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Movie review: 'Machete Kills' strikes with equal doses of humor, menace

Published October 11, 2013 1:18 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

From the opening moments of "Machete Kills" — a preview of the apparently inevitable third installment, "Machete Kills Again … in Space" — director Robert Rodriguez informs us how seriously we should take this exploitation homage: not at all.

Danny Trejo returns as Machete, the blade-slinging Mexican ex-Federale, and this time he's on a mission from the president (Charlie Sheen, billed here as Carlos Estevez) to kill a crazed Mexican revolutionary (Demian Bichir) who has acquired a rogue nuke. Machete learns that killing the guy will set off the missile and that the real villain is an American defense contractor (Mel Gibson) with a global-domination plan worthy of a James Bond villain.

Machete also encounters an undercover beauty queen (Amber Heard), a bordello madam (Sofia Vergara) with guns in her bra, and a disguise-loving mercenary played serially by Walton Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lady Gaga (really).

Rodriguez — who appears in the opening credits six times (director, producer, co-editor, cinematographer, and sharing music and story credit) — serves up fake-looking decapitations and in-joke humor in equal doses as Trejo's menacing Machete grimaces his way through over-the-top fight scenes. Fans of logic and plausibility are advised to seek them elsewhere.

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'Machete Kills'

Opens Friday, Oct. 11, at theaters everywhere; rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, language and some sexual content; 107 minutes.