Say what you will about junky genre pictures with leaps in logic, ultraviolence and one impossible thing after another— such movies harness cinema’s dream-logic qualities better than most well meaning indie movies.
That said, don’t go to iconic Austin director Robert Rodriguez’s "Machete Kills" expecting deep thoughts on anything.
Shot in 29 days and starring the always awesome-to-watch Danny Trejo as the titular ex-Federale and "enemy of the cartels," the second movie in the series (which sprang from a fake trailer that director Rodriguez cut for his movie "Grindhouse") follows the man with the giant knife on a mission on behalf of the American government. After a rough ambush, Machete is saved from lynching down South by a timely phone call from U.S. President Rathcock (Carlos Estevez), who needs the man who "IS Mexico," as Rathcock puts it, to stop a madman with a bomb. Things explode, heads are removed and mayhem ensues generally. Its overall cartoonishness makes the previous "Machete" film look stolid by comparison.
Look for Amber Heard as Miss San Antonio, Machete’s government handler (AS IT WERE), Sofía Vergara as a deadly brothel Madame (is there any other kind?) and canny cameos by Cuba Gooding, Jr, Walt Goggins and Lady Gaga. And yes, that is "Spy Kids" star Alexa Vega as one of the hookers. (She is 25 now.)
Also, a guy in a business suit and a Mexican wrestling mask shoots a laser gun, so you can check that off your "must somdeday see" list.
The madman is Mexican superstar Demian Bichir, best known to American audiences as the Mexican detective in the FX program "The Bridge," and he nearly walks away with the movie.
Revolutionary and man of the people sometimes, violent lunatic sometimes, spy now and then, Bichir’s the over-the-toppiest thing in a movie that can barely see the top from its altitude.
Oh, and Mel Gibson is the big bad guy and no, given his politics, none of his dialogue seems that bonkers.
The other standout is Chilean martial artist Marko Zaror as the heavy (think Jaws in a James Bond movie). Zaror is over six feet tall but moves like a much smaller man. His combat scenes are genuinely eye-popping.
Robert, Trejo is fantastic and all, but can we have a movie with just Bichir and Zaror?
What is most fun about "Machete Kills" is its sense of itself. It is the most comic booky movie you will see this year, far more so than the superhero fare that takes its own plotting entirely too seriously. Much like comic books were from the 1940s to, say, "Watchmen," you never know exactly what will happen next. All you know is that it will be cheap, fast and out of control. And a machine gun bra might be involved.