When the credits say “A Robert Rodriguez Film,” it truly is since he not only directs but also edits, writes the script and composes the musical score with his not so subtly named band, Chingon. His style is pure comic book pulp in this outrageously violent yet entertaining film about an ex-Mexican federale (Danny Trejo) out for revenge when his wife is murdered by a drug kingpin (Steven Seagal purposely miscast). Since this flick began as a fake trailer in the Rodriguez-Quentin Tarantino (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS) collaborative salute to ‘70s era B-movies in GRINDHOUSE (2007), how can anyone not regard its over-the-top carnage and outlandish characters as a natural part of the escapist revenge fantasy its meant to be? With his long stringy hair and crater face locked in a perpetual snarl, Trejo (ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO) doesn’t have a whole lot of range and when he’s required to run, he takes on the look of a fire hydrant out for a morning jog. What he does have is a menacing presence that makes him believable as a chronic badass and he’s aided by decent support from Robert DeNiro (TAXI DRIVER), Jeff Fahey (PLANET TERROR) and Cheech Marin (SPY KIDS) as a shotgun-toting priest. Occasionally, the violence becomes overly dark for the material as it does in a crucifixion scene and a sequence in which a pregnant illegal alien is murdered by DeNiro’s immigrant-hating state senator from Texas (whose sentiments are uncomfortably close to a number of redneck Republican state legislators from the Dallas-Tyler-Waco triangle). For the most part, though, I thought the movie was an enjoyable hoot, and I read where Rodriguez promised a sequel “if it makes five dollars.” Well, Robert, I paid my five bucks so give me your promised closing credit sequels MACHETE KILLS and MACHETE KILLS AGAIN. CRITIC’S GRADE: B
CRITIC’S “DRIVE-BY” COMMENTARY: Since when did getting “knocked up” by the local hockey moron qualify one to be a “star” as it apparently did for “Dancing With The Stars” contestant Bristol Palin? Isn’t this the same chick who broke off her relationship with said local hockey moron because he was “obsessed with becoming famous”? I feel sorriest for their kid who’ll have to contend with these parental Bozos as well as an empty-headed grandma who quit her job as an elected official so she could go around the country ripping elected officials. His other grandmother just used to operate a meth lab.