Blood Banks, Eat Your Heart Out


Starring: Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba

By Robert Patrick

Hyper-violence and ultra nudity is everywhere in this film, no matter where you look, like a paint roller was dunked in the stuff and crisscrossed around every set in the movie. The plotline calls for more truncated heads than seen in the entire Boxer Rebellion (too soon?) and about as much sweaty perversion as a late night Cinemax flick. Oh yeah, your eyes are coffers for all of the flying limbs and gun wielding baddies in this almost two-hour extravaganza of b-movie goodness. Robert Rodriguez has packed “Machete” with so much testosterone that a Magnum sized Trojan couldn’t fit it all. Am I getting the point across? I still doubt it.

Danny Trejo plays Machete, a fearless ex-Federale with the emotive capacity of an iguana. When set-up by a business man with ulterior motives, who initially hands Machete $150,000 to kill a disingenuous and opportunistic senator (Robert  DeNiro), Machete ends up running from the law and spearing people’s temples with sharp objects – you know, the usual evasive tactics used by people in trouble. Throughout his vengeful crusade to bludgeon those who wronged him and his family, Machete essentially goes on a filibuster of carnage: Houses splinter into a million wooden sandwich picks; sword fights transpire with Steven Seagal; and twin nurses tote huge guns (not an analogy for breasts).

Even better than all of the explosions and inverted skulls is the fact that Jessica Alba doesn’t bother me; her performance as an immigrations officer following a skewed moral code is, if nothing else at all, completely fun to watch. Meanwhile, Michelle Rodriguez’s litany of aggressive characteristics is finally utilized in a screenplay that suits her vehement facial tics and terse vocalizations. The both of them, in their own way, end up sinking their salivating maws into the flesh of anyone who opposes them in the film. Robert Rodriguez either has Alba drenched in water or Michelle Rodriguez slicked with sweat for the duration of the movie. I can just see the lighting department slam-dunking heat lamps onto Michelle’s face to achieve this effect.

I also can imagine that Danny Trejo, an ex-construction worker at age sixty-six, was extremely happy to be having Alba and Rodriguez slung over his arms like they were a Jansport backpack. I can also imagine the duo being a huge improvement over having to coddle Maggie Gyllenhaal in “SherryBaby”. But anyway, Trejo does just about everything that a man’s man would want to do in “Machete”: wring out blood from bodies, cruise on motorcycles, have girls straddle them – I think I may have described a day in the life of the Mongols, but I digress.

Even better than everything I just mentioned is the inclusion of Steven Seagal, who is equipped with a horrible accent and a blade that looks too big for him to even hold at his age. Seagal culls frivolous dialogue from his mouth, kills people with the impulsivity of a mountain lion, and has more females around him than you would find in a girl’s restroom on prom night.  The whole thing is mesmerizing and weird; everything I have wanted to see all of my life as a film critic.

Other Hollywood players are thrown into the mix, from the ingenious Robert DeNiro to the maudlin Lindsay Lohan (the two surely have never been mentioned in the same sentence before), and do a great job with the macabre material they are given. I also want to point out that one of my favorite actors and special effects trailblazers, Tom Savini, does pushups using only his fingertips. I haven’t been this happy since I saw him as Sex Machine in “From Dusk Til Dawn”.

No, you wont want to miss “Machete”, as it is purely just as much fun as “Scott Pilgrim” (don’t think that means you shouldn’t see the movie, because Scott Pilgrim was ignored, that’s not what I meant). Make sure, if you want to do yourself a favor, that you do not see the R-rated trailer before you head out to the theater; the thing is a massive spoiler. Now that you have read all of this silly text (Machete don’t text) you ought to go out and see the film for yourself.


Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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