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December 2, 2010

Machete, a movie review

Hassan Ibrahim

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If I were to tell you that the movie Machete had a lot of extreme violence in it, you would probably be justified in calling me "Captain Obvious". If I were to tell you that it had a lot of swearing and nudity in it, you might be less sarcastic, but you probably wouldn’t be shocked. Now, if I were to tell you that Machete had an underlying socio-political message, you would probably call me a liar, but you would be wrong.

Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, Machete follows the path of, well, Machete; an ex-federal who is double-crossed and then set-up by men who seek power by any means necessary. 

If you know Rodriguez’ work at all, (if not seen Desperado and Sin City) you know that he likes to push things so far over the top they almost become ridiculous. 

His genius, in my opinion, lies in the fact that they never seem so ridiculous that you feel like you should stop watching. Either that or he’s successfully transferred the “rubber-necking” phenomenon to film.

Now what is this socio-political message you ask? 

Well in our post 9/11world, where there is a “you are either with us or against us” mentality, Machete ends up being the latter.  He chooses not to be afraid to do what’s right, and that is where the conflict starts. 

The other side of that mentality is played by Robert De Niro; a senator who is running on a campaign of hatred and racism.  It is this backdrop that eerily parallels the fear-based politics we are experiencing today.

What is most interesting about the way this movie plays out is that Machete essentially becomes a “terrorist”, who is seeking revenge on the establishment. 

Many times throughout the film De Niro’s character actually refers to Machete as a terrorist. The implications of this spiral down into an infinitely politically incorrect conversation about how Machete can simultaneously be a “terrorist” and yet be portrayed as the hero of the film.

Now, I’m not dumb enough to even begin to suggest that terrorism is by any means justified, but I do want to point out that some people out there should wake up and smell the “its not so black and white” coffee.

Let me put it as simple as I possibly can; I bomb you, you bomb me, you’re the terrorist and I’m the hero. Now that you’re either smiling or yelling at what I’ve written; on with the review!

Machete is a movie that appeals to some of the lowest common denominators as far as entertainment go. But like I always say; there is nothing wrong with violence, sex, and swearing in a movie as long as Steven Seagal is in it you can mix it with some meaning. 

Okay, so I’ve never said that before but just see the movie; you might just like it.

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