Robert Rodriguez comes in a very close second, in my top favorite movie director list. A close follower to Quentin Tarantino, which explains why in real life, they are close friends; working together on multiple projects, year after year. Their styles are similar, yet can be picked apart by the close knit group of actors they utilize in their pictures. Rodriguez has brought both ends of the Hollywood spectrum together, by producing some of the most stylized, brutally violent creations, as well as a trilogy of kids movies, titled Spy Kids, all in the same decade. There are very few people in Hollywood today, that bust their behind as hard as this dude does.
Three years ago in Mexico, tough as nails Federale, Machete (Danny Trejo) was betrayed by his police captain, resulting in his wife and child being murdered, by drug kingpin Torrez (Steven Seagal). In present day Texas, Machete makes his comeback, quickly rehired off the books, to assassinate Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro), an extreme advocate against illegal immigration. Double crossed once again, Machete plots his revenge against the men who drew the blood of his kin, along with the help of resistance fighter She’ (Michelle Rodriguez), Agent Sartana (Jessica Alba), and his gun wielding Padre (Cheech Marin). It will be a Latino fountain of blood, and when the blades and bullets stop flying, only a few will be left standing. Let the revolution begin!
Three years ago, I was fortunate enough to see one of the coolest theater experiences that will happen in a very long time. Quentin Tarantino and his partner in Hollywood crime, Robert Rodriguez, created an experience, that no one under the age of thirty could comprehend or appreciate, if it weren’t for them. In the 70’s, there was a concept called “Grindhouse” cinema, where viewers would go to their local theater, and get to see two shows, for the price of one. In between shows, patrons would have the choice of viewing coming attraction previews, or they could stretch their legs, and get concession items. This concept, is what Quentin and Robert grew up loving. In 2007, they decided to bring back that idea with a double feature knows as Grindhouse. Rodriguez directed the first piece titled Planet Terror. There were a handful of previews of pretend movies, and then the second feature, Death Proof, directed by Tarantino closed the show. Both movies were unprecedented. In between however, Rodriguez created a fake preview for a film titled Machete, and hardcore fans went wild. They demanded the movie be made. Three long, dragging years later, the fans were granted their wish. Machete became a reality.
Let me assure you, the wait was worth the price of admission. This movie invited you, punched you in the mouth, and then picked you up, dusted you off, and then kicked your feet out from under you; more than once. Robert Rodriguez took a B-list regular, Danny Trejo, and gave him a title shot at leading man. He may never snag an Oscar, but he will remain a remembered face until he is no more.
This movie followed its’ big brothers’ lead, but instead of having an eclectic look, it was shot in HD, to portray the grimy, razor sharp, rawness. To sum it up with a few examples, here are a few things Machete had to offer. It not only gave a nobody, a leading man role, but did quite a few more risque things. How could one movie make so many points in such little runtime, you ask? Steven Seagal broke his ten year hiatus from the big screen. Jessica Alba and Lindsay Lohan, both bare all, just begging fans to ask, “Are you serious?” Robert Deniro even lowered himself a few pegs, to make a major appearance, in a take a chance role, as a racist senator, dead set against immigration toward these United States. What more does a “balls to the wall” movie like this need to prove its’ point? Why not add Cheech Marin as a preacher, that wields dual shotguns, ready to splatter “brain matter grey” all over the pulpit, in the name of his brother. I’m pretty sure that’s enough said. If you feel you’re a fan of the independent cinema movement, you should contribute your hard earned dollars, and pay to see this treasure, before it hits DVD after the holidays. It is well worth the money, but not for the faint of heart.
Review By: Charlie Giltenboth