Machete Kills is better than the first

Machete kills

If not only the ladies are gaga a lot

Sergio Leone once said that by the time Clint Eastwood spotted him starring in his For a Fistful of Dollars trilogy, he could only use two facial expressions: "hat and hat". Something similar could be said of Robert Rodriguez's distant relative, Danny Trejo. Only in contrast to Eastwood, Trejo does not wear a hat ... Trejo had to be over 60 years old before he got his first leading role in Rodriguez's exploitation flick Machete (2010). Machete was originally just a fake trailer that was part of the GRINDHOUSE double features (Death Proof and Planet Terror) by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriquez. But it was precisely this little trailer with its brute madness that was probably the best thing about the entire Grindhouse project.

In any case, the general response was so great that, three years after Grindhouse, Rodriquez was actually able to post the machete feature film that was not yet specifically planned at the time the trailer was made. The nice lively opening credits of Machete made the exploitation heart jump higher. But then the rest of the film fizzled out like a misfired China firecracker. It wasn't just the low budget that was evident in the film. The constant introduction of caustic social criticism regarding the situation of illegal Mexican immigrants in the USA also slowed down the rather tough action. Machete was nice, but not really good either. Nevertheless, Rodriguez announced with unbroken optimism at the end of the film two more parts with Machete Kills and Machete Kills Again. In fact, Machete became the director's most commercially successful film to date and that's why the second part, Machete Kills, is now being released.

Instead of an opening credits, Machete Kills begins with another fake trailer for the third part, which is still in the stars. It's no longer simply called Machete Kills Again, but even Machete Kills Again - In Space! More must and should not be revealed at this point. In any case, starting with such a trailer gives the impression that Rodriquez really turns up in Machete Kills. This time the film not only starts at a rapid pace, but can even increase its pace as well as the gag and gaga density right up to the end. Rodriguez really turned all the creative screws in his brain this time and also gave himself a candy-colored mental pacifier. The otherworldly result is absolutely hair-raising and a clear case for the taste police. In other words, this is a pop exploitation film the way it should be! The table of contents already mutates into a chronicle of raging madness:

Machete's girlfriend Sartana (Jessica Alba) has just been murdered in the drug war when the ex-Federal agent has already received his next highly explosive assignment: The President of the USA (Charlie Sheen) himself sends him on a hellish mission: Machete is supposed to kill the insane Mexican cartel boss Stop Mendez (Demián Bichir) from shooting down a nuclear missile on Washington. The problem with this: Mendez connected the detonator of the bomb to his own heart in such a way that the explosive device detonates immediately when the heart stops beating. The matter is not made any better by the fact that only one person can defuse this bomb: the rich man like psychopathic arms dealer Luther Voz (Mel Gibson). Machetes have exactly 24 hours to complete this insane mission. Should it fail, the global outbreak of anarchy threatens ...

Machete Kills is a non-stop fireworks display of the particularly undemanding kind. But as one uses to say in English: “The movie aims low and hits the mark!” In other words: This time Rodriguez largely refrains from trying to upgrade the film with politically correct messages and instead wallows completely unabashedly in the absolute dregs of film art. Severed limbs fly, the CGI blood splatters in rivers, instead of realistic women there are only sharp babes who prefer to shoot around with weapons integrated into their bra and, in case of doubt, completely emancipated with a penis shooter from the hip. The film also features two villains who seem to have sprung from a James Bond film from the 1960s. But back then no one would have come up with ideas like the heart detonator - and what happens to it later. In Machete Kills, Rodriguez permanently puts the absurd crown on even the boldest idea.

The climax of the creative-trashy pop madness is reached when the unstoppable killer "El Camelón" appears. This changes again and again by pulling his face like a rubber cap from the neck up over the head. In doing so, he by no means only changes its appearance subtly - after all, this is a film in which the word "subtle" shines through its complete absence - but alternately changes from black to white and from man to woman and back again. So it happens that this one character is alternately portrayed by mimes as diverse as Walt Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lady Gaga and Antonio Banderas. Machete Kills therefore not only say goodbye to any appearance of seriousness in favor of completely unchecked exploitation. In the end, the film is no longer just an exploitation.

It is very fitting that the eccentric entertainer Lady Gaga makes her screen debut in this film of all places. Because the native New Yorker is not only known as a chameleon-like quick-change artist, but also likes to play with the world of BDSM and fetish in her outfits. However, Lady Gaga herself says that what she shows on stage and in her videos does not correspond to the world she got to know herself in corresponding New York clubs. What she presents is not a pure fetish, but a pop version of fetish. Likewise, Robert Rodriguez is not presenting an old-style grindhouse cinema, but a pop version of exploitation. Therefore, the allegations that he is not selling “the real thing” just as much as the allegations that his films are just childish. Both are true, but more a question of taste than a qualitative statement. And, as I said, taste is simply an inappropriate category in connection with this director's films. You like it or you don't like it. But if you like it, then Machete Kills is really good!

Gregor Torinus