Who's In It: Danny Trejo, Robert DeNiro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Shea Whigham, Lindsay Lohan, Daryl Sabara
The Basics: If you saw Grindhouse then you're probably already aware that Machete kills the bad guys and gets the women. But what you learn in this movie is that he also grunts impeccably, decapitates cleanly with his preferred namesake weapon (and with a thoroughly impressive three necks per swipe, so there's some muscle behind it), swings like an acrobat out a window holding onto a bad guy's 60-foot-long intestines and abolishes unjust immigration laws with his motorcycle. What he does not do is try to class it up, which is wise of him. That's Judi Dench's job and she's not in this movie.
What's The Deal: Not to bring up Grindhouse too much, but this film's original fake trailer alongside the Planet Terror/Death Proof double feature, was pretty much the most exhilarating trash experience of that year. And if you wanted to tack this movie on to make it a triple feature, you could, but you'd be a little wrung out by the end and you'd be wishing there'd been a missing reel or maybe just that you'd seen Piranha 3D instead. It's got the right spirit and it's a big, messy, gloppy red bucket of fun, but it falls short of the impact of the Grindhouse punch by this much.
Not For Conservative Anti-Mexican White People In Arizona Or People Who Dislike Major Stabbings: The fleshed-out theme of illegal immigration and the corporate/political exploitation of that issue, dealt with in a gut-level exploitation film style, is kind of brilliant. It's not deep or thoughtful, but it's a funny kneejerk response in a cultural climate when the only funny kneejerk responses you get to see in the media are coming from screaming right wing tea partiers. It's also another entry in what has become a dream-come-true summer for fans of extreme violence and gore. If you watch this, Centurion, Piranha 3D, The Expendables and the arthouse Viking rampage of Valhalla Rising you will probably witness about two thousand people being destroyed in a 10-hour span. That almost makes up for the fact that the release of another Katherine Heigl movie is right around the corner.
The Great Disappearing Lindsay Lohan: She's in this. She's not in the trailer but she's in it. And it appears as though her performance has been cut to a bare-bones minimum. That's too bad because it's a joke performance and, in terms of making her appealing again, those few on-screen moments are pretty funny. Maybe if she gets herself together and that Linda Lovelace biopic turns out alright she'll be back on track again.
Other Good Stuff: Taco truck revolution-maker Michelle Rodriguez all eyepatched and machine-gun-toting; the hot twin babysitters from Planet Terror as hot twin nurses (they're also director Robert Rodriguez's nieces); and what may be my favorite line of dialogue all summer: "Machete don't text."