Movie Review – Machete

Machete is a Roberto Rodriguez movie about illegal immigration and revenge.

This finely styled salute to 1970s B action flicks earns an enthusiastic 8.

I must say right up front that I left the theater with a big smile.

The genesis of this movie was as a mock trailer between Planet Terror (Rodriguez) and Death Proof (Tarantino) in Grindhouse. And boy, am I glad that they made it into a full length film!

To top it off, I saw it in Cinemark XD – that is extreme digital, which means a massive floor to ceiling and wall to wall screen much like IMAX with surround sound and in digital. WOW!!! Totally worth the $12 ticket. Screw driving down to Columbus for IMAX – this is almost as good for less money and no 250 mile round trip.

As you saw in the trailer, Machete is hired to assassinate an anti-immigration Texas state senator by an evil businessman, who betrays Machete by having him shot in the act of trying to shoot the politician. The rest of the movie is revenge and bloodshed. It’s actually a compelling plot and flows along nicely.

Machete is played by the wonderful Danny Trejo. Mr. Trejo has graced us with his presence in From Dusk Till Dawn and The Devil’s Rejects (sequel to House of 1,000 Corpse – Rob Zombie, both awesome flicks) as well as two billion movies. Seriously. Take a look at his bio on He has appeared on The X Files, Monk, Desperate Housewives, Stargate Atlantis, Burn Notice and The Young and the Restless. He is one large, ugly, mean looking Mexican dude. He fits the role well and offers a strong, relentless presence throughout the movie. He is very credible as a former Mexican federale who has been done wrong. And he is a stud.

But wait, there’s more! Don Johnson is the evil lawman, who is a little too enthusiastic in his border patrols. He runs a vigilante operation. Robert De Niro is the state senator; he is perfect in this sleazy, self-righteous role. Steven Seagal is the evil drug lord, Torrez. He is getting a bit old and puffy and adds a bit of humor. Cheech Marin is a priest, of course… Lindsay Lohan is the drug and sex addled daughter of the evil businessman. That role must have been quite a stretch for her. Jessica Alba is the honest Customs & Immigration officer. Her mixed martial arts using two stiletto high heels as stilettos was quite entertaining. Of course, Electra and Elise Avellan appeared as two nurses. These hot twins cannot act but they pout well and look great toting around big automatic weapons. They also appeared in Rodriguez’s Planet Terror as the gun toting babysitter twins. Michelle Rodriguez (no relation to Robert) appears as Luz, a taco stand operator who happens to run the illegal immigrant version of the underground railroad. You have seen her in Avatar, Fast & Furious, Resident Evil and Girlfight. Last but not least is Jeff Fahey as the evil businessman. He has a deep, whispery voice that makes his evil ooze out of the screen and into your ears.

Is that a great cast or what? They all did a great job.

In the final analysis, this movie replicates the rocking, action flicks of the 1970s that no one remembers. De Niro probably won’t get an oscar for this one, but the movie is very fun and very entertaining. The action is almost cartoonish at times, but is done intentionally that way, which is very, very fun.

Movie Review – Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 is an excellent sequel to an outstanding movie.

This action-packed romp earns an 8.

Robert Downey Jr. continues his success playing the ego-driven, narcissistic hero, Tony Stark. “I am Iron Man.” He loves the adulation (and chicks) that comes with his new public role. He also faces personal issues as the side-effects of being Iron Man develop. It is a tough balance for an actor to portray, and Downey does a solid job bringing Tony Stark believably to life.

The rest of the cast put in a good performance, too, but are eclipsed by Downey. I didn’t recognize Garry Shandling as Senator Stern, who seeks to get the Iron Man technology for the government. His face is now quite flabby. Gwyneth Paltrow returns as Pepper Potts, Stark’s personal assistant and voice of reason. Scarlett Johansson is introduced as a sexy and intriguing employee from the legal department of Stark Industries. She is fun to watch. Don Cheadle continues his role as Lt. Col. Rhodes, another voice of reason and balance to Tony Stark. He isn’t particularly compelling, but I don’t think he could do much more with the lines and role that he was given. Sam Rockwell is excellent as the sleazy, unethical and spiteful CEO Justin Hammer of weapons company Hammer Industries, the primary competitor to Stark Industries for military contracts. Ah, Mickey Rourke. What a beautiful man… He does a durably decent job as villain Ivan Vanko. We are given enough background for him to be believable, but he does pull off some unlikely things as any super-villain does in these stories. It’s not a problem. He is more human and with more straightforward and believable motivations than many villains. He is a good choice for the role. And what movie would be complete without Samuel L. Jackson? He expands his role as Nick Fury of the Avengers project.

The plot makes sense. It takes the next logical steps that would naturally evolve from the first movie. The government takes a national security interest in Iron Man and Ivan Vanko rears his ugly (literally) head. It provides plenty of palatable action and excitement. That is all of the plot that I shall provide to avoid spoilers (and additional work by me).

Don’t forget to stay for the teaser scene at the end of the credits (like a certain me did).