Phil's Recent Reviews
The film famously spawned from one of the fake parody trailers that was seen in the Tarantino and Rodriguez movie 'Grindhouse'. Personally I'm still up for the movie of 'Werewolf Women of the SS' which looked much better, you never know, they've done a movie for all the others I believe. As I'm sure you're all aware this film has been deliberately shot in that old grungy 70's B-movie exploitation style which continues from its trailer parody roots.
The films visuals are purposely scratchy faded marked and at times slightly glitchy to match those of the heyday of grindhouse/exploitation crapola. Now myself I don't really like this era of film and the way it looked, the films beginning credits sequence being a brightly coloured badly composed montage of film stills accompanied by some seriously retro text font and cheesy action music. The whole thing reminded me of my childhood days and those hammy American cop shows like 'Chips' or 'Starsky and Hutch' (take your pick from many). Of course this film is much much more hokey than those shows and is influenced by films before my time but I still shudder at the thought of it, I do remember some darn hokey stuff I can tell you (1977 Spider-Man movie).
So being a crummy sleazy grindhouse action flick you can guess the plot isn't gonna tax your brain. Well you would think that but its actually quite relatable to current affairs both in the UK, Europe and the US. I refer to the various immigration issues flying about these days which has grown stronger over the last few years, especially right now in the US where there are US citizens actively protesting in Texas against immigrants coming in from Central America. Obviously I'm not suggesting that any of the corruption, wall building and assassination attempts seen in the film are happening but the the films basic plot is eerily familiar.
As for the film its exactly what you'd expect and more of what we saw in the parody trailer. Danny Trejo has a big machete and various guns, his mission is to get revenge on the corrupt suit that set him up on an assassination attempt against a corrupt Senator who is tough on immigration. The reason being they want it to look like an illegal Mexican tried to kill the Senator for his tough stance on immigration, thusly giving their cause a boost with the public and the excuse to build a big wall across the Texan border.
Along the way Machete meets up with a few characters that help him. Cheech Marin is a Padre with a mean trigger finger, Michelle Rodriguez (who is cast in the same role every time) plays the tough Latino bitch who also has a mean trigger finger, Alba is a US Customs and Immigration officer with a mean trigger finger and Lindsay Lohan pops up too...with a mean trigger finger. On the baddie side is Savini as a hitman with a mean trigger finger, Don Johnson as a sadistic redneck vigilante border patrol leader and of course Seagal as the big boss who is a dab hand with a katana.
Honesty the plot is highly convoluted (I've confused myself writing this!) and only serves to stuff as many big names in as possible, its like a Mexican/Latino Expendables. I can't really moan about that though as you know right from the outset the film is purposely ludicrous and outrageous. The same can obviously be said for all the action and violence, I found that it gets more absurd as the film gets towards the finale. At first it felt quite gritty and semi realistic to a degree, you know its a parody but you can run with it. But towards the end everything gets way out of hand with awful looking CGI action, explosions and blood everywhere, terrible death acting by the extras, crazy situations, Michelle Rodriguez getting shot in the eye and surviving and the hokiest death scene ever by Seagal. Honesty it actually looked like a something from a blooper reel! funny but..really?
There are some clever moments of parody admittedly. I liked the baddie henchmen who discuss their jobs and what they think of their boss, the fact that one of them is starting to think that the boss is actually a bad guy and whether they are in the right line of work. Plus the fact they actually have injuries from the last fight they had with Machete, they chat about them, then in the end two of them quit before getting killed, finally realising its not worth it.
Its very hard to review really as I know its all deliberate, its been made to look bad and cheesy, hokey acting and silly 'A-Team-esque' scenarios. On one hand I can kinda deal with that but on the other...its just shit! and it gets worse as the film progresses. Its a shame as the film is fun and more of an adult action flick for the most part with blood guts and tits on display. Unfortunately your suspension of disbelief is crushed towards the end, it goes beyond a mockery and morphs into a childish James Bond type of picture. I did quite like the final end credits and voice that announces Machete will return in 'Machete Kills' and 'Machete Kills Again'...nicely retro, nicely done.
Or known as 'John Carpenter's Vampires' if you wish. This film starts off really well with Woods and his vampire slaying team cooking up some vamps in their own unique way. They find em, harpoon em and drag them out into the sunlight via a winch on a truck. What I really liked about the film was this cool vamp slaying team, there were a few well known faces in there, character actors that really made a unique cool looking unit. Its such a shame that they all get wiped out early on.
This leaves Woods and Baldwin galloping up diarrhea drive without a saddle. It also seems to diminish the film before its even started, but wait! all is not lost. Woods character is a solid hard ass, he looks unashamedly cool with his black leather coat, blue jeans and shades, he's got a mouth on him, a wicked name and knows his way around most weaponry, in short he's an older 'Snake Plissken' with a short back n sides.
The plot is simple enough, its Woods vs vampires, good enough for ya?. When I say vampires I mean just one badass head vampire (who looks suspiciously like the head nutter from 'Ghosts of Mars') and a lot of faceless stake fodder. Its all about Woods really, yeah he has the typical wet sidekick pushed on him, a newbie priest to look after, and there's Baldwin but to be honest they don't figure. You wanna see Woods swearing and kicking vampire ass.
When I first heard of this I didn't think too much of it, after 'Escape From LA' most were in shock and this really didn't sound very inspiring. But this does turn out to be a pretty decent western vampire flick along the lines of 'From Dusk Till Dawn'. There is plenty of blood and gore with some nice body part effects, obviously violence is high, nice visuals and your obligatory cowboy-like musical score.
Not your obvious Carpenter flick as it does seem more glossy than most, still looks a bit 'made for TV' here and there but generally its a tad more Hollywood. Doesn't add much new to the vampire lore either, only the way they harpoon vamps and certain weapons have a face lift of sorts. All your usual types of deaths, leaping around, decapitations, vampire POV, bone snapping sound effects etc...are present and correct.
Better than you would expect but mainly down to Woods, without him who knows. Its cheesy and not quite up to the standards of other more original quirky Carpenter films but it certainly holds its own amongst other vampire films. It does always amuse me though how all the characters know regular bullets don't have any effect on vampires, yet they continually empty clips into them as if it will do any good hehe.
'Can I ask ya somethin, Padre? When I was kickin your ass back there...you get a little wood?'
Phil's Favorite Movies
The predator is the greatest alien created, Stan Winston is a genius, the best 80's, adrenaline, testosterone, muscle filled action man flick ever with one of the best character actor line ups since 'Con Air' plus the effects still look better than most modern films today! The Austrian Oaks best flick for me by far and possibly my all time favourite film. 'I ain't got time to bleed'.
Another Stan Winston creation with Cameron direction, genius. State of the badass art! this film rocks on every level, the only downer for me is the fact that you never really saw hords of aliens, some would say its more powerful that way but I think it would have been more tense and savage. Its still the perfect film with the perfect ensemble cast, amazing tension, fantastic hands on effects, realistic working sci-fi, dark, gritty...hell I don't even really need to go on about it, awesometastic sequel!