A schlock-fest of the first order, “Machete” is a blood-and-guts B-movie from Robert Rodriguez (“Desperado,” “Spy Kids”), with serious immigration issues bubbling beneath the blades, bombs and bullets.
Originally introduced in a trailer in the 2007 Robert Rodriguez-Quentin Tarantino “Grindhouse,” “Machete” is full-length film featuring Danny Trejo as the titular hero. An angry ex-federale, whose mad-dog face perpetually scowls through a frame of long greasy hair and whose be-muscled arms wield his signature big lethal blade. As ugly as he is, Machete is a girl-getting champion, double and triple-crossed by corrupt politicians and vigilante militia and demonic drug lords, all exploiting the Mexican laborers being bounced back and forth across the border or simply shot. A hitman of few words (“Machette don’t text”), our hero has a heart in right place, beside his poor and impoverished people.
The filmmaker’s heart is there, too. Heightening the evil, he has wellknown names in bad guy parts. Robert DeNiro is slimy Texas Senator Mc- Laughlin, running on the ticket to exterminate the Mexican “cockroach” menace. Drug baron Torrez (Steven Seagal) controls the senator’s strings, while militia-vigilante leader Von (Don Johnson) plugs the “lucky” bordercrossers who manage to slip through the electrified fences.
Stars also take on the positive roles. Priest Padre (Cheech Marin) videotapes bad-guy confessions and is crucified for his efforts. Sartana (Jessica Alba) is a conscious-stricken immigration officer on the side of She (Michelle Rodriguez), a taco-vending secret revolutionary. But the most fun comes from none other than Lindsay Lohan, playing to her tabloid fans as April, a machinegun-toting slut in a nun’s habit. While going whole hog for overthe top laughs, Rodriguez is obviously incensed at the real-life slaughter at the border and the recent racist laws sure to enflame it. Can “Machete” make a difference? Only if people realize that this schlock is no joke.