If all works out well, the preview image that drew you here, was a GIF of Sofia Vegrara doing a never-ending stream of pelvic thrusts. Why would I put such an image as that as the primary image for this review? I mean, one might label such an image as obscene. Frankly speaking, it is a bit obscene. In all honesty, though... the GIF is tame in comparison to some of the insanity that will greet you when you watch "Machete Kills"!
For those that are not familiar, "Machete Kills" is the sequel to the insane 2010 grindhouse-esque romp "Machete" which itself, was based on a spoof trailer that was featured in the movie "Grind House" which was, in fact, two movies; "Planet Terror" and "Death Proof". That is to say, this movie is a joke, that fed on itself, and grew larger and larger as it went.
The first movie was fun. Insanely so. I will, on occasion, watch "Machete", "Planet Terror" and "Hobo With a Shotgun" back to back to just languish in a series of movies that never strive to be anything more than campy good times. These are movies that know they are stupid, and rather than hiding that fact behind a pretentious facade of pseudo-seriousness, they celebrate that stupidity. They know they are bad, and that...that is what makes them good.
I can hear you asking, "But Frank, how can a bad movie, be good?"
This is not a question simply answered, and perhaps will be the topic of an editorial later on down the line. Right now, we are left with a much simpler question. Did "Machete Kills" manage to cross over from bad to good, or did it instead fall short of that goal, and remain just simply bad?
OK, admittedly, when I phrase it that way, this is a much harder question.
"Machete Kills" is a movie that harbors no hope for being considered an artsy flick. It is unabashedly over-the-top. It simmers in a nice stew of exploitation, misogyny, and violence. It never once takes itself seriously, and in fact seems to go out of its way to make itself seem even more outlandish then it has any right to be.
This outlandishness was part of the charm of the first film. In the second film, it is still charming, but not quite as endearing as the first.
The first felt like a child of a different era. Sex and violence met hand in hand and had a bastard live child, that they named Machete. This film removes the sex, and instead goes straight for added violence. This is not to say that there is fewer over-sexed portrayals of women. One could argue this movie actually has more. Hell, there is even a scene or two that take place in a bordello. Unfortunately, in the first film the sex seemed to be an organic outgrowth of the exploitation-y feel of the movie, this time it feels like it is tacked on to appease the fans.
That is not to say that the fun is not still present. There are scenes in there that I found myself laughing hysterically at. There are scenes that play out almost like "Saturday Night Live" spoofs, making fun of the antics of Charlie Sheen...er... I mean "Carlos Estavez". And much like an SNL sketch, some of these moments work, and others fall flat.
All in all, I think this movie offers up enough fun to at least join my collection of Neo-Grind House flicks, even if it doesn't ever reach the lofty heights that the first one did.
RECOMMENDATION: If the mainstays of your movie-watching diet are sex and violence, this movie will be right up your alley. This is most definitely not a movie for kids, though. While the nudity is nonexistent, or at least so minimal that it went unnoticed, the blood and violence are just as insane as the first film.
IS IT THEATER WORTHY?: The big question... And the answer is a definite maybe. The film plays out like it could make a great triple header matinee, and with a packed theater, such a thing could be something akin to a midnight "Rocky Horror Picture Show". In it's base form, however, this movie plays well enough on the big screen, but would do just as good on the home theater.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Yeah, the movie is pretty bad. But you know what, that was what made it so much fun. Not once did I have to dig for deeper meaning. Not once did my brain really have to process what was happening. And not once, did I have to question why Sofia Vegrara had a strap-on revolver that was apparently fired by pelvic thrusts. Thus, my grade below does not reflect, necessarily the QUALITY of the movie, but rather the amount of fun I had watching it.
FINAL SCORE: 7.5 out of 10.