2010’s Machete was a surprise hit because it knew what type of film it was and had a solid balance between campy comedy and over-the-top action. With Machete Kills, Robert Rodriguez once again brings Danny Trejo’s Machete character back to the big screen, only this time the charm seems to have warn off.
When a movie sports Charlie Sheen (credited onscreen as as Carlos Estevez) as the President of The United Sates, you know exactly what you are in for. After a tragedy leaves Machete broken hearted and left for dead with corrupt police, his life is spared through the orders of President Rathcock (Carlos Estevez). The President spared his life because he needs Machete on a super dangerous and secret mission. He asks Machete to stop an arms dealer named Marcos Mendez (Demián Bichir), who is planning on launching weapons into space, and who is crazy enough to send them towards the United States. If he does so, then all of Machetes past crimes will be forgotten, and he will get U.S. citizenship.
Machete meets up with his handler, Bianca Vasquez (Amber Heard), who just happens to be a beauty pageant competitor undercover. From there things don’t go quite as planned. He’s almost killed by Madame Desdemona (Sofía Vergara) a psychopathic brother owner who has a armored bra loaded with a machine gun. Between that they’re chased by a headhunter named El Chameleón, whose oddly played by four actors Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lady GaGa, Antonio Banderas and Walton Goggins. This never worked for me.
Throughout most of the movie Machete is stuck side by side with Mendez, who suffers from multiple personalities, and is threatens to send the missile in 24 hours time. The kicker is, he’s attached the launch device to his own heart, so if he dies, so does everyone else. This forces Machete to search for the device’s creator so he can put and end to it. But of course, the creator is also an egotistical corrupt person named Luther Voz, played by Mel Gibson. Of course.
From here, if the movie had any standing at all, it really becomes a loose cannon. His big plan is to rebuild society in space, and his factory is armed with all kinds of cool sci-fi guns and gear, some of which are Star Wars inspired. I guess these days they figured it would be fairly easy for Gibson to play a bad guy here, but it just never quite worked for me, like much of the film.
Where the first film succeeded, Machete Kills just falls flat on its face. We get minor cameo appearances from the cast of the first film (Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Tom Savini) but that’s not quite enough to bring us back. It just doesn’t have the same life or energy as the first film, and just misses the mark completely. It felt like a totally different movie. It’s never quite as hilarious or campy as its predecessor, and it left me wanting a lot more. Based on the fake trailer that started the film, there’s potential here for a third film, which could feature something like Justin Bieber as a robot named Bleep, and Leonardo DiCaprio as “The Man in the Silver Mask.” After this film, I don’t know if they should bother, but if they can get the formula right again, then sure, why not?