​In 2010 Texan director Robert Rodriguez followed up his grindhouse collaboration with buddy Quentin Tarantino with another ridiculous, blood splattering social commentary film called Machete. It became a cheesy cult classic due to the enormous popularity of Rodriguez and the fact that he was coming off of his Sin City and Spy Kids success. Since then, Rodriguez hasn’t done very much; Spy Kids 4D is about it. Now he has taken the Machete sequel and turned it into this cheap looking adult cartoon-like movie that is full of pop-star icons and controversial personalities but lacks the creativity from the original.

​Now working for the US government, the President (Sheen) assigns the revered Machete to go back to Mexico and destroy the evil cartel affiliated Mendez (Bichir). Things are never that easy because he has to first find Mendez’s location through some very angry and armed prostitutes led by the double D machine gun firing Desdemona (Vergara). When he finally does find Mendez, he finds someone with multiple personalities: one minute a terrorist and the other a revolutionary. Machete’s handler, Miss San Antonio (Heard), is assisting Machete while Luz (Rodriguez) will provide him back up when he gets back to the border.  

​Vengeance never dies, it only changes targets, Machete is told. The target in Machete Kills isn’t clear, however. We went from discussing topics of the US border problems and illegals to a mindless bloodbath with no real substance or point of interest. While Vergara (Modern Family) is a hoot with that mouth wide open and vulgar weaponry, it’s clear that the point of casting half the actors in the film was just for publicity stunts. Yes, Sheen uses his famous “winning” term as he ironically portrays the US president as his father did in The West Wing, or as it’s called here, the South West Wing. Most of the famous faces only get cameo parts since the entire movie was shot in a brisk 29 days, and it shows.

​This sequel feels more like a grindhouse movie than the first, and that’s mostly because of the lack of focus and creativity in the script compared to last time. The other annoying element that you may or may not care about is that this film directly leads into another one--which is previewed in a trailer prior to the beginning of the film (Machete in Space). Sure, Rodriguez is focused on his upcoming Sin City sequel, but that’s no reason to deliver such a steaming pile here. Lady GAGA might be the film's biggest draw, but her limited screen time doesn’t provide anything very exciting. Gibson and Banderas are fairly entertaining because they really ham up their roles, but the film as a whole is pretty dismissive.

Final Thought – A mixed bag of violence and poor writing.

Grade C-

By: Dustin Chase