The predecessor to this film, Machete, was in every possible way odd but brilliant. Essentially an expensive joke, it was a feature length film spun out from a fake trailer of the same name. It revelled in the inherent silliness of its genre, providing a extremely entertaining throw back to exploitation cinema.
The sequel unfortunately is just not as good. The story certainly matches the first film in terms of ridiculousness, Danny Trejo returns a machete and is recruited by the president of the United States to kill a drug lord-turned-revolutionary who is threatening the USA with a missile attack if they do not invade Mexico and get rid of the drug cartels. As time goes on he is pulled into a conspiracy involving a USA arms dealer who has built a space ark for a new human race and is abducting Mexicans for slave labour, among other things… no really, this is the film’s story.
Despite this ludicrous story the film starts to drag an hour in. The film feels like it squandered too many opportunities, especially towards the end. The one redeeming note is the superb execution of the action sequences.This is particularly noteworthy with celebrity casting; both Antonio Banderas and Lady Gaga do barely anything, except perhaps give the movie the chance to scream “LOOK WHO IT IS!”. That being said, Mel Gibson is great as the arms dealer, apparently channelling Ayn Rand via Darth Vader.
How much you enjoy Machete Kills will be based on how much you yearn for grind house cinema. If you want a forty minute schlock-filled silly blast, then enjoy. Just don’t have your expectations set much higher.