Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — To offer some sort of comfort to those worried about my series of carnage infused reviews lately, put away the straitjackets and consider it just a harmless coincidence that shall be broken up once the more interesting new films of 2014 get rolling. In the meantime, for those who are scanning the shelves for a moment’s distraction as well and share my dark sense of humor, today’s grotesque display has to be one of the best of the worst from 2013.
With even less effort to be taken seriously than the film that preceded it (If that’s really even possible), this chapter in only a way Robert Rodriguez can deliver makes one appreciate a style of parody that’s been lacking since the days of “Hot Shots” or “Army of Darkness.” It also blends in a Chuck Norris-esque hero we can all root for and if we don’t suffocate from our own laughter, we stop caring and admit we can be entertained by some of the dumbest schlock. “Machete Kills” does not have some of the well placed social commentary that made the first a cult classic, but it makes up for it with a cast that fits in all too perfectly.
In fact, if one pays attention, there’s kind of a parody inception going on where the smaller spoofs are thrown in to the overall satire of 1970s action films, including a Star Wars-ish fake trailer at the beginning of the movie. Once the movie does get going, it picks up with the latest do-good exploits of Machete (Danny Trejo) and his immigrations partner Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba), which is stopping a group of US Army troops from selling guns to a Mexican cartel.
Though it seems as if they might overcome the ridiculous odds, it turns out that this is just the tip of the iceberg for something much more sinister, starting with the death of Rivera. Enter the President of the United States, Rathcock (Charlie Sheen or in this case Carlos Estevez), who recruits Machete to stop the leader of the cartel, Marcos Mendez (Demián Bichir), a madman threatening to nuke Washington D.C. What follows is a full on dive into corny bliss where it turns out that Machete must save the entire planet, complete with the return of his one eyed Amiga, She/Luz (Michelle Rodriguez) and the introduction of the ultimate foe, Luther Voz (Mel Gibson).
It’s so fitting that what basically uses an inflated SyFy Channel budget for special effects can even hit a single theater, with each explosion or dismemberment a punch line worthy of endless giggles. Instead of shunning it, I embrace the dumbness and recommend it for those who need a diversion from a world that is continually too serious.
Perhaps it riled some elitist critics or fans, but the sporadic plot jumping around and inventing as it went along actually seemed to help keep it fresh and unique. Despite the fact that the world could go on perfectly fine without the last chapter of this series, I hope at least for closure sake it is completed even if it is straight to video. Once the last explosion goes off, it’s worth a gut busting two and three fourths out of five blades for “Machete Kills.”
DVD rental courtesy of Family Video of Pauls Valley.