Combustible Celluloid
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With: Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Demian Bichir, Amber Heard, Michelle Rodriguez, Sof’a Vergara, Charlie Sheen (as Carlos Estevez), Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Walton Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa Vega, Marko Zaror, Tom Savini, William Sadler, Jessica Alba
Written by: Kyle Ward, based on a story by Robert Rodriguez, Marcel Rodriguez
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence throughout, language and some sexual content
Running Time: 107
Date: 10/11/2013

Machete Kills (2013)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Making the Blade

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

As with the El Mariachi and the Spy Kids movies, a Robert Rodriguez sequel has once again fallen short of its predecessor. Machete was arguably Rodriguez's best movie, and now Machete Kills, while still passable, comes nowhere close. It doesn't really push the envelope; instead of taking gleeful joy in breaking the rules, this one only bends the rules, and doesn't seem too excited about it.

After their earlier adventures, Machete (Danny Trejo) and Sartana (Jessica Alba) have teamed up to take on drug cartels, when tragedy strikes. Seeking vengeance, Machete instead gets a call from the President of the United States (Charlie Sheen, credited under his birth name, Carlos Estevez). He is given new mission: find a madman (Demian Bichir) hiding in Mexico and stop him from starting a war with a rogue missile. He meets with a secret agent (Amber Heard) and is on his way. Unfortunately, after much fighting and chasing, Machete learns that there's an even more sinister presence higher on up the ladder. And, worse, he may be connected to Sartana's death.

Perhaps the trouble is that Rodriguez seems more invested in making the audience care about its stoic hero. Or perhaps he is relying more on silly gimmicks, such as Sofia Vergara's machine gun bra, or casting four well-known actors as the disguises of a mysterious bounty hunter known as "El Chameleon." The movie is overall less funny and less sexy than the original, although, in the lead role, Danny Trejo is just as cool as ever, and there's at least one great moment involving a man's intestines and the blades of a helicopter.

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