Well, I finally got a chance to watch “Machete!” I was super excited when this came out, but I didn’t make it to the theaters to see it because I was too busy with my new baby. Now, due to the magic of Netflix and my awesome projector, I get to have pretty much the theater experience in my own home, however I still have to wait until the film gets released.
Rodriguez has been playing around with goofy exploitation flicks for a while now. It all started out with his teaming up with Quentin Tarantino to make “Grindhouse” a few years back. The idea for “Grindhouse” was that it would be an exploitation double feature with cheesy graphics, bad acting, excessive sexuality, and even some missing footage from the film (Rodriguez makes a little joke by having the “missing footage” be a sequence in which a characters mysterious past is revealed…on either side of the revelation, the treatment of this character is radically different). Most exploitation flicks also began with a couple trailers for upcoming films, so Rodriguez put together the mock trailer for a film called “Machette,” publich response to the trailer was so good that he decided to pen the entire film.
Man…I just love the way that Rodriguez works. He’s just spontaneous and he creates whole films based purely on momentum. He’s not quite as high-brow as Tarantino (that doesn’t get written very much, but Tarantion is secretly high-brow), but his films are very effective. You have just got to love a filmmaker who financed his first project by donating himself to scientific pharmaceutical experiments (I also think he only rented his first camera…or bought it and returned it or something).
Now, “Machette” makes a lot of noise about not being about anything, but in all reality it’s a pretty strong indictment about America’s bullshit attitude about immigration (specifically the Mexican/American border). There are a couple scenes of rednecks patrolling the border with automatic weapons, taking shots at pregnant women because, “if that baby is born in the US, it’s just as much a citizen as we are.” Although that attitude might seem a little overblown, I’ve honestly met imbecile rednecks who think like that.
Rodriguez probably could have gone about spreading his message by making some snotty documentary that four people would watch and discuss as they drove their smart cars to their jobs at Apple, but what would have been the point of that? Sure, he might have been taken “seriously,” but that doesn’t mean he would actually be influencing anybody.
In this film, he has Jessica Alba standing in high heels on the hood of a car screaming, “we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed US!” And really, that’s the kind of line that could become the motto for a whole movement. If I ever see that printed on a T-Shirt…I’d buy it.
I think if you put all the ridiculous blood and excessive sex aside, the thing you should take from “Machete” is that all population reports indicate Hispanics are going to be the major race of the US in the very near future. It’ll be interesting to see what the critics of that time think of this film. I wouldn’t really expect the blond haired blue eyed dudes who have all the cushy review writing jobs to “get it.” I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.