Dir: Robert Rodriguez, Ethan Maniquis, 2010
It’s rather sad, that Britain didn’t get to experience a real “grindhouse” show.
Not blessed with drive-in theatres and over restrictive censorship, Britain missed out on what would, undoubtedly, be a wonderful and unforgettable time.
Grindhouses were cheap, low quality cinemas that showed no budget exploitation films, from reels that had been passed down from cinema to cinema. The extensive use of these reels, caused them to become fragile and heavily scratched. It wasn’t uncommon for entire reels to be missing. Cinemas were grinding the films out, thereby earning the name “grindhouses”. Drive-in theatres, inevitably, ended up at the last of the chain and many of the reels they received were unwatchable. For the price of a single ticket, you would often find the movies being shown as double bills.
In between the features, there would be trailers for upcoming “attractions”. Like the movies, they were terrible and exploitative, with sex and violence being the selling point.
But, the poor state the films found themselves in, added a joy to the ridiculous and over the top goings on that was being shown.
Walking encyclopedia Quentin Tarantino and best mate, Robert Rodriguez, decided to create their own “grindhouse” movie. Death Proof and Planet Terror were the two back to back movies shown under the title Grindhouse. In an attempt to make the showing as realistic as possible, the two directors got theur director friends involved to write and direct fake trailers. One of these trailers (by Rodriguez himself) was a sexy action film called Machete.
The trailer garnered much attention, and it’s star, Danny Trejo, was eager to make the trailer a reality.
In 2010, Machete was unleashed to the world and it was well worth waiting for.
As is the norm for exploitation films, the plot is very slight and, to be fair, not really that important. What we’re looking at, is the style and entertainment.
Deliberately scratched and jumpy, Machete certainly looks the part of a grindhouse feature. Excessively violent and gory, limbs are sliced are sliced off and heads blown to smithereens, all with tongue in cheek. (Machete uses a guys intestines as an abseiling rope, at one point).
The film is bursting with guns, guts and girls. In true exploitation style, sexy lasses and buxom beauties are used at any point in the film to make it interesting.
Jessica Alba is insanely hot, as are The Avellan twins; dressed in nurses uniforms and toting machine guns.
Honestly! What more could you ask for?
Steven Seagal isn’t too bad, in this. His lack of acting skills go rather well with the B-movie feel, that the directors were going for.
Everything about Machete is perfect. Rodriguez and Maniquis have crafted memorable characters, with some kick-ass lines. Cheech Marin as a padre, pointing a shotgun at a defenceless thug and uttering; “God has mercy. I don’t!”, and then blowing the bloke’s face apart.
This film is mad. It’s crazy, bonkers and brilliant. Exactly what an action movie should be and easily on a par with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Commando.
Go and see it, preferably as a double bill with Hobo With A Shotgun.
And don’t forget; Machete don’t text.