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'Machete Kills' lame, filled with bad acting

Oct. 18, 2013 @ 06:20 PM

Director Robert Rodriquez ("Once Upon a Time in Mexico," the "Spy Kids" movies, "Sin City"), returns to the thrilling world of "Machete," with a sequel called "Machete Kills." In the original, Rodriquez used his quirky Tarantino styled absurdist tilt on a film looking to entertain us with wit and slapstick comedy.

In this movie, we are force-fed a concoction of garbage, bad acting and lame scriptwriting.

Danny Trejo ("Heat," "From Dusk Till Dawn," "Sons of Anarchy") returns as the hard case ex-federal agent, Machete, a modern Sergio Leone-esque character who stands alone against the Bad.

He is his usual stoic, straight-faced self, a tough Buster Keaton, with the body of an over-aged weightlifter. He does his thing in near-perfect pitch, even as those around him seem to have lost their way.

Michelle Rodriguez ("Avatar," the "Fast and the Furious" franchise, "Lost") also returns as his sidekick, Luz, filling in after a brief glimpse of Machete's old partner, Sartana, played by Jessica Alba. Apparently Alba only likes to show up for an acting gig, grace everyone with her good looks, and then go home. But at least she is honest about it, and doesn't pretend to act throughout the rest of the movie.

Unlike the rest of the co-stars.

A perfect example is Mel Gibson ("Lethal Weapon" films, "We Were Soldiers," "Braveheart") as Voz, the maniacal madman in the film. Gibson, instead of trying to show his fans that he is a sane human being, seems to be relishing in his infamy of being Charlie Sheen Weird.

Coincidentally, actor Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men," "Platoon," "Wall Street"), appears in this film, also; as The President, no less. You know it's a pretty crazy movie when Sheen is supposed to be the reasonable one.

The stunningly gorgeous Amber Heard ("Drive Angry," "Varsity Blues," "The Playboy Club") plays a secret agent known as Miss San Antonio. With a combination of High Maintenance attitude and High Octane good looks, she steals every scene she appears in, even with hour glass beauties like Lady Gaga, Sophia Vergara, Alexa Vega and Vanessa Hudgens bouncing through the movie.

Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lady Gaga, Sophia Vergara, Walt Goggins and many other second tier players find their way into this mishmash of a movie.

While Rodriguez might have envisioned this movie as a modern day version of the madhouse 1963 film, "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," his grindhouse film is no madhouse. And I knew "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"...

I was expecting a wild and crazy ride when I entered the theater to see the sequel to the corny "Machete" from a few years earlier. What I got was a completely indecipherable mix of comedy, spoof, speed and violence evidently aimed at an audience of Rob Zombie 5-year-olds.

It was as though everyone involved was a giant psychiatric experiment, where all involved were fed more and more hallucinogens just to find everyone's breaking point.

No one who sees this movie can look you in the eye and tell you it was a good movie. When you end any movie with a teaser for the next one, by spoofing the Muppets "Pigs in Space," you know that's a bad sign.

This movie will even disappoint the most ardent Rodriguez fans, although they will realize that the master of mayhem will rebound with more serious Grindhouse fun in the future.

Also, a note from Putnam County's No. 1 theater, Teays Valley Cinemas. They now have a special deal on Tuesdays, all regular movies are $6 ($9 for 3-D), all day long. Take note, movie lovers.

Billy Summers is a freelance photographer who also reviews films for the Putnam Herald. He can be reached at summers855@yahoo.com.



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