Robert Rodriguez's spin-off sequel is not funny enough to be a comedy, not weighty enough to be a real B-movie thriller
Charlie Sheen, cheerfully slumming it under the names of Carlos Estevez, snarls the phrase ‘Machete Kills’ early on in Robert Rodriguez’s action pastiche, handily denoting the one-note character trait of the taciturn Mexican hero; he kills. And kill and kill again Machete (Danny Trejo) does, in the same manner of inventive ways he did in 2010’s Machete.
As a sequel to a spin-off from a trailer in a film hardly anybody saw (Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s nostalgia-fest Grindhouse), expectations were hardly high for Machete Kills, but there are a few deadpan laughs amongst the cartoon gore. Machete is immediately annoyed by the death of his girlfriend (Jessica Alba), and unwillingly accepts a mission from the President (Sheen) to track down and eliminate megalomaniac Mendez (Demian Bichir). Mendez not only has split personalities, but also a bomb attached to his heart that will explode if his heart stops beating. Machete and Mendez make the journey across Mexico to confront to architect of this dastardly device, Voz (Mel Gibson), a high-tech billionaire planning to destroy the earth and populate space, with only Machete standing in his way.
The original Machete trailer nailed down a fantastical notion on what a late seventies/early eighties Mex-ploitation film should be like, and the feature-length expansion was considerably less entertaining. This sequel suffers from the same lugubrious plotting and inconsistent tone, never managing to top the Machete Kills Again…In Space! trailer that prefaces the action. Amusing cameos from everyone from Walton Goggins to Lady Gaga and Tom Savini brighten things, and Machete Kills never quite runs out of steam, but it never hits the heights either; not funny enough to be a comedy, not weighty enough to be a real B-movie thriller, Machete Kills falls short of the same kind of guilty pleasure the Grindhouse double feature engendered.
General release from Fri 11 Oct.