Machete is a film for people who think the filmography of Rob Cohen is too sophisticated. A pure grindhouse movie in the finest sense of exploitation Machete was originally a spoof-trailer directed by Robert Rodriguez from the movie Grindhouse: Planet Terror & Deathproof.

Rodriguez has become something of a B-movie house director at 20th Century Fox what with producing the recent Predators and now co-directing Machete. Starring Danny Trejo as the blade wielding titular character, Machete is the kind of movie that thinks nothing of having the hero kill an assailant and then stick his hands into the victim’s gut, pull out his intestines (all 30-feet of it?) and use it to repel down a tall building. Machete is an iconic character, and if “Charlie don’t surf” then Machete “don’t text.”

Trejo has some really good support from actors who seem to be either playing off their public persona (Lindsay Lohan) or hamming it up like only a pro can (Robert De Niro). Rodriguez may not be the most polished director but he knows exactly what makes a movie like Machete tick. The subplot involving an underground network of illegal aliens and their operatives was worthy of being spun off into its own B-movie, complete with a pirate-eye patch, gun toting Michelle Rodriguez. Few critics ever give Jessica Alba cred for acting but few actresses could pull off her turn in Machete as a federal agent who first hunts Machete then joins forces with him.

As for the multiple villains and the image they project – think Steven Seagal who here displays an honest sense of the meaning of hari-kari – all I could grasp during parts of Machete was how much better it was playing with the audience than last month’s The Expendables.

— Michael Bergeron