Blu-ray Review “Machete Kills”

Starring: Danny Trejo, Alexa Vega, Mel Gibson, Amber Heard, Sofía Vergara, Charlie Sheen
Directors: Robert Rodriguez
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Running Time: 109 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When I saw the faux trailer for Robert Rodriguez’s Machete in “Grindhouse”, I thought that would make an awesome and fun as hell movie. Well that came true with “Machete” was released in 2010. It was  good but not perfect. “Machete Kills” is a sharp follow up. It is a little more out-there, so to say, but I actually enjoyed it more than the first. The gore is amped up and the comedy is more slapstick. If you are looking for a good laugh and a wild ride then I would definitely recommend checking out “Machete Kills”. I really hope that Rodriguez some how gets to make “Machete Kills Again … IN SPACE!“, because I will be first in line.

Danny Trejo is not only bad-ass, he is beyond bad-ass. The guy is nearly 70 years old and yet he rocks this character like a pro! “Machete Kills” also packs a ridicoulosy insane support cast including Michelle Rodriguez, Mel Gibson, Sofía Vergara, Amber Heard, Charlie Sheen (using his real name of “Carlos Estévez”), Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa Vega and Tom Savini. Some of them play out like cameos but still really fun.

Official Premise: Danny Trejo returns as legendary ex-Federale Machete Cortez in this action- packed thrill ride from innovative director Robert Rodriguez. In his latest mission, Machete is recruited by the U.S. President (Charlie Sheen/Carlos Estevez) to stop a crazed global terrorist (Mel Gibson) from starting a nuclear war. With a bounty on his head, Machete breaks all the rules as he faces death at every turn from an all-star cast of deadly assassins.

Universal’s combo pack release is quite amazing containing a Blu-ray and DVD discs along with a Digital HD UltraViolet copy. The 1080p is quite awesome. The film started as a faux Grindhouse trailer. This film is much more polished but still keeps that Grindhouse feeling. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is equally awesome and really impresses ranging from the non-stop action, gunfire and explosions. In terms of special features though, there is not much here. “Making Machete Kills” is a decent 20 minutes behind-the-scenes look into the production. The only other extras are an additional 20 minutes of Deleted and Extended Scenes but they are nothing special. I would have loved for a crazy commentary track for sure on this crazy film.

Film Review “Machete Kills”

Starring: Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson and introducing Carlos Estevez
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hour 47 mins
Open Road

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s well known that Machete Cortez don’t text. He also doesn’t tweet. Or smoke. But what he does do, better than anyone, is kick ass. And kill. Again.

While attempting to prevent an illegal sale of government weapons Machete (Trejo) is abducted and brought to the White House for a meeting with President Rathcock (Estevez – better known as the artist formerly known as Charlie Sheen). The president asks Machete to return to Mexico and find out where the weapons and drugs are entering our country. In return for his services Machete will find his criminal record erased and be made a U.S. Citizen. What could go wrong?

As someone that worked in the theatre business in the late 70s and early 80s many of my favorite memories involve working the all night weekend shows. Kung Fu. Horror. Sexploitation. We played them all. Some nights we would have 500 screaming patrons, hiding their eyes at the scary scenes, punching the backs of the seats in front of them during the fights and generally having a great time in the dark. “Machete Kills,” like the original “Machete” (and, for that matter, director Rodriguez’ and Quentin Tarantino’s “Grindhouse” double feature) pay homage to that great period of scratched prints, over the top bloodshed and women with machine-gun brassieres!

The story goes like this: once in Mexico Machete is instructed to visit Marcos Mendez (a hilarious turn by the Oscar-nominated Demian Bichir). Mendez has unfortunately developed a split personality. One moment he’s a strong willed crusader fighting for his people and the next a terrorist who has stolen a nuclear missile and pointed it towards Washington D.C. To ensure his plan won’t fail, he has had the trigger mechanism installed in his heart. If his heart stops, the missile fires. Machete also has to deal with a master-of-disguise hitman named the Chameleon and an industrial tycoon (Gibson, in fine form) with plans to fly his own space shuttle. Along the way there is enough action and blood to please even the most hardcore grindhouse fan.

As always, Rodriguez has peppered his cast with familiar faces, including “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara as an over protective mother (and the owner of the aforementioned deadly bra), Amber Heard as Machete’s contact, whose cover is to constantly participate in Texas based beauty pageants and the quartet of Cuba Gooding, Jr, Walter Goggins, Lady Gaga and Antonio Banderas (a Rodriguez veteran) as the Chameleon. Also returning are “Machete” veterans Michelle Rodriguez and Tom Savini, whose first onscreen appearance drew cheers from the screening audience. Whether it’s because his Osiris was a memorable character in the first film or because he is one of the greatest make-up artists of all time, I don’t know. But either way it was applause well deserved. As Machete, Trejo is a straight faced, slow-burning time bomb. You can read his life story in the lines on his face.

Speaking of makeup, Greg Nicotero and his staff at KNB again outdo themselves in the gore department. Behind the camera Rodriguez moves the story along smoothly and Kyle Ward’s screenplay, based on a story by director Rodriguez and his brother, Marcel, keep the one liners coming.

If you’re looking for an in-depth, serious film I suggest you go see “Gravity.” But if you’re looking for a fun time in the dark, head to “Machete Kills.” And when it’s over get in line for “Machete Kills Again —In Space!”


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Danny Trejo talks about “Machete Kills” & “Ranchero”

Danny Trejo has appeared in over 200 acting roles. Most recently Danny appears in the film “Ranchero” which was directed by Richard Kaponas. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Danny about the film as well as his involvement in the upcoming Robert Rodriguez sequel “Machete Kills”.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about your latest film “Ranchero”?
Danny Trejo: That was kind of a labor of love for me. A good friend of mine Rick Gutierrez and I were in prison together. His brother Roger is in this film and he asked if I could do him a favor and read the script. I told him sure but I couldn’t really promise anything. I read the script and thought it was good and they asked if I had any time I could give them. I had about 3 days and told them if they could make it work I would do it. They made everything work and I am really glad I was able to do the film. Acts of love always come out really well.

AL: Can you describe your role in the film?
DT: I am a badass! The director was pretty sharp because he put me in a wheel chair. He showed that you can be a badass sitting down. The character comes across really well. The whole story is about struggle.

AL: With the film being released straight to DVD will it include any bonus material?
DT: Oh yeah. I think there is going to be a few additional scenes included on the disc. I didn’t take part in that portion of things so I can’t be too sure of what all will be on there.

AL: You just wrapped on a film titled “Dead in Tombstone”. Can you tell us anything about that?
DT: The film is a western and it came along awesome. It was directed by Roel Reine who also directed me in “Death Race 2” and “Death Race: Inferno”. I love his mode of direction as it is very similar to Robert Rodriguez. Those guys shoot everything and I love working like that. There isn’t a lot of down time and things are action packed.

AL: You have quite a few projects in the works right now but when you first started in the film business did you ever envision a career like you have now?
DT: No. I am still scared that someone is going to come along and wake me up for chow as I am still in the joint. (Laughs) It’s just unbelievable.

AL: What do you think has been the biggest change in the movie industry since you started?
DT: I think one of the biggest changes in the industry has been Robert Rodriguez. I think he has hit it and really made an impact. He has done both independent and low budget films. He showed that you can come out of high school, put a little bit of money together and make a film. He made it possible for my kid to make a movie if he wanted to.

AL: You have done quite a few films with Robert Rodriguez. How did you first meet?

DT: I had walked into his office to do “Desperado”. He looked at me and told me I reminded him of the bad kids in his high school. I told him I am the bad kids in his high school. From there we just hit it off.

AL: What can we be expecting from the much anticipated Machete sequel “Machete Kills”?
DT: June 14th we start shooting. The film is going to be over the top and bigger than the first film! “Machete Kills” is going to put a new coat of paint on action.

AL: Having played the role of Machete a number of times now; have you been allowed to give any input towards the role?
DT: Robert has always let me give input. In fact the line “Machete don’t text” came about because I was trying to get a hold of Robert before Comic-Con and he wouldn’t answer his phone. When I finally got a hold of him I asked why he would answer my calls. He told me that every time I tried calling him he was either in a meeting or shooting something. He said the best way to get a hold of him was to text him. I told him “Machete don’t text” and he just laughed. When I saw it was in the script I couldn’t believe he remembered it from when there was 20 thousand people around us at Comic-Con. The guy is a genius and remembers everything.