Over the Labor Day weekend, the new Robert Rodriguez B-movie illegal immigration satire, Machete, reached the #3 spot on the box office charts in the U.S. The film, dubbed as a 70's era "Mexploitation" flick, carries a very deliberate pro Latino stance as the topic of illegal immigration continues to stay in the headlines.
If you're familiar with some of Rodriguez' ouevre ("Desperado" and "From Dusk 'Til Dawn" are two of his better known films) you're aware that that there's always going to be a lot of bloodshed involved, and hopefully the other elements (such as its edgy humor) make it at least entertaining, and not too dumb.
The plot in Machete goes something like this: 66-year-old actor Danny Trejo (who actually served time in prison in real life in the 1970's) is a supreme bad ass and former Federale named Machete who is now an illegal immigrant working in Texas as a day laborer when he is approached by a smooth talking businessman named Booth (played by Jeff Fahey, who is usually seen in straight to video thrillers). Booth offers $150,000 to Machete to kill a racist Texas state Senator, John McLaughlin (played by Robert DeNiro). Senator McLaughlin as played by DeNiro is walking parody of many politicians in America in 2010 who seemingly can't go far enough in trying to show their bona fides to the voters on how tough they are on illegal immigration. In one scene, McLaughlin guns down an illegal immigrant woman who's pregnant; but a would be Minuteman with him played by Don Johnson praises the senator, since that's one less anchor baby to worry about.
We'll refrain from offering any other plot details, allowing them to unfold in front of you if you opt to see Machete. Needless to say, many heads literally roll, and the machete is used in all types of creative ways to bring down the bad guys.
As far as the production goes, I thought the first half of the film was a hoot, but the energy seriously fades in the second half, before leading into its predictable violent denouement.