If you liked Robert Rodriguez’s original 2010 Machete, chances are you’ll have a good time with this one. (If you sit through Romeo & Juliet first, it’s easy to mistake Machete Kills for genius.) This round Machete (Danny Trejo) is saved from being hanged by redneck sheriff William Sadler when a call comes. The call is from the president (Charlie Sheen, billed under his rightful name Carlos Estevez) who needs Machete to foil the plot of a mad Mexican named Mendez (Demian Bichir in the film’s most interesting performance) who threatens to fire a nuclear missile on D.C. Machete gives in only because it gets him a pardon and U.S. citizenship. Naturally, this is a lot more complicated than it seems on the surface — not in the least because no one knows where Mendez is and everyone, it appears, wants Machete dead. It’s the usual drill. What follows is hardly surprising in terms of plot. That’s not what you go to a movie like this for. You’re there — if you’re there at all — to see Rodriguez’s outrageous touches and flourishes, to see if intestines will come into play in a splattery colorful manner again (they will), to bask in the butch silliness of the Machete character. This is a movie where Walt Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lady Gaga, and Antonio Banderas all play the same character (you’ll have to see it to find out how). It’s a movie where a surprisingly good-humored Mel Gibson plays an evil mastermind, like someone out of a James Bond picture, bent on a screwy world destruction scheme (all the while keeping a beating heart tied to a missile launch in a glass container). What makes it work is how good-natured it all is and how smoothly it slides from one bizarre point to the next. It’s what you might call typical Rodriguez, complete with a phony (maybe?) trailer for the follow-up film, Machete Kills Again…in Space.
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