****

I am NOT putting Machete don’t text, although that was a pretty funny line.  You ever noticed how you let a Mexican into your house just because he’s got gardening tools? No questions asked, you just let him right in. Could have a chainsaw, you know, a machete… 

This is the best Mexploitation film I have ever seen. If only the director of Once Upon A Time in Mexico’s director could have seen this film, maybe he wouldn’t have crapped out such dreck.  But of course, Robert Rodriguez directed them both so he would need a time machine to watch himself making it, or something.  Speaking of time machines, who went back in time and got a badass Steven Seagal?

Seagal is not the only successful casting decision, but not everyone worked out flawlessly.  I believe the Rodriguez deserves the credit for making a great “grindhouse” style movie, but he also deserves the criticism for any performances that strike the viewer as off-putting.  George Lucas did not take enough of the blame for Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman’s performances.  For every “Machete don’t text” line by Danny Trejo, there is the opportunity to make Jessica Alba say “I thought Machete don’t text.”  Robert De Niro was an interesting casting choice and almost made me think of his character of Senator McLaughlin and not just Robert De Niro. Michelle Rodriguez did a great job playing the tough as nails Luz, but the advertising campaign gave away her surviving a gunshot to the face since I already knew she would appear with an eye-patch wielding an assault rifle and a black bikini top.  I knew that Lindsey Lohan would appear dressed as a nun–because of the flack she got for it–but she was topless a whole lot.  Like, really topless.  More than topless, she also did a good job spoofing her bad girl image and the nun’s habit actually fit into the storyline.

The best non-star casting was of Jeff Fahey.  Fahey looked Colin Farrell’s version of Sonny Crockett, but with a tie on.  That’s part of the wonderful subtlety that Rodriguez brought to this film, since Don Johnson played an important role in this movie.  Even if Don Johnson is no Colin Farrell–Tom Hanks could have brought more to the role of the leader of a border patrol militia–I still wish that actors of his caliber had acted in movies like this in the 70’s.

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