Machete Kills
See there’s homage to the cheesy elements of the B movie, and then there’s making an actual B movie. Robert Rodriguez likes to toe this line. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much. Much like how the spoof comedy genre doesn’t have much margin for error (it needs to be completely firing on all cylinders or else it will suck) so goes Rodriguez’s style of filmmaking. When he’s working elements of the exploitation film, having a go at the style without sacrificing the content, his movies hit. When he goes all-in, poking fun at every piece of the genre without much filter, well you get a movie that looks like this one. Basically, it looks horrible and not in a “ha ha horrible” kind of way.

The first Machete (72%) movie worked because the flick knew what it wanted it to be and honed that message to a fine point. It employed the “stars” who probably knew their image had turned and “exploited” that situation to make the movie a “Who’s the joke really on?”-affair. It worked the overly bloody angle, much like Rodriguez’s friend Tarantino, to point out the absurdity of the gore without making it an paralyzing focal point. Basically, it walked the line between what it wanted to be and who (or what) it was poking fun at.

But this latest appears to go overboard in every conceivable way, from the players to the outfits to the dialogue to the action. Even from the trailer, it appears Rodriguez looked to throw every piece of B movie history against the wall, didn’t bother to see what would stick and just sent the thing out to theaters. The actors (Charlie Sheen as President, Mel Gibson as evil villain, to name just a couple) seem so overdone that they don’t seem complementary (or funny) but just miscast and awkward. Even Danny Trejo, so perfect in the original, looks out-of-place and in over his head as the franchise gets away from him. What a shame.

Critics back up this sentiment as the flick sits at 22% through about ten reviews. And these were folks who understood the conceit, liked the first film and wanted to see the sequel continue the critique of the genre. They hated it. Like I said before, this is a fine line and Rodriguez isn’t straddling it here. He just went out and made an actual B movie. The Rotten Watch for Machete Kills is 19%

Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?

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