Though David found "Machete Kills" frightfully boring, I think it's highly entertaining, morbidly so. Neither of us saw "Machete" --- but no matter --- this franchise is not dependent on seeing one film to appreciate the next. Director Robert Rodriguez sets up a sequel at the end of "Machete Kills", but according to him, that's never  a given.

Rodriguez was intrigued by the idea of a 'Mex-ploitation' movie when he came up with the character of Machete played by Danny Trejo while both were working on "Desperado", one of my favorites by Rodriguez. Machete is an ex-Federale agent, and this time around he is lured into action by the gun-toting, cigarette-smoking President of the United States (Carlos Estevez/Charlie Sheen, yes, one and the same) to stop a revolutionary madman, Mendez (Demian Bichir) and a Bond-type crackpot named Voz (Mel Gibson), who wants to blow up mother Earth.

"Machete Kills" boasts a cast of thousands --- well, maybe not that many, but a lot. Sofia Vergara is over-the-top fun as Madame Desdemona, a brothel owner and a crack shot with a whip and a metal bra machine gun. Then there's the luscious Amber Heard, Miss San Antonio, who doubles as Machete's government handler. Michelle Rodriguez' character Luz from "Machete" is around again --- and she is quite the sidekick for Trejo.

Perhaps Rodriguez' most interesting development in "Machete Kills" is the role of El Camaleon, played by Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lady Gaga, Walt Goggins and, my personal favorite, Antonio Banderas, who has done six films with Rodriguez. It's a terrific shtick, especially with Lady Gaga running around in a wolf coat with tangerine hair.

All of this is in good fun, albeit bloody good fun. But this is Rodriguez, so if you don't like outrageous lopping off of heads and splitting of torsos, then don't see "Machete Kills". If you are a fan, then this is the movie for you.

Opinion: Mild See It Now!




If you're a fan of Robert Rodriguez movies, you'll probably welcome this sequel to "Machete" which was released three years ago. Rodriguez' most frequent actor collaborator is Danny Trejo, the 69-year-old who has now appeared in nine Rodriguez films, and who is the title character in the "Machete" series. Eschewing traditional weaponry like assault rifles, Machete prefers --- you guessed it --- a machete, the better to decapitate his adversaries rather than just shoot them dead.

Machete is an ex-Federale of Mexico, and now he's been hired by U.S. President Rathcock (Charlie Sheen, billed here under his real name of Carlos Estevez) to defeat a terrorist arms dealer named Luther Voz (Mel Gibson). If that sounds ridiculous, consider that more heads roll in this film than "8 Heads in a Duffle Bag". Actually, Sheen, er, I mean Estevez, is rather a hoot in this role.

And if you think Quentin Tarantino deals in buckets of blood, Rodriguez trumps that in "Machete Kills". Actually, Tarantino and Rodriguez are close friends, so no surprise there.

"Machete Kills" is entertaining, to a point, with its outrageous violence, beautiful actresses and name stars that populate Rodriguez movies. Household names that have frequented his films include Antonio Banderas (one of Jeanne's all-time favorites) and Jessica Alba, who reprises her role from "Machete".

Hollywood producers love Rodriguez since his movies have grossed about one billion dollars worldwide, with only "Grindhouse" failing to turn a profit. In fact, his first film, "El Mariachi", was budgeted at only $7000 but managed to gross two million dollars.

The film is interrupted part way with an old-fashioned trailer for a fake promo of "Machete Kills Again --- In Space". It's amusing and thinking-outside-the-box originality. However, the bludgeoning can only go so far, and after the first hour, I'm thinking enough already. But again, Rodriguez devotees can't get enough, so who am I to criticize?

Opinion: Wait for DVD