Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

October 9, 2013 at 4:33pm

Judging by the Trailer: "Machete Kills"

All grown up - Alexa Vega as "Killjoy"

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With the release of Gravity, Rush and Captain Phillips, award-season is really starting to gear up, and what better way to celebrate than to go see a tongue-in-cheek sequel to a tongue-in-cheek movie that was based on a tongue-in-cheek fake trailer?

No? OK, but what if I told you that Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson and Lady Gaga were in it?

Still no? Fine. Let's just watch the trailer instead.

Machete Kills picks up where Machete left off - so deep in the realm of self-satisfied parody that Robert Rodriguez probably wouldn't notice or care if it were playing to an empty theater. Beyond simply being homage to the grimy B-movies, Machete adopted the tact of the Hangover movies in paying tribute to low culture in general, featuring the stunt casting of ne'er-do-wells like Steven Seagal and Lindsay Lohan. The bar has once more been raised with the inclusion of the aforementioned triumvirate of Gibson, Gaga and Sheen.

Danny Trejo - once a noble character actor, now an ironic icon in the mold of Betty White - returns as the titular Machete, a renegade antihero hired by the hard-drinking, hard-loving President Charlie Sheen to bring down Mel Gibson's terrorist. An endlessly pulpy series of quips and explosions follow, including a particularly eye-roll-inducing scene of Machete proclaiming that he doesn't tweet, as he brandishes an iPhone equipped with a switchblade.

Machete and its sequel are an exercise in the vein of Pulp Fiction's career revival of John Travolta, but for Trejo. The problem, though, is that it highlights Trejo as a badass man of few words, which certainly was always part of Trejo's appeal, but anyone who's seen his tender and charming work in movies like Sherrybaby can attest that there's much more to the man than what Robert Rodriguez chooses to show in the Machete series.

Character actors, by their nature, are designed to convey a wealth of information sheerly through their appearance. Because of this, Trejo will never want for work (he has 15 film roles in 2013 alone), but it'd be great to see him explored further than skin deep.

Oh, and fuck Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen.

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