The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Monday, January 26, 2015
Machete Kills (2013)
This is one I've been meaning to do for a while, and on some levels wished I'd seen in the theater, because I enjoyed Machete so much. Alas, I often don't get to the theater at all for any movies, so why would this film be an exception. When I mentioned it to Jamie, her response was a little tepid, and I found out after it was because many people didn't like this at all. I had no idea there was this kind of vitriol targeted at the film-- I guess I've been living under a rock for too long. Two guys that haven't been living under a rock and who have also looked at this are Fred from Full Moon Reviews and Mitch from The Video Vacuum, so you can go there and see what they both thought. They're both great friends of the blog and former guests on the podcast.
Machete Kills picks up where the first one left off. Jessica Alba is killed, which leaves our eponymous hero, played again by Danny Trejo, upset and ready to take it out on some people. Our President, played by Charlie Sheen (Estevez), allows Mr. Trejo that chance, by having him take out a Mexican separatist who has a nuclear bomb aimed at the White House. But things aren't as they seem-- as they never are-- and Mel Gibson is involved, which makes things worse.
I really enjoyed this movie, as did Jamie. I'm not sure why this was so vituperated against then; I don't know if it was the inclusion of Lady Gaga as an assassin, or Sophia Vergara as a screaming woman, or maybe the fact that Robert Rodriguez stuck it to the fan boys by distorting the image when Amber Heard had her love scene with Trejo, thus preventing them from seeing anything good. For me, this was a great action-fest with all the fun of the previous one. Maybe that's it, people were like "I've seen this before" or, "I liked it better when it was called Machete." Either way, it worked for us.
Let's start with Mr. Trejo. He gets this part and gets what he's supposed to do with it. That's why it works so well. He never overdoes it, yet he's never not believable. We've done over 20 Trejo films here at the DTVC, and the vast majority of them are him playing small parts or even just one scene cameos-- the best small part of which by far is when he gave Jean-Claude Van Damme a foot massage in Desert Heat-- but when he gets a good look at the lead with a good story and a lot of fun action, he nails it, which is great to see.
I wanted to go next to Mr. Sheen aka Mr. Estevez, as he takes on the role his father once held so well in The West Wing. Again, he gets what's required of him here and he plays the part perfectly. I was trying to think, of all the Presidents we've seen here, who is the best. We have Jerry Springer in the Dolph film The Defender. We also had DTVC Hall of Famer Rutger Hauer in the film Scorcher. One thing that's great about both of those is that neither man was born in the US. I think Sheen should go right in there with them as some of the best we've seen here at the DTVC. Also, special mention needs to go to the late Roy Scheider, who has played the president here a couple times, including another Dolph film, The Peacekeeper.
This film is rife with cameos and guest spots. Of course, we had Michelle Rodriguez reprising her role from the first one, which was great to see. Amber Heard, who we have seen here before in And Soon the Darkness. Antonio Banderas was also here, and we've seen him before in The Big Bang. Finally, from last week's film The Frozen Ground, we had Vanessa Hudgens, an actress I thought we'd never see here who's been great in both films. A lot of DTVC alums. One who wasn't an alum, and someone who had the distinction of being the most problematic member of the cast, was Mel Gibson as the baddie. It was a weird thing, because on the one hand I'm seeing everything we loved about him as one of the top leading men in the 80s and 90s, and part of me was enjoying that; but on the other hand, it's just Mel Gibson with all his anti-Semitic grossness on full display, and the problem with him being a baddie is he gets to retain that grossness, which doesn't help. I guess I'm torn on which way to go on that.
For my third picture on the post I had a lot of places I could go. With only three pictures on the main review page per post and the others relegated to the image page; and a film like this with so many names, it's hard to narrow it down. We knew Trejo would be one; and then I liked the idea of doing a paragraph on Presidents in DTVC films, so that was 2; but for three, it could have been anyone. I decided to go with Cuba Gooding Jr., because this is a guy we've been seeing here at the DTVC for some time getting after it in the DTV world because he can't get the parts he wants in Hollywood anymore despite being an Oscar winning actor. It would have been a crime to not recognize him here. The crime might have been that he had such a small part, as I would have liked to have seen him do more; but overall it was good to see him in this flick.
So that wraps things up. This is a yes for Jamie and me. Fun, all the action of the original, and a slew of cameos. Sign me up for number three-- just not in the theater, I'll wait till it's on Netflix Instant. You can always check Jamie and I out live every Wednesday from 8-9 EDT at www.mixlr.com/2nd-unit, and can download the podcasts after on the archive page here on the site; or on iTunes, just type in DTVC Podcast and subscribe.
For the Machete Kills episode, right click here and select "Save link as".
For more information: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2002718/