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Machete Kills


Stars: Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Amber Heard, Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding Jr, Walton Goggins, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa Vega, Charlie Sheen, William Sadler, Jessica Alba

Director: Robert Rodriguez

The first Machete film was a passably entertaining pastiche of late 1960s and early 1970s 007 ripoffs, with lots of killings and silly villains. But this is surely one Machete too many (with another film apparently waiting in the wings). All this lopping off of hands, heads, legs and general evisceration is beginning to look very tired, even in such an extended skit as this. People kill lots of other people for no good reason and after a while the action declines into finding different ways to dispatch fellow human beings.

It's all in fun, of course, but the 'fun' here has a distinctly nasty edge.

Permanently-scowling, diminutive ugly mug Trejo, promoted uneasily from playing minor bad guys, is back as Mexican killing machine Machete Cortez. He's quite a bit shorter than not-too-tall villain Gibson and, at 69, the monosyllabic Trejo, like Charles Bronson before him, is finding trouble convincing us he's an invincible assassin.

Rather more fun is the Oscar-nominated Demian Bichir, as the Mexican munitions king who has a device strapped to his heart that will kill thousands in Washington DC. Alba, the heroine of the first film, has the good sense to get killed off early on, but there are plenty of scantily-clad semi-stars ready to wield big weapons, among them Vega, Vergara, Heard, Rodriguez - playing the same tough cookie she always does - and Hudgens.

Though the film is hardly a blast with its formula action, there is a blast-off into space at the end.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Colour (unspecified).
107 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 06 Oct 2013