Today I had the pleasure of watching Machete Kills, the latest installment in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete franchise.
The film is preceded by a fake trailer for Machete Kills Again …In Space, which features the titular hero on an intergalactic mission, starring Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Alexa Vega, Lady Gaga as “Whoever She Wants To Be”, Justin Bieber as a robot named Bleep (which Machete destroys) and Leonardo DiCaprio as “The Man in the Silver Mask” (with the sub-note that the actor playing the role is subject to change).
The actual film starts off with Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) and Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba) attempting to capture weapon dealers (crooked US military men) who have been supplying the Mexican drug cartels. The military men are then all killed by the gangsters, who in turn are wiped out by a yet another intervening party. Its leader, wearing a mask, murders Sartana with what appears to be a blaster and leaves Machete devastated: he is then arrested by a corrupt Sheriff Doakes (William Sadler) and Deputy Clebourne (Samuel Davis). Doakes tries to unsuccessfully hang Machete, but is forced to release him on orders of the President of the US, Rathcock (Charlie Sheen). Machete is then brought to the White House where the president offers him United States citizenship if he eliminates Marcos Mendez (Demián Bichir), a psychopath who is threatening to fire a nuclear missile at Washington, D.C. if the American government does not intervene to stop the rampant drug cartels in Mexico and the corruption of its government.
Machete agrees and travels to San Antonio, where he meets his handler, Blanca Vasquez (Amber Heard), an undercover beauty pageant competitor also known as “Miss San Antonio”, who seduces Machete before sending him to Acapulco to meet a young woman, Cereza (Vanessa Hudgens), who can lead him to Mendez. Machete finds her in a brothel run by her mother, Madame Desdemona (Sofía Vergara), who attempts to kill Machete before he escapes with Cereza. She takes him to Mendez’s associate, Zaror (Marko Zaror), who kills Cereza before taking Machete to Mendez’s base of operations.
There, Machete learns that Mendez has wired the missile’s launch device to his heart and triggered its launch in 24 hours. Machete escapes, kills Zaror and his men and captures Mendez, whom he intends to escort to the United States to find the only man who can disarm the missile, its creator. While rushing to reach the US-Mexico border, Machete learns that Mendez is an ex-secret agent who tried to expose his corrupt superiors, only to be betrayed and forced to watch his family being tortured. The trauma drove him insane by creating his split personalities, as well as led him to join forces with the missile’s creator.
Shortly thereafter, a hit is put on their heads. Machete is targeted by Madame Desdemona and her prostitute assassins, a shapeshifting hitman, El Camaleón, as well as Sheriff Doakes. Machete and Mendez manage to reach the US and kill Sheriff Doakes and Deputy Clebourne only to be caught by a seemingly reborn Zaror and the same mercenaries who killed Sartana. Zaror decapitates Mendez and Machete is riddled with bullets by the gunmen.
Machete wakes up to find himself in a healing tank and that he has been taken to meet Zaror’s benefactor, corrupt businessman, inventor and Star Wars fan Luther Voz (Mel Gibson). Voz shows Machete Mendez’s beating heart, preserved in a jar, as well as informs him of his plan to manipulate extremists throughout the world to detonate nuclear weapons while he and whoever chooses to join him escapes in a spaceship to rebuild society in space. Voz appears to have visions of the future that drive his goals and also reveals that Zaror is one of the many genetically-engineered supersoldier clones he has created to assist him, but that he now instead wishes to take Machete’s DNA to make clones of him as much more powerful weapons. Machete then escapes with help from Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), who had heard about the hit on Machete. She informs him that the only one who can disarm Mendez’s heart is Machete’s old enemy Osiris Amanpour (Tom Savini). Machete contacts Miss San Antonio, who instructs him to meet her at a rendezvous point.
Arriving there, Machete is betrayed and ambushed by Miss San Antonio (now Miss Texas), who is in league with Voz. As she is escaping into the desert, Machete gives chase and jumps onto the top of her vehicle but falls off after gunfire comes through the roof. Machete is then given a ride, unaware he’s been picked up by El Camaleón, who then tries to kill him one last time. Machete escapes and El Camaleón ends up being shot to death by a group of racist rednecks just inside the U.S. border. Machete then reunites with Luz and her group, the Network. They infiltrate a fundraiser at Voz’s base of operations. In the ensuing firefight, Osiris is killed by Voz before being able to disarm Mendez’s heart. Machete realizes Voz was the one who killed Sartana and then fights him. Voz admits that since Machete got involved, his future visions have become less accurate and clouded. Machete severely burns Voz’s face, disfiguring him to the extent that Voz is forced to wear a metallic, silver mask. Meanwhile, Miss San Antonio shoots Luz in her good eye, completely blinding her. Somehow Luz locates Miss San Antonio, fights with her and ends up throwing Miss San Antonio’s own tiara at her, piercing her chest and then shooting her. Luz is then confronted by Voz, frozen in Carbonite and taken aboard his ship.
Machete jumps on the missile as it launches and disarms it in mid-air, while Voz boards the ship and departs with the Zaror clones, his supporters, as well as Luz. The disarmed missile then plunges into the Rio Grande and Machete is rescued by President Rathcock, who asks him to follow Voz into space and kill him. Machete readily agrees and uses a SpaceX rocket (after getting a good-luck wish from Elon Musk) to depart to Voz’s Station in Earth’s orbit, where he is given a laser machete to start his mission.
In a post-credits scene an outtake from the Luz and Blanca fight scene is included followed by a shot of President Rathcock in front of a space background inquisitively brandishing two of Voz’s guns (the molecular disruptor and the same pistol used to kill Sartana) before firing wildly at an off-screen target.
It was a very entertaining film, following very much along Robert Ridriguez’s usual style. The plot was entertaining, and the acting worked from that. Overall, it was very much a film that will appeal to individuals who enjoy this style, and I am one of those people.
Thanks for reading.