The key to the original “Machete” – for me, at least – was that it was the first instance in a long while of a Robert Rodriguez movie actually being about something beyond the surface-level faux-grindhouse jokefest. I have no idea what Rodriguez politics are and thus no idea how strongly he “really” feels about the U.S. immigration debate; but whether authentic or just part of the winking 70s-exploitation pastiche it was the ferocity with which “Machete” engaged the subject that made it stand out: The wildly-applauding, predominantly Latino audiences at my screening(s) certainly didn’t think it was a joke.
So I wonder if “Machete Kills,” which Rodriguez may or may not have put together partially by having the castmembers of “Sin City 2” put on different costumes for pickups during their greenscreen shoots, is going to keep that going or let Part 1 be “the political one” and just focus on the spectacle of improbable action-lead Danny Trejo hacking up a succession of stunt-cast cameos and Latin-cinema mainstays.
The first full trailer for the film (it’s a Yahoo, sorry) doesn’t let much out in the way of story beyond what we already know: Machete is called in for a mission by the U.S. President (Charlie Sheen, here using his real name “Carlos Estevez” for the first time in a film) involving a supervillain played by Mel Gibson; whose scheme may or may not involve a “Moonraker”-style outer space component. Rodriguez has “joked” in the past that the third film “Machete Kills Again” will be a Space Opera, possibly incorporating leftovers from his scuttled John Carter project.