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Machete

Year: 2010
Production Co: Overnight Films
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Producer: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Robert Rodriguez/Ethan Maniquis
Cast: Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jeff Fahey, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan, Steven Seagal, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Daryl Sabara, Tom Savini

Of all the fake trailers in Grindhouse, this felt the most like the director behind it had an idea of the movie it would be if it actually got made for real, so Rodriguez has made something that can stand shoulder to shoulder with Death Proof or Planet Terror for style and knowledge of the era it's homaging/satirising.

As the original trailer said, he (Machete – Danny Trejo in the role he was born to play) knows the score. A former Mexican cop who watched his family die at the hands of drug lord Torrez (Seagal), we meet him again a few years later, an itinerant around the Texas/Mexico border with revenge in his heart.

He gets his chance when a shady businessman (Fahey) offers him an offer he can't refuse – assassinate a race-baiting Senator (De Niro) for a truckload of cash. But there's a double cross behind the hit, and Machete will have to rally everything from the peasants who become his troops to his chopper-mounted middy gun we remember from the trailer when it turns out not only the businessman and the senator but Machete's old enemy Torrez is involved.

Throw in a hot immigration agent (Alba), a hot Mexican worker's revolutionary (Rodriguez) and the hot drug fiend daughter of the businessman (Lohan – now there's a stretch) and it's a melting pot of video nasty tropes, all rendered as lovingly with the dodgy staging and film scratches that Rodriguez and Tarantino bought to Grindhouse.

However, like those old movies it's referencing (purposefully), it's actually so terrible it gets a little dull. If you aren't a fan of this sort of thing you won't get much out of the outrageous violence and discombobulated plotting here either. For a more successful example of what Rodriguez was trying to do, watch Black Dynamite.

Much more fun is the casting, with a whole hatful of names with past glory wheeled out to give the characters some really good dimension.

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