Robert Rodriguez is a director with a cult following. His movies, such as El Mariachi, Desperado, Spy Kids and Grindhouse, have thrilled audiences with their blend of adventure and violence. His latest film Machete delivers all that and more. It is an over the top adventure peppered with gratuitous violence that also delivers a political message against those who seek to restrict illegal immigration in the United States. This political aspect may dilute the audience which might seek out the film.
The hero of the film is Machete (Danny Trejo), a former federal officer who has fallen on bad times. His wife and daughter were slaughtered by a madman named Torrez (Steven Seagal). Machete is determined to get his revenge on this man. Meanwhile he hangs out at the Mexican border and works part time as a laborer.
Two women are also there. One is Sartana (Jessica Alba), an immigration officer. The other is Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), who helps the workers in any way she can. Sartana is determined to make those who wish to immigrate into the United States do it the legal way while Luz is open to helping them in any way.
A man named Booth (Jeff Fahey) hires Machete to assassinate Senator John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro). This senator is an avid illegal immigration foe. At the first of the movie he is shown shooting down a pregnant woman who is trying to make it across the border. Booth is his assistant, but he has his own reasons for wanting the senator shot.
Later in the film Lindsay Lohan shows up as Booth's daughter and Cheech Marin makes an appearance as Machete's brother. Marin's appearance is a welcome addition to the movie while Lohan's is less enjoyable.
It is easy to understand Trejo, Fahey, Seagal, Lohan and Marin being in the movie but what are Alba and De Niro doing there? These last two actors have good careers going and participation in this film is not going to enhance their careers.
The film is rated R for violence, nudity and profanity. The violence is way over the top and becomes almost comical in the extreme way it is presented. Machete's machete is constantly in use and severed body parts fill many scenes.
All of the Americans who oppose illegal immigration are presented as the epitome of evil. Those who support it are the truly good guys in the film. Whether or not De Niro's Senator McLaughlin is supposed to be a caricature of Senator John McCain is questionable.
Trejo must be in awe of the fact he has the lead in a movie and that he gets to romance characters played by Alba and Rodriguez. Lohan plays a drugged out beauty but she doesn't share a romance with Trejo.
The gratuitous violence and the name of Robert Rodriguez should draw some people in for the film, but its pro illegal immigration message and its ridiculing of those who oppose it will pare the audience down.
I scored Machete a sliced 5 out of 10.