Pin It
Favorite

Class Warrior 

One of the most humanist movies ever to feature such a staggeringly high body count.

click to enlarge art15556.jpg

Remember that crazy funny fake trailer for the fictional 70s Mexploitation flick Machete that preceded the Planet Terror segment of Grindhouse a few years back? Robert Rodriguez whipped up that two-and-a-half-minute bit of ultra-violent fluff and kept whipping, until now it's a two-hour, crazy/funny/violent Mexploitation feature that couldn't be more timely.

Oh yes, there is revolutionary rage in Machete. Here we have former Mexican federale Machete (Danny Trejo), who ran north of the border to escape the wrath of drug lord Torrez (Steven Seagal). Texas is a place where good ol' boy Stillman (Don Johnson), who fancies himself a lieutenant in a vigilante border-protection scheme, and state senate candidate McLaughlin (Robert DeNiro) pick off pregnant Mexican women sneaking into Texas: A body's gots to stop those anchor babies from being born! McLaughlin is running on an “immigrants are cockroaches” platform, but a mysterious white businessman, Booth (Jeff Fahey), needs to ensure that McLaughlin doesn't win, because Texas thrives on illegal labor and that can't change.

Whew. Politicians, businessmen, drug lords: They're all the same greedy slime here. Furtively fighting them are Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), who runs the Network, a sort of Underground Railroad helping illegals set themselves up in the U.S. And there's Sartana (Jessica Alba), an American customs agent who goes over to the other side. And Padr (Cheech Marin), a Catholic priest who's an activist of the old school kind — there's a refreshing nothing-sacred attitude to Machete, which is exactly the kind of eccentricity that this kind of movie demands. And there's Machete, of course, who is hired by Booth to assassinate McLaughlin but finds himself in even deeper hot water than he anticipated.

For all the over-the-top bloodshed (Machete really enjoys using his machete, as you might imagine, though he's not averse to surgical blades, automatic weapons or really anything that will kill racist, power-hungry men in a nasty way), Machete is only half tongue-in-cheek. It's all very much in the spirit of '70s blaxploitation films, fueled by the same anger and the same yearning for fairness and sympathy. It's certainly one of the most humanist movies ever to feature such a staggeringly high body count. Lots of folks will be interested in talking about Lindsay Lohan's mostly naked appearance here as Booth's drug-addicted daughter.

I hope at least some of them will also see the cry for justice.

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Political Power
  • Political Power

    Jessica Chastain is a crafty, badass D.C. lobbyist in Miss Sloane
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Two and a Half Men
  • Two and a Half Men

    Moonlight beautifully examines the intersection of sexuality and masculinity
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Man and Wife
  • Man and Wife

    Simple, non-heroic love changes the world in Loving
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Maryann Johanson

  • Political Power
  • Political Power

    Jessica Chastain is a crafty, badass D.C. lobbyist in Miss Sloane
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Big Themes
  • Big Themes

    Disney's Moana is the empowering and fascinating tale we need right now
    • Nov 23, 2016
  • Weird Science
  • Weird Science

    Doctor Strange features a whole lot of CGI but lacks in story
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Wanna Rock?

    A slew of '80s glam favorites come to Wreck The Halls of Spokane Arena
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Big Themes

    Disney's Moana is the empowering and fascinating tale we need right now
    • Nov 23, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Film


Review


Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Desert Rage
  • Desert Rage

    Mad Max: Fury Road will restore your faith in action movies
    • May 13, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation