Machete Kills Blu-ray Review

Do you like over-the-top, gory action sequences tied together with a shoe-string story? How about B-movie caliber acting, cheesy ‘70s era special effects, and implausible casting decisions? If you’re in on the joke, chances are you’ve already seen MACHETE and the recently-released MACHETE KILLS which just came to Blu-ray and digital media outlets. And why not? A little excess from time to time can be fun, right? Why not enjoy something made primarily to celebrate the films of the past? In preparing for this review, I decided to watch the original film, and I’m sad to say where the first was frenetic fun with original over-the-top action, MACHETE KILLS falls flat on its face.

Danny Trejo in the Machete Kills trailer

MACHETE KILLS opens with Machete teamed up with his love, Sartana (Jessica Alba who gets more out of her 30 seconds on screen than the rest of the actors combined). They’re trying to stop a drug cartel at the border of Mexico but when they are attacked by an unknown force, Sartana is killed and Machete is blamed for her murder and is condemned to hang (which of course doesn’t work on our invincible hero). President Rathcock (Charlie Sheen as Carlos Estevez) then pardons Machete to send him into the heart of Mexico. His mission: To stop a crazy drug lord who has a nuclear missile aimed at Washington DC and a finger on the trigger.

Danny Trejo

MACHETE KILLS doesn’t really get any deeper than this. Machete is essentially indestructible, which we all accept (?) because Danny Trejo is such a stoic and intimidating figure. But MACHETE KILLS doesn’t have any of the heart of the first movie. Enemies are telegraphed before their reveal and the plot is so thin it can’t hold up the terrible acting. The point of explosions and action is to further the story but MACHETE KILLS doesn’t spend a single moment making us care for Machete or his cause. In fact, America (represented by Sheen, which just makes me feel dirty) looks bad in a movie like this… I know it’s supposed to be funny, and maybe it’s just Charlie Sheen’s involvement… I don’t know.

Danny Trejo and Michelle Rodriguez

Speaking of actors, like most Rodriguez films MACHETE KILLS is filled with all-star cameos and headliners in supporting roles. Actors have long talked about the joys of working collaboratively with Robert Rodriguez and he once again scores with the never-been-hotter Sophia Vergara as Desdemona, a killer & Madame who runs a brothel. Also featured in MACHETE KILLS are Amber Heard (Miss San Antonio and an American spy), Demian Bichir as drug lord Mendez, Mel Gibson as the enigmatic Voz, Michelle Rodriguez, Lady Gaga, and more. And with the casting comes a few moments of great fun, but too often it actually pulls you OUT of the movie rather than furthering the story in any way.

Sophia Vergara and Alexa PenaVega lead the brothel-hit squad

What else can you say about a movie that’s a sequel to a movie that initially existed only as a fake trailer during an epic ode to double features (GRINDHOUSE, 2007). That’s a pretty confusing premise/origin story, but understanding the thought behind the release of MACHETE and the sequel, MACHETE KILLS, is required. It would make more sense if MACHETE KILLS featured even a smidgen of the aging, the roughness, the personality of the original. Instead it plays like an off-key record.

MACHETE KILLS BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.35:1) The video presentation for MACHETE KILLS is purposefully grainy but it is a bit uneven. Though this is likely on purpose, and the film is generally presented well, it can be a bother from time to time (usually when it is just too clear). The colors and cinematography are beautifully influenced by director Rodriguez’s signature style, though, heightening even this film.

Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio for MACHETE KILLS is beautifully mastered and will immerse you in the action… if only the plot were as well thought out.

Robert Rodriguez on set with Amber Heard

Deleted/Extended Scenes (20:10) Quite a few scenes are included on MACHETE KILLS, several of which actually have some nice material. If you are a fan of this franchise, or (somehow) of this film in particular, you’ll definitely enjoy them. This feature, thankfully presented with a “play all” button (YAY!) includes the following: Sheriff Doakes Talks About His Pappy; No One’s On the Road Tonight; I Dreamt Nurses?; Meet Baby Machete; Tito’s Been Tasered; El Camaleon Sounds Like Antonio Banderas This Time; Extended Truck Driving Scene; and I’m Just Savin’ You the Sunburn

Making MACHETE KILLS (20:20) A standard feature on Blu-rays these days, this one is really well done. Featuring the requisite interviews with cast and crew, this is a testament to the fun they had making MACHETE KILLS… I just really wish it had translated into a more fun, less plodding film.

MACHETE KILLS also comes with an UltraViolet Digital HD Digital Copy and a DVD standard edition of the film.

OVERALL 2.5
VERDICT:
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