Cant seem to write a good review for toffee, at the mo. So, while i stare at the huge backlog of films awaiting a response, lets see if I can get something on a page
EL MARIACHI is a belter of a no-budget flick. It was remade as the (pretty damn good still) DESPERADO and prompted a series of films by director Robert Rodriguez that gave the audience a hell of a lot of bang for their buck. PLANET TERROR really surprised me as it was the first time that I didn’t feel the quality (ironic or not) didn’t match the budget/expectations and MACHETE sadly follows that pattern, for me.
Expanded from the GRINDHOUSE trailer, we have Danny Trejo as a one-man army who bounces between various interested parties, just trying to live a good clean wholesome (porn music) life. Thrown in the mix we have slumming actors Robert DeNiro (laziest i have ever seen him) Steven Segal (there is a reason he doesnt headline films any more) Don Johnson (dull and wasted) and Lyndsay Lohan (minor role and you just wonder how lower she can drop) who do their best to torpeado the film into unwatchable. What saves it are some of the other, often minor, performances where actors have really shown to step up. Jessica Alba (happy to play a grittier role) Jeff Fahey (works each scene to death) Michelle Rodriguez (very strong and smoking hot) and Cheeck Marin who just lifts you the moment he shows up.
But Adam, Rodriguez didn’t direct the whole film! Nope, the guy helmed scenes with the lead cast (leaving the rest to Ethan Maniquis) and yet the poor performaces appear at every level of the cast list. The story, B-movie as it should be, hits it’s strides when those performers believe in it’s scope, rewarding the freedom they are all clearly given. DeNiro and Segal in particular, remind of Richard Prior in the third SUPERMAN flick, underperforming because they are simply relaying the lines from the page, while the directors wish for ad-libing goes wanting.
There is silliness aplenty, with gore and effects peppering every available moment. Comedic sex scenes (calm down young lads, nothing really for you) and an ending that feels very much like ONCE APON A TIME IN MEXICO. . . which was done better, there. Yes, I know this is meant to be a classic exploitation flick, but there is a reason that those films retain a fanbase, because they have a certain style and charm, misplaced or not. This somehow looses this, diluted down in aspirations to cover all bases.
Go get MARIACHI on dvd, if you want a cheap movie that rocks your world. This is a mexi-can’t for me.