The story of "Machete Kills" follows a blade-wielding secret agent (
In some ways, the worst thing to ever happen to Rodriguez as a filmmaker could be his friendship and affiliation with Tarantino. Where Tarantino takes genre tropes, clichéd characters and sketchy ideas and turns them inside out, upside down and wrings unexpected emotional resonance from what should be unworkable parts, Rodriguez, without Tarantino's ear for dialogue or uncanny sense of structure, is rarely able to spin his stories into something more. So "Machete Kills" winds up a slightly camp, tinny parody of bad action movies, playing out with the same sense of tedium as a genuine bad action movie.
Trejo, a fantastic screen presence, has been better used as a supporting character elsewhere than as a leading man here, as his gruff charms reach their outer limits. The extensive supporting cast of "Machete Kills" all seems a bit confused and left on their own.
Arguably the film's best moment is an end-credits outtake of Michelle Rodriguez and
"Machete Kills." Running time: 1 hour and 47 minutes. R for strong bloody violence throughout, language and some sexual content. In wide release.