Created by Robert Rodriguez for Danny Trejo, Machete is a leather-faced, ex-Federale turned down-and-dirty hit man turned violent crusader on behalf of his fellow illegal immigrants — a would-be superhero envisioned as a “Mexican Jean-Claude Van Damme or Charles Bronson,” who first appeared in Grindhouse’s trailer for a Machete film that didn’t yet exist.
In the trailer, Machete is hired by slick operative Jeff Fahey to kill an anti-immigration senator, only to be “set up, double-crossed, and left for dead.” Machete the movie stretches the narrative to 105 minutes, filling the extra space with PG-13 suggestions of sex, social satire and star power, and is made with a laziness that’s so overt, it seems to be part of the joke, to the point where certain shots are recycled straight from the fake trailer, including an orgy scene in a pool featuring an uncredited blonde playing the character played by Lindsay Lohan in other scenes.
When Machete isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, it’s deadly boring. The best that can be said is that its makers are self-aware about its superficiality, and even nod to it in an exchange between Alba and Trejo in the final scene. “You can be a real person,” she says. His response: “Why would I want to be a real person, when I’m already a myth?”