The last Grindhouse flick on the list is the sequel to 'Machete', brought to us once again by Robert Rodriguez, but sadly, with less effort put in. While 'Machete Kills' starts off with a great new fake trailer for 'Machete Kills Again... In Space', the rest of the movie does not quite feel right. The rest of the Grindhouse movies make this extra effort to feel somewhat crappy in old school quality, but this doesn't quite pull that off. This is more like a Grindhouse movie with a budget, and a lot of it is just bringing in names - two of whom people were already quite iffy about back in 2013, and you'll know who when their names get their credits as I go through this.
First I'm going to have to admit that I had a tough time trying to follow it. This is one of those titles you try to keep up with, but then wonder why it matters, as it's supposed to be a Grindhouse movie. So I'll do my best, but if things don't make sense, blame the damn movie. Anyway, it opens with Machete (Danny Trejo) and Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba) from the last movie, teamed up in an attempt to intercept weapons dealers who have ben supplying the Mexican drug cartels. A fight breaks out, and many are killed, but then another team enters the battle, killing Rivera (spoiler alert) and arresting Machete. During the attempted hanging of Machete where he doesn't die, US President, Rathcock (Charlie Sheen - as "Carlos Estevez") intervenes, offering Machete American citizenship if he does a job for him.
The job is to take out Marcos Mendez (Demián Bichir) who is threatening to nuke Washington, DC if America doesn't put an end to the drug cartels in Mexico and government curruption. Machete takes the job which leads him to his handler, Blanca Vasquez (Amber Heard) who leads him to a girl named Cereza (Vanessa Hudgens) who knows how to find Mendez. From here it becomes a bit of a mess as things unfold, and this is where it becomes a bit more action a bit less sensical. Along the way, Machete meets the likes of Cereza's man-hating mother, Madame Desdemona (Sofía Vergara), Medez's associate, Zaror (Marko Zaror), the Chamelion (Walton Goggins/Cuba Gooding Jr./Lady Gaga/Antonio Banderas - guess what this character's talent is) and Zaror's corrupt benefactor, Luther Voz (Mel Gibson). I mean, the names and roles are enough to say "hey, things get a bit confusing" when some of them don't really need to be a part of things.
I did mention that 'Hobo with a Shotgun' might be the lowest of the bunch, but now I have to change that opinion. The charm of 'Hobo' comes with the fact that it's sort of "Grindhouse at its most Grindhousey" - it's a brutal movie full of shock value, and it makes sense that it belongs in that Grindhouse category. With this, it's a solid R, but you almost wonder if they could have gotten away with PG-13 here. As far as Grindhouse goes, this is probably the easiest one to sit through as far as brutality goes. This one relies a lot more on names, and the extreme cheese side of things. There is a bit of fun to it, if you want to just watch it because it's goofy. I mean, to be perfectly fair, there is supposed to be an element of "bad" here, and the film uses bad CG to make a lot of it happen. The problem with that, however, is that CG shouldn't even enter into things for a Grindhouse era movie. Granted, there's modern material through the fil, but so much of the charm of the others is the terrible, low-budget quality taking place before CG could "fix things".
Personally speaking, I would probably consider 'Machete Kills' the throwaway movie of this group of five, and highly recommend the first one far above this one. I think if I had offer up this list as a Top 5, from top to bottom, I'd say 'Planet Terror', 'Machete', 'Death Proof' (with a new appreciation), 'Hobo with a Shotgun' and 'Machete Kills'. That said, opinions are most definitely bound to differ, and it could be that others get more from this one than I did. But one thing to consider is that this is the only one on the list, unanimously disliked on both "tomatometers". So, if you're ever in the mood to do a Grindhouse marathon of any kind, this is the one title you could potentially omit. Again, it doesn't even fully feel right for what it's supposed to be, and despite a few cheesy but fun lines of dialogue as well as moments, this one is the weakest link.
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