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Machete Kills (2013)

Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 1/21/2014

All Ratings out of




Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/25/2014

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez has certainly had an interesting career. His first film, El Mariachi, was basically a large-scale home-movie which he financed by subjecting himself to medical research. From there, Rodriguez built a career where he was splitting his time between action films (Sin City) and family films (Spy Kids). He used his success to build his own movie studio in Austin, Texas, where he shoots and scores films, and also creates his own special effects. Thus, Rodriguez can pretty much make any movie that he wants. But, when Machete Kills is the result, it must be asked why we have to watch them.

As Machete Kills opens, Mexican agent Machete (Danny Trejo) is on a mission with his partner, Sartana (Jessica Alba), when they are ambushed and she is killed. Machete is then called in to see the President of the United States (Carlos Estevez), who asks him to visit Mexico and stop a terrorist named Mendez (Demian Bichir). After stopping to visit his handler, Miss San Antonio (Amber Heard), Machete tracks down Mendez and finds him to be a madman who has multiple personalities. Mendez has missiles aimed at the U.S. and won't relinquish the detonator. As Machete attempts to stop Mendez, he makes his way back to America, where he learns that a much bigger plot is at hand and he will need the help of some old friends in order to save the world.

The Machete character first appeared in a fake trailer in the 2007 film Grindhouse, part of which was directed by Rodriguez. Therefore, it was kind of funny when it was announced that Rodriguez and Trejo were going to feature the character in an actual feature film which would be released into theaters. While this may seem frivolous to some, this is the sort of whimsy which has become a rarity in the entertainment industry, and it was clear that Rodriguez was out to have fun. And, he must have persuaded others that it would be fun, as actors liked Robert De Nire signed on. However, Machete was a disappointment -- a bloated film which couldn't decide on a tone.

Therefore, Rodriguez has really worn out his welcome with Machete Kills and the joke is long since over. Once again, Rodriguez has assembled a surprising cast -- Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Sofia Vergara, and Lady Gaga -- and he presents us with a ton of over-the-top action and gore. In fact, Machete Kills is one of those movies which rarely slows down and there is always something happening. The problem is that none of it the least bit engaging. Machete is a one-note character whose schtick was played-out in the first movie. I can only assume that the script is meant as a spoof of other spy movies, but it simply plays as derivative of every classic James Bond movie (especially Moonraker.) In addition, I guess that we are we supposed to be amused by the fact that Modern Family star Vergara talks dirty throughout the movie. Trust me, this isn't funny.

As noted above, Rodriguez has made movies for children in the past, and Machete Kills feels like it is aimed directly at 12-year old boys. The movie brings us guns, blood and push-up bras, but the senseless cacophony is never fun. The truly irritating thing is that it's obvious that Rodriguez and his cohorts had a blast while making the movie. However, that joy never makes its way off of the screen. It literally took me five attempts to finish the movie, as I kept falling asleep while watching it. The sad thing is that Rodriguez could be spending his time actually using his talents to make a good movie. Despite its relatively low-budget, Machete Kills was a flop, so let's hope that this is the last we've seen of this character.

Machete Kills bludgeons the audience by offering a trailer to a 3rd film on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 33 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear. The opening features the fake aging which we saw in Grindhouse, complete with film scratches and grain. The rest of the movie looks good, as the grain is kept to a minimum and there are no defects from the source material. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good, as we can see every line in Trejo's face and the depth is adequate. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are well done, as they show good separation. We get some detailed surround sound effects, as individual sounds come from the rear speakers. The subwoofer action is notable, as we can feel every gunshot and explosion.

The Machete Kills contains a surprisingly small amount of extras for a Robert Rodriguez movie. The Disc contains eight DELETED AND EXTENDED SCENES which run about 20 minutes. Most of these fall into the latter category, as we get wholesale scenes from the film with only a few seconds of new footage. There are three different versions of the same scene, and one scene features incomplete special effects. "Making Machete Kills" (20 minutes) takes us on-set and behind-the-scenes to see the film being made. Rodriguez tells us how the project came about and what his goals were for this sequel. We then hear from the cast who talk about how they became involved and what life was like on the set, and their views on Danny Trejo. Rodriguez then shares his passion for putting Latin actors in his films.

Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long