Sometimes, films contain some of the worst screenwriting and directorial decisions possible. Machete Kills is one of those films. However, it may be best not to judge this film too harshly. After all, it exists solely as a sequel to a film that was made as a joke—the first Machete was directed only after its fake trailer was released in the Grindhouse film duo by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. However, the first Machete was satirical and gorily fantastic, earning cult classic status. It is highly unfortunate that following such an excellent predecessor, the only way to truly enjoy Machete Kills is with the lowest possible expectations.
Machete Kills starts making wrong decisions less than one minute in. The film begins and we automatically realize the grimy, old grindhouse effect is nonexistent, as it will disappointingly stay for the remainder of the film. This is one original effect expected by Rodriguez fans—after 3 similar films—and it is entirely dismissed.
Once we look past the lack of grindhouse effect, we experience some of the most atrociously cheesy dialog to ever enter our eardrums. This is not an exaggeration. Sure, the dialog was pretty terrible in the first film, but we forgave it due to its satire, originality, and total lack of seriousness. Machete Kills, on the contrary, takes itself much too seriously. It involves our main, bloodthirsty protagonist attempting to take down a psychopath who has a missile aimed straight at the U.S. There is an overflow of gore and celebrity cameos to glance at during the process. Overall, the film’s cringe-worthy dialog and ridiculous plot slaughter the film as much as our protagonist does with his machetes.
These aspects may be dismissed to Machete or Rodriguez first-timers, who can gleam at the star-studded silver screen that is focal on pop culture icons like Lady Gaga, Mel Gibson, and Charlie Sheen, who plays “the motherf**ing President of the United States!” First-timers can also laugh (or scream in horror) at the psychotically overdramatized gore, filled with bodily dismemberment, human decapitations, and the non-stop spilling of human innards, post-Machete attack.
Yes, this film is ridiculous. It is exploitative, racist, vulgar and utterly brainless. However, for Robert Rodriguez fans with low expectations such as myself, it is gore galore. Fanboys (or fangirls) will squeal with emphatic excitement at the film’s brash vulgarity, filled to the brim with constant bloodshed and sexual innuendos. It would be a blatant lie if I said I
didn’t laugh or clap during certain segments. However, as mildly enjoyable as Machete Kills can be, the film is simply too huge of a disappointment following its far-better predecessor.