Never has a film had more of a hill to climb than this and at the same time existed in it’s own realm of perfection than Machete Kills.
With the first film I found myself completely and utterly disappointed and I feel it was from a place of lost expectations. A film, based on a joke that was initially meant only to be that encapsulated by a (roughly) two minute trailer, where they decided to do that very narrative promised in the trailer felt like the epitomy of the “all the best parts were in the trailer” complaint that many film fans love to lob at these big dumb films. However, far away from that production process, starting anew Machete Kills has it’s own slew of dumb action gags that are ripe for joyous film lovers to dig deep into.
With the film beginning with it’s own new promised third iteration trailer — IN SPACE!!!! — the film leads in with more than enough to set the tone that we can’t wait to gorge in on.
Now when I talk about movies like Machete, people can’t quite get their heads around it. We’re talking about a film which involves one character played by a revolving door of actors that changes each scene, has a guy being killed by a helicopter and spear gun combination and let’s throw in some brothel humour including murdering guns in the position and shape of erogenous areas of the human body. This film is and tries nothing else than to be lovingly insane and it’s audience, not you Oscar gripping dramatic sap, will love it even more than Rodriguez ever imagined we would.
It would be a poor choice for me not to discuss the idea of diminishing returns, which is what films like this are. I’ve already explained — I love this movie — but at the same time films like this, and I’d throw the first Machete into this category, have a sense of “diminishing returns” as it runs on. These films play on such a specific genre gag of filmmaking and film lovers that as time wears on it can feel as if you’ve had your fun and can become “full” to the point of needing to take a breath before diving into more, or sometimes wanting to call it quits. Machete Kills does have that to an extent, as it relates to the precluding trailer and where the film takes itself towards the end, but I’d argue that the pacing and general vibe of the film never oversteps its own vision. With the first film it felt too constricted by it’s own joke that was the initial trailer — which the film stuck to — but here it’s free to manage it’s crazed story on it’s own terms and go in directions we haven’t been thinking about for years before it’s release.
If Shaft is black culture’s answer to James Bond, Black Dynamite is modern ironic subculture’s answer to Shaft; then Machete is Rodriguez‘s answer to all of the above with cutlass’ and Lady Gaga somewhere in the middle of it all.