrity into the movie, anybody in that capacity probably wouldn’t have made the scene work – and it wouldn’t be their fault.

What ultimately drags this movie down is the sense that there was an attempt to reproduce the magic that made the first “Machete” such a cult classic. Each scenes in the movie also felt like a mini movies, with an uneven story flow in between them that made the plot development feel disorganized. I say this while not expecting a movie to be up for Best Picture at next year’s Oscars, but it would feel great as a movie viewer to have a final product that keeps my focus on the movie and not on my watch making me wonder how much longer I need to watch this film.

One of the famous lines from the first Machete movie is “Machete don’t text.” Ultimately, I wished that Machete didn’t do sequels. For cult classics like Machete, that should be the golden rule because more often than not, when you try to replicate the magic from the first movie, you usually lose what made it special to begin with.