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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Sal WiertellaMarch 1, 2024

‘Machete’ offers mixed arsenal of fun

When “Grindhouse” opened in 2007, I thought it was great fun that paid homage to an otherwise forgotten era.  “Machete,” one of the film’s fake trailers, has now been turned into a feature-length film, and although it delivers on the blood and ludicrous nature, it doesn’t have much going for it.

Immigrant Machete Cortez (Trejo), former member of the Mexican police, attempts to eke out an existence by doing lawn work. When an offer arises to assassinate the ruthless Senator McLaughin (De Niro), Machete takes the job, but soon realizes he was only the fall guy in a much bigger scheme. Machete then takes vengeance on those who have wronged him.

Trejo and his castmates are able to sell their ridiculous performances, despite the addition of Lindsay Lohan. I couldn’t tell if she knew what kind of movie she was in or if she really is a bad actress. De Niro, on the other hand, has fun with his racist portrayal of the senator. Besides, in a movie like “Machete,” the acting doesn’t have to be top notch in order for the film to be enjoyed. In fact, the worse it is, the more fun can be had.

Like “Death Proof” and “Planet Terror” were, “Machete” is printed with self-made scratches and dirt. Unfortunately, this only lasts the first few minutes. The rest of it plays like a movie that was made within the last year, which it was.

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For a movie as action-packed as “Machete” is, it moves slowly from scene to scene. So much, in fact, that I feel the movie could have been shortened for a bit more brevity. It’s within these scenes that I become confused. Some of them actually play it straight while others point to the absurdity of the action taken. There’s even a scene where Jessica Alba cries out, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”

The commentary about the immigration laws Arizona wants to put into effect also comes into mind. “Machete” is too silly to be taken seriously, yet its commentary is too serious to be merely brushed aside.

“Machete” is a step in the right direction for director Robert Rodriguez, who has been flooding the market with his kid-themed films. He’s a great filmmaker  (although I don’t like him as much as Tarantino), and I want to see more movies from him that are thought-provoking and not just entertainment you can take the family to. I would much rather see a violent, adult film from Rodriguez than “Spy Kids 4,” which is rumored to have  been green-lit.

“Machete” was the last trailer from “Grindhouse” that I wanted turned into a feature film, and now I understand why. I just don’t think it’s as creative as the other ones and is quite boring in some places. The only truly funny bit is having Cheech Marin as the priest brother of Machete.

The visual sight gags mixed with seeing Marin as a priest with a stash of guns is great, and the sacrilege of having him use them is even better.

The violence and gore, though, was great and nothing less than what was anticipated. The first five minutes includes extremity chopping that was alone worth the price of admission. Aside from the moments of actual dialogue and driving the plot forward, the violence lasts throughout the entire movie, which is a blessing.

It was exactly what I was expecting, but it could have been a lot worse and a lot better. Now hopefully Eli Roth will make “Thanksgiving” a feature and show what a true grindhouse movie should look like.

Given the opening box office of “Machete,” which opened in second place, it’s likely that we’ll see more of these “Grindhouse” like movies. Hopefully, they’ll be a bit more ridiculous and not as serious as it would like to be.

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