This piece was first published on Yahoo Fit to Post here.
What can you say about a movie whose most important elements are nudity, gore, over-the-top lines and humor as subtle as its title? Well, what else except – Robert Rodriquez, thanks for making Machete – a movie that goes well with beer and the company of my fellow male friends.
I would label this write-up as a spoiler alert, but then the plot isn’t exactly the most interesting bit about the movie. In fact, for a movie like Machete that thrives on compromising believability for coolness, stretched plot elements comfortably sneak in unnoticed under the already raised threshold of suspended belief. So if you don’t want to hear plot elements and dialogues from the movie, stop reading right now.
See? I knew you couldn’t resist. To put it succinctly, this movie is about a political ploy of a crooked politician financed by a Mexican druglord that aims to build an electrified fence on the American border with Mexico so that said druglord can be in complete control of the supply of illegal labour.
Incongruity is at the heart of all the funny moments in Machete. Things that are too neat, out of place or of the wrong size are cues for laugh-out-loud moments. This is evident when you get a bad-ass macho guy refer to himself in the third person to explain his unfamiliarity with technology with a line like, “Machete don’t text”. This humor device re-occurs when you see a priest who neatly labels reports and recordings of his confessions, the bad guy who encrypts his files with a password that reveals he is in love with his daughter and a white kid who oddly resembles Eminem fights for the Mexicans because he is Mexican by adoption.
Machete isn’t the most intellectually challenging movie you’ve ever seen, I’m sure that much is clear even without seeing the trailer. You go to such a movie to forget about your hard day at work, you go for getting guy-time, you go for everything a typical man’s chick flick (credit: someone on Twitter who I can’t remember) offers you. Machete is the retro man’s 007 – he sleeps with many women in the movie including Lindsay Lohan’s and her mom’s characters (at the same time). Lindsay Lohan, who for the majority of the movie is dressed in her birthday suit or a nun’s habit incidentally doesn’t seem to realize that the role pokes fun at her real self. She plays a rich, spoilt drug addict. Robert de Niro plays a politician so crooked that you enjoy him being shot at as he is being electrocuted. Steven Seagal who plays, of all things, a Mexican druglord is dressed in a way that makes him look oddly pear-shaped, but then you feel that this is probably because it made it easier to shoot the scene in the end where he turns the blade lodged in his abdomen and twists it. The inimitable Danny Trejo, of course had to be the only choice for Machete after he played the character in a fake trailer from the Rodriguez-Tarantino ‘Grindhouse’. He acts with a stony face and mutilates without mercy.
So kick back, open a beer, be prepared for cheesy lines like, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us”; laugh out loud when the protagonist has sex with the bad guy’s wife and daughter; smile when the burly hero uses his podgy fingers to send out a text, soak in the cool as the many shapes and varieties of Machete’s blade cut through skin, flesh and bone, and applaud when Machete uses a human intestine as an escape rope.
The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither should you. Oh, and don’t take your wife* along.
*I apologise for stereotyping wives as women not liking mindless gore and nude threesomes including Lindsay Lohan, but it was just convenient for this piece.