“Machete” Looks Like THE Labor Day Weekend Movie Winner
Why do I predict this? Because Machete will bring in guys and also Latinos. And Latinos are like black folks when we hear about a good flick about us: they support it. My mother can still talk about the moment La Bamba was unleashed on the Chicano-Latino community in East San Jose, and how all she could hear from car radios and from young people, and from posters from King and Story Roads was Ritchie Valens, Ritchie Valens, Ritchie Valens.
And boy, there’s a lot of testosterone in this flick.
On top of Robert Rodriguez’s usual suspects like lead Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin, there’s Steven Seagal, Robert DeNiro, Don Johnson, and Jeff Fahey. The women are, of course, are integral, petite, smart, and eye candy, and they include Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez and in a cameo–of all people–Lindsay Lohan. These are some chicks with guns, and in leather, one of Quentin Tarentino’s fantasies. Rodriguez and Tarentino have sometimes collaborated on stuff like this. But I digress.
This is Danny Trejo’s first lead role (he’s also alleged to be Robert Rodriguez’s cousin, although Rodriguez did not know this until the pair made Desperado together). I mean, yall have seen him in other Rodriguez vehicles. I mean, who could forget those teeth, those tats, and those knives in Desperado? I also liked him in the Spy Kids franchise. There, as Uncle Machete (not the same as this one) he was softer, gentler, realer, even though it was a kid fantasy flick.
Trejo’s been a character actor since 1985, when he was accidentally discovered by another participant–someone in the film business–in a 12-step program. Formerly, Trejo had been running around on the streets of Pacoima, drug-addicted, and in and out of jail. The friend brought him to the set of Runaway Train, where he became an extra.
The screenwriter of the film, Edward Bunker, who had served time in San Quentin along with Trejo, gave him another break. Earlier Trejo had found that he had talent as a boxer, and had considered entering the professional game. He had boxed in San Quentin. Bunker asked Trejo to train Eric Roberts for a scene, and director Andrei Konchalovsky was so impressed with this work that he offered Trejo a more prominent role.
After that, it’s been steadily onward and upward. He usually plays thugs or low-lifes but once in a while, as with Spy Kids and recently in Desperate Housewives, he’s been playing good guys. For all of his menace in films, in real life, Trejo is mellow. He’s also 66 years old, married, with four grown/nearly grown children. He’s also humble; he cannot believe his good fortune. He thinks that he’s going to wake up from this “dream” one day in time to rejoin the breakfast line in San Quentin. Trejo is booked up for roles until 2012.
There is a documentary film about his life called Champion, which was released in 2005. Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Steve Buscemi and Antonio Banderas are among the people interviewed. It’s receiving more interest now that Machete is being released. See if Redbox, Netflix, or Blockbuster has it.
Trejo has also been a voice actor for video games, a tattoo artist, and has a online hiphop teeshirt outlet, ITN Clothing. Some great designs there.
Briefly, this is what the plot might be like. From Wiki:
The story revolves around Machete (Danny Trejo), a former “Mexican Federale” turned renegade. After a shakedown with a druglord (Steven Seagal), Machete roams Texas looking to do yard work in exchange for money. Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey), a local businessman and spin doctor, explains to Machete that the corrupt Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro) is sending hundreds of illegal immigrants out of the country. In order to stop this, Booth offers Machete $150,000 to kill McLaughlin. Machete accepts the murder contract. As Machete attempts to assassinate McLaughlin during a rally, he is double-crossed and one of Booth’s henchmen shoots him. It is revealed that Booth orchestrated the entire attempted assassination as part of a false flag operation to gain public support for McLaughlin’s harsh anti-immigration laws. By setting up Machete as the patsy, the conspirators make it appear that an outlaw illegal Mexican immigrant has tried to assassinate the senator.
That’s all I am going to say. Don’t quote this, but it will set you up for the action. I’m sure one of these days I am going to see Machete, and I’ll probably cover my eyes at some of the action (yes, some of that violence is too gratuitous at first glance), but I will enjoy it.
I think Danny Trejo would be thoroughly believable as a Latino superhero, no matter how weather-beaten and pock-marked he is. Every one of the lines and crevices in his face, he earned.