Back in 2007, maverick moviemakers Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez collaborated on a project known as Grindhouse: a balls-to-the-wall homage to the absurdly-wonderful exploitation flicks that dominated the drive-ins and inner-city movie theaters (or “grindhouses,” to you laymen) in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The film was without a doubt my favorite moving picture of the year; it took devoted exploitation movie lovers back to a time wherein sleaze audiences were subjected to some of the finest “bad” movies (and some really, really bad ones) ever created. From that moment on, I began to suspect that nothing could ever truly top the onscreen debauchery that Tarantino and Rodriguez had fashioned from their undying love for the lost art of “grindhouse” cinema.
And then, in 2010, Robert Rodriguez succeeded his filmmaking partner, Tarantino, by bringing us Machete — and the world of “grindhouse” cinema once more reared its head to unsuspecting moviegoers. Originally, Machete started out as a joke: a faux trailer for the then-non-existent film appeared as a precursor to Rodriguez’ Grindhouse entry, Planet Terror. Due to soaring popularity of the phony preview, though, the Texan auteur said “What the hell?” and proceeded to turn the fake movie advert into a film of its own.
Reprising his role from the Grindhouse trailer, Danny Trejo — an actor who normally plays heavies — takes the lead as the “good guy” (or anti-hero, as it were) as Machete Cortez, a Mexican laborer in Texas who gets hired by a corrupt State official (Jeff Fahey, who also appeared in the original trailer) to assassinate a very George W-ish senator (Robert DeNiro, proving that there is life after starring alongside of Ben Stiller). The setup is a trap, however — and Machete becomes the fall guy for a Conservative scheme to keep illegal immigrants out of the United States. What the senator and his aide fail to realize, though, is that Machete is an ex-Federale — and that they “just fucked with the wrong Mexican.”