Friday Fisticuffs Blu-Review: Machete Kills (2013)

machete kills I get a lot of random PR emails. I’m not sure how I got on some of the lists and a lot of them wind up in the ol’ trash bin, but every now and then I get one I’m really excited about. Once such PR email asked if I’d be interested in a review copy of Machete Kills. Hell yes, of course I was! Life got a bit in the way so this review is going up later than I intended, but I really wanted to add my voice to the choirs praising Robert Rodriguez’s latest film.

I didn’t remember much about the first film and thought about going back and re-watching that one again, but a quick read of my own review helped fill in the blanks. This time around, everyone’s favorite former Federale Machete gets sent on a mission by the president (Charlie Sheen) to find out what bad guy Demian Bichir is up to. As it turns out, he’s about to launch a rocket and has hooked a dead man’s switch up to his own heart. Things don’t go so well for him, but his heart goes on Celine Dion-style.

Eventually we find out that Luther Voz (Mel Gibson) is the real bad guy who also has space-based plans. Guys, there’s a lot going on in this movie. Machete runs afoul of a face-changing killer called The Chameleon played by Walton Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lady Gaga and Antonia Banderas. Actors like Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Spy Kids star Alexa Vega and Tom Savini return for the fun alongside Rodriguez newcomers Amber Heard, Sofia Vergara and even Vanessa Hudgens.

This film was an over-the-top smorgasbord of awesomeness that oozes with Rodriguez’s style and charm. Every time I watch one of his movies, I can feel how much he enjoys making these things. I can relate to his desire to make a variety of different kinds of art and envy the way he’s figured out how to bring those visions to fruition. He also has the uncanny ability to bring in a variety of famous actors who in this case don’t distract from the story because the whole thing is already ramped up to 11 to begin with.

I haven’t had a chance to go through the deleted and extended scenes at all but the Making Machete Kills featurette on the Blu-ray was pretty great. If you’re not familiar with how Rodriguez makes movies, this will give you a really good idea. If you are familiar, it’s a fun addition to what you already know with this specific cast.

Every time I finish one of Rodriguez’s movies I feel creatively charged and have a renewed respect for and love of movies. This guy is really doing it the way he wants to and I respect that. Plus, he makes super fun movies of which Machete Kills is a great example.

Machete Kills Ramps Up With Clips & Posters Before Debut

After this week we probably won’t hear too much more about Machete Kills because the film debuts this Friday. Before we can start lining up for our tickets, though, director Robert Rodriguez and company have a number of new trailers, clips and posters for us to check out. 

Above you’ve got a nice little Sofia Vergara-specific mini-trailer, while below you’ll find an incredibly NSFW clip of her talking to her loyal army of prostitutes. 

Michelle Rodriguez and Lady Gaga also got in on the short trailer action:

If you prefer your looks at ladies a little more static, then feast your eyes on the latest character poster, this one featuring Alexa Vega’s Killjoy. machete-kills-poster-alexa-vega

And finally, here’s Robert Rodriguez and the cast talking about the network of actors he’s amassed throughout his career. 

If you’re still not interested in Machete Kills, which opens this Friday, you’re pretty much a lost cause. 

More Machete Kills Reveals For Your Weekend Enjoyment

Of course, just as soon as we posted about the most recent clips from Machete Kills yesterday we did some more looking around and found even more clips and some brand new images. But, since we don’t want to overload you with Robert Rodriguez and Danny Trejo craziness, we figured saving some specialness for the weekend would make sense. Above you can see Amber Heard playing Q to Machete’s James Bond as she sets him up with an arsenal of weapons. Meanwhile, below, check out 10 new images from the film featuring Trejo, Heard, Michelle Rodriguez, Antonio Banderas, Alexa Vega, Sofia Vergara and more, many of which look like shots from scenes we’ve already seen in various forms.

Machete Kills opens October 11th.

Machete Kills Unloads Two Clips Into Your Eyeholes

Man Max Crossover? We’ve spilled a good deal of digital ink on the subject of Machete Kills here at Explosions Are Rad and we’re not done yet. Even after posting all kinds of trailers, teasers, clips, posters and images, we’re alway up for checking out a few more. First up we’ve got the new Red Band (read: NSFW) trailer from the Robert Rodriguez film:

After that, feast your eyes on the lady-filled new clip featuring Alexa Vega, Sofia Vergara and a small army of other weapon wielding women:

Machete Kills opens October 11th.

Bullet Points: Hot Rounds Of Information Goodness

NEED FOR SPEEDIn case you missed it, here’s the first thrilling image of Aaron Paul in Scott Waugh’s adaptation of the Need For Speed video game franchise. [via Entertainment Weekly]rocky undisputed collection

Today’s Amazon Gold Box Deal can get you Rocky: The Undisputed Collection on Blu-ray for $20, a great markdown from the usual $70 price tag. If anyone wants to donate one to the Explosions Are Rad crew, just leave a comment below.

Bold And The Beautiful and The International star Luca Calvani will play the bad guy in Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.CL.E., facing off against Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in the 60s-based spy adaptation. [via Deadline]t-800 life size bust sideshow

Got an extra $579.99 (plus shipping)? Are you also a Terminator fan? Then you might want to pick up the Sideshow Life-Size T-800 bust from Terminator 2. It comes with light-up eyes and a spot in the head so you can futz with the CPU. robocop-poster1

Speaking of robots with identity issues, peep this poster of Joel Kinnaman in the RoboCop gear, then go back and check out the first trailer and images released from the movie. [via Collider]
jerry bruckheimer

Jerry Bruckheimer might return to produce the recently announced Beverly Hills Cop 4. He held the same position on the first two films, but had nothing to do with 3 or the TV pilot. Turns out he’s also working on Bad Boys 3! [via Variety]

And, finally, this came to our attention after we already did the Trailer Time post, but you should definitely check out this Mad Max-esque chase from Machete Kills that turns into a rather unique shoot out thanks to Sofia Vergara’s…equipment. [via Collider]

Machete Kills Scores All New Images, Posters & TV Spot

As obvious fans of explosions and over-the-top movie violence we here at Explosions Are Rad are anxiously awaiting the October 11th release of Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills, the sequel to the 2010 Danny Trejo-starring flick that originally saw life as a fake trailer in Grindhouse. To whet our appetite, Rodriguez released the above batch of images via IndieWire featuring Lady Gaga and Charlie Sheen in international posters, the same basic image of Sheen as the President and then images of Amber Heard in front of all kinds of guns and Michelle Rodriguez working with the director.

But that’s not all! Dig this new TV spot for the film you crazy cats:

That bit where he launches the guy back at a helicopter and it explodes makes us giggle like children every time we see it!

Trejo Answers President Sheen’s Call In Machete Kills Trailer

“The enemy might have a missile, but we have Machete.” That line from the most recent Machete Kills trailer perfectly encapsulates this franchise. It’s cool, it’s bombastic and it’s a little silly.

What started as a fake Grindhouse trailer has turned into a pair of movies with a third in the works. Director Robert Rodriguez reunited with regular collaborator Danny Trejo and also brought in an impressive cast of characters including Michelle Rodriguez, Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, Lady Gaga, Amber Heard, Sofia Vergara, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jessica Alba and a legion of others.

The plot, if it matters, finds the President (Sheen) asking Machete (Trejo) to stop the bad guy (Gibson) from blowing up Washington, D.C. with a missile. Said bag guy has his own army of “super soldiers” standing between him and our hero. Carnage will certainly ensue.

Machete Kills opens October 11th.

We Want Action: Predators (2010)

I don’t read a lot of movie reviews because I have a pretty good idea of what I do and don’t like. The only real reviews I pay attention to are the ones done on the Totally Rad Show podcast because I usually sync up with at least one of those dudes. When they reviewed Predators when it came off, I don’t think they were very happy with the movie. I remember Jeff Cannata being disappointed and noting that the setting used in the film wasn’t really used as well as it could have been. I also had some friends who saw it and weren’t all that enthusiastic, but I was still hopeful. Not hopeful enough to actually go see the movie in theaters, but hopeful enough to move it to the top of my Netflix Queue when it came out on DVD. I finally got around to watching the movie and I’ve got to say, I kind of loved it.

I think it helped that I haven’t watched another Predator movie in a while. I love the first one and even the second one, but was woefully disappointed by the two Alien Vs. Predator movies like many fellow fans. So, while I could appreciate a lot of the notes that this movie picked up from the previous ones (giant Gatling gun, woman surviving, traps, etc.) I wasn’t constantly distracted with thoughts of “they lifted that whole thing from FILL IN THE BLANK PREDATOR MOVIE.”

However, I did agree with Cannata’s assessment for at least the first 30 minutes of the movie, basically until the horned hound-pig things showed up. See, the basis of the film is that some Predators, instead of heading to a species’ home planet to hunt, will grab some prey and bring it back to a jungle world and hunt them there, like a game preserve. Our heroes who are actually all villains in the real world (predators themselves as one character points out) got abducted and then parachuted onto the planet. This time around they banded together to try and figure what the heck was going on. It takes almost exactly a half hour for them to guess what we already know, but that time is spent getting to know the characters to some extent and also hitting a few classic notes that I found really appealing like when they accidentally spring a dead soldier’s traps. I liked that scene because it basically tells the audience, “Hey, that’s not how this one is going to end.” After that there’s a lot of fights with Predators and even between Predators and a few twists and turns along the way to keep things interesting but without getting too bogged down including the appearance of Laurence Fishburne as a character who had been surviving on the planet for many seasons and who had lost his damn mind.

I liked the movie overall even though it’s clearly not perfect. The jungle could have been a lot more alien, maybe not Avatar-levels of weirdness, but maybe a few more indigenous dangers. I also was unclear on a few of the alien relationships like the non-Predator thing that chased Topher Grace, which was apparently based on the original design for the Predators (nice touch, by the way). One of the characters thought they were in cages or something. I also wasn’t clear on why the one Predator was tied up. I’m sure some of this information was given but I missed it because I was working.

Aside from a few small quibbles though, I thought the movie was a ton of fun and delivered everything I wanted: several Predators hunting humans with different destructive skill sets and same rad stand-offs between them. I really dug the casting. Adrien Brody surprised me as the hero even if his gruff voice got a little annoying after a while (this from a guy who didn’t even notice how ridiculous Christian Bale’s Batman voice was), but he does a good job of being cunning and caring just enough about his fellow castaways. I love Danny Trejo so it was fun to see him. Fishburne did a good job in his scenes. I liked Topher Grace a lot, mostly because I’m a big That 70s Show fan and the character he plays in this might as well have been a time traveling version of that Eric Forman (well, until the end). I didn’t really recognize the rest of the cast, but I thought they all played their roles well.

And now, a potentially spoilery list of moments in the movie that I loved. When the girl almost shoots herself in the head instead of letting a monster eat her. The intensity of the dead soldier’s trap. The sword fight between the Yakuza dude and the Predator. The reveal that Grace’s character is actually a serial killer, which makes all kinds of sense because why would the Predators snatch a doctor? Brody’s character using fire to camouflage himself when fighting the Predator at the end. That same Predator’s mask and face were both awesome. The projectile Predator blade. A Predator vs. Predator fight. Two beheadings BOTH PREDATORS. And, finally, the not really an ending ending that leaves things open for a sequel.

The movie was so fun I kept getting lost in it when I should have been working. I especially liked that writer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal seemed to have a lot of respect for the Predator mythos, but didn’t seem married to it. They worked in a new way for them to hunt and through Fishburne’s character tried explaining how that all works, though I’d have to watch again to really catch it. The characters themselves might not have been the most fleshed out in the world, but they don’t necessarily die in the order you expect them to either (who would have expected the prisoner with a knife, the Yakuza with a handgun and the doctor with no weapons would live that long?). Combine all that with my favorite movie aliens, lots of action and A SWORD FIGHT WITH A PREDATOR and I’m a happy camper.

Here’s my pitch for a sequel if anyone is interested. We pick back up with Brody’s character who has done his best to salvage the weapons that Fishburne’s character had found. While he arms himself with weapons from all ages (guns don’t really seem to work well, though explosives do) we get a look at who each of the weapons belonged to and how they fared against the Predators. Really, I just want to see Samurais, Ninjas, Vikings and maybe some weird other aliens fighting Predators on the big screen. And yes, I would actually go see the sequel in the theaters if these guys got tasked to make another one, though I’m not sure how likely that will be because guys like me didn’t see it in theaters the first time around. A vicious circle indeed.

2007 Danny Trejo Interview

With all the buzz flying around the Machete movie, especially the news that Robert De Niro, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson (Nash Bridges reunion!!!) and Steven Seagal will all be in it, I figured I would dig up an interview I did with Mr. Trejo right before the release of Rob Zombie’s Halloween hit on DVD along with a drawing I did a few weeks back when I was relatively bored of Machete. I’m not sure if anything ever happened with the interview (it was originally done for wizarduniverse.com, but I can’t find it on the net), but the interview went down on November 30, 2007 and it was absolutely one of the most fun I’ve ever conducted. Danny was a joy to talk to and really sounds like a dude you could just hang with. Maybe someday… Anyway, here’s the full interview.

Dietsch: How are you doing, man?
Trejo: I was just in TJ [Tijuana]. Who was it with? It was Andy Garcia and Ray Liotta and Eli Morales.

Dietsch: I looked at your IMDB page and you seem busy all the time.
Trejo: Yeah, yeah. Thank God. A busy man who’s trying to do everything.

Dietsch: So I want to start with a few Halloween questions.
Trejo: Sure. Great movie by the way.

Dietsch: Were you a fan of the series, the previous series, before you worked on this one?
Trejo: You know what, I hate to say it, but no I wasn’t. I knew the movie, but I didn’t really get into horror movies until I did From Dusk Til Dawn. I thought, “Wow, this is cool.” And horror fans are probably the most loyal fans that you can get. It’s either horror fans or John Wayne fans.

Dietsch: Do you have any favorite horror movies?
Trejo: Well, I go back to Frankenstein and Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, that era. I think that one of my favorite movies of all time is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But wait a minute, I don’t know if you saw this kind of comedy that was called Dracula: Dead and Loving It. I laugh thinking about that [laughs]. Me and my son watch that and just go hysterical for it.

Dietsch: You’ve worked with a lot of directors in the past. What did Rob Zombie bring to the table for this one? Was there anything that you hadn’t experienced before?
Trejo: You know what, I say it all the time. Rob Zombie brings the same thing that Robert Rodriguez does. They love what they’re doing and any time that you work with anybody that loves what they’re doing it’s just a joy. It’s a joy to show up for work. If you’re working with a plumber that loves what he’s doing it’s a joy to be around him because he not only likes what he’s doing, but he likes teaching you. If you’re ever around with Rob [Zombie] or with Robert Rodriguez or Quentin [Tarantino], if you’re standing by them – I hate to say this because I’m a lot older than them, but they’re actually holding class. “And the reason we’re shooting this is because if we get this angel we can edit it like this.” They’re holding class because they love doing what they’re doing.

Dietsch: That’s got to make it really fun to be on set, I’m sure.
Trejo: Oh, yeah. It just makes it really fun.

Dietsch: Now, when you’re working on a horror movie do you ever get creeped out by the atmosphere of the whole thing, especially with something like Halloween where your character gets killed? Is that strange to see?
Trejo: No. I think it’s a lot of fun and people who work on horror movies especially really have to love what they’re doing. Even the stunt guys. If you think that jumping off a building is tough try it in a guerilla suit or try it in a werewolf suit. It makes it a lot more difficult. So everybody that’s on the set loves the costumes and the makeup and everything like that. So I think it just brings a lot more fun to the table.

Dietsch: Would you say that there’s a different energy on set when making a horror movie, more excitement?
Trejo: Yeah, absolutely because people are comparing it to this horror movie and that horror movie. It’s tough to compare a drama or something like Gone With The Wind, but with horror you’ve got all these little different quirks.

Dietsch: Michael Myers is a character who’s been around for a long time. Do you have your own take on him? Do you see him as pure evil or that he was abused and this is kind of the result of his growing up?
Trejo: Well, I’ve taken the abuse so far [laughs]. I mean, come on. It’s funny because Michael Myers, at first he didn’t kill me. At first I lived and then after they saw the movie everybody noticed that, “Hey, he didn’t kill Trejo”’ So this kind of gave him a redeeming quality which they didn’t want him to have and so they brought me back for it. Rob called me back and said, “Hey, Danny. You know what? We have to kill you.” I said, “Get your other checkbook out.” [laughs] They killed me and re-shot it. I think it was better that they didn’t let me live because tthat took away his redeeming quality.

Dietsch: Do you have a preference for the kinds of movies that you work on?
Trejo: I love action movies. I love action movies. What’s the body count?! Even my agent knows that if the first five pages don’t have a body count of at least three to pass on it. I go to movies to be entertained. Don’t give me anything too heavy because I don’t want to walk out of there going, “Oh, I’m thinking.” [laughs] Not too much plot for me. Just shoot ‘em up.

Dietsch: Do you have a favorite action movie hero like maybe Dirty Harry or somebody?
Trejo: Like I said, I love John Wayne and Kirk Douglas and all the old action hero guys. [Clint] Eastwood was awesome. What can I say? I love movies. I love good movies. I love good action movies.

Dietsch: Do you think that Machete could take Michael Myers?
Trejo: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Machete can take out Superman. We’re going to do that. This is a Robert Rodriguez quote here. You can quote this from Robert Rodriguez. He promises all his fans that we are going to start Machete in January. So that’s a go. I call him every day and I tell him, “Robert, everybody is asking me when we’re doing Machete. He said, “Well, tell them we’re doing it in January.”

Dietsch: Is there a projected release time yet?
Trejo: Probably in the summer. He wants to get it done pretty quick.

Dietsch: We heard that it was going to originally be direct to video, but now it’s theatrical?
Trejo: Oh, yeah, definitely. That’s another quote by Rodriguez.

Dietsch: Can you talk about the plot at all?
Trejo: Well, you know that he’s a federal agent that comes out here from Mexico and he’s double crossed by the mob who’s trying to kill this senator. They double cross him and so he just comes back with a vengeance and I love it because it’s a Charles Bronson Death Wise-type, take no prisoners [movie]. I cut guys in half on that one.

Dietsch: Everyone here is super excited to see it when it comes out.
Trejo: Put that in your article and send it to Robert [laughs].

Dietsch: So the trailer that was in front of Grindhouse, is that still the trailer for the movie or was that a goof?
Trejo: That was just kind of a preview. There’s a whole lot more stuff that they’re doing. There’s stuff when I land that motorcycle. There’s stuff where I cut one guy in half and his legs keep running – some funny shit. It’s really, really heavy stuff.

Dietsch: So the scenes in the trailer will be in the movie?
Trejo: Oh, yeah, absolutely, but the continuation of those scenes because those were just short little scenes.

Dietsch: You’re slated right now to be in Sin City II. Do you know anything about your character or when that will start?
Trejo: Not a thing. I was supposed to be in Sin City and what happened was that I was shooting another film and Robert said, “I have to do this, Danny.” I said, “Go ahead. Go ahead.” So they re-started Mickey Rourke’s character and I’m glad that he did that. He was great in that.

Dietsch: Have you read any of the comics and have a favorite character?
Trejo: Yeah. I met what’s his name [Frank Miller?], but it’s like I said, I have no idea what they’re going to do with me. You never know with Robert. I mean, Robert, that line of his, “Are you a MexiCan or a MexiCan’t?” Robert made that up on the set, right before me and Johnny Depp shot that scene [from Once Upon A Time In Mexico]. It was like, “Here Danny, say this.”

Dietsch: Do you have a favorite Robert Rodriguez movie, one you’ve been in or one that you just love even though you’re not in it?
Trejo: A favorite Rodriguez movie? God, when Salma Hayek was pouring that wine down her leg [in Desperado?], I could’ve watched that for the whole movie [laughs]. That’s what I love. I love those action movies. I loved Spy Kids and that movie gave me this whole new audience.

Dietsch: Do you get recognized a lot when you’re out? I would imagine that you do because you’ve doing films for a long time.
Trejo: Oh, yeah. It’s funny. It’s like people complain about the paparazzi and all that stuff, but I kind of make a decision before I leave the house that I’m going to deal with this. If not, I’ll send someone out and I won’t go out. I tell all actors that if you don’t want to be bothered, don’t go outside. You can avoid it. I see all these people yelling at these camera guys and stuff and I just laugh. It’s like, “Shut up. You did it.”

Dietsch: I wouldn’t think that they get in your face too much.
Trejo: No, no. They’re polite and they ask real nice. “Hey, can we take a picture with you” [And I say,] “Yeah, sure.”

Dietsch: My wife wanted me to ask you what it was like when you did Desperate Housewives.
Trejo: [laughs] You know what, let me tell you something. At first I said no to that. My agent said, “They want you to do Desperate Housewives. They called you.” I said, “No way. Come on, Danny Trejo on Desperate Housewives? That doesn’t fit.” My wife happened to walk by and heard that. She goes, “Are you crazy?! That’s the most popular show on TV.” So I ended up doing it and it’s funny because I hang out at this place called Chubby’s Automotive. It’s over in Sylmar on Polk and San Fernando Road. All of my old ex-convict friends and all my old drug addict friends, ex-drug addict friends, they all hangout there. So they’re always ragging on me when I walk up, like, “Ooh, here comes the movie star,” and all of that stuff. I walked up there and they said, “Ooh, here comes the movie star. What are you working on now?” So I told them Desperate Housewives and if you can imagine all these guys with tattoos and all buffed up and wife beaters on going, “Oh, that’s my favorite show!” They love Desperate Housewives. “Say hello to Eva [Longoria],” [they said].

Dietsch: What was that shoot like? How long were you on the set?
Trejo: About three days and it was blast. They’re so fun and Eva Longoria is like – I love basketball and so I got an autograph picture [of her husband, Tony Parker]. She kind of cracked up because I went over to her and asked her, “Can I have an autographed picture of your old man?” She was a doll.

Dietsch: You’ve done quite a few videogame voices and animated voice work. How is that different than going to the set and working on an actual live action movie?
Trejo: Just showing up. You can show up in pajamas if you want to [laughs]. No makeup or nothing. You just show up in pajamas and say, “Hey, what’s up?” You do it and I hate to say it, but it’s EM: “easy money.”

Dietsch: Do you ever play the games that you’re in?
Trejo: God, no. It takes a genius to play them games.

Fanboys (2008)

Before I start getting my post-Wizard World Philly post together (here’s a preview, Skeletor karaoke) together I just wanted to say a few words on Fanboys, which Em and I just finished watching. Maybe it’s because I just experienced fanboy-ness to the extreme this weekend and my inner fanboy was all over the place, but I REALLY liked this movie.

The story’s about four (eventually five) lifelong Star Wars fans in 1999 who are anxiously waiting for Episode I to hit theaters, but the problem is that one of the guys has cancer and they don’t think he’ll last the six months until the premiere. So, they go on a road trip to break into Skywalker Ranch to watch a rough cut of the movie before it opens. Of course there are plenty of hijinks along the way and TONS of guest appearances and geek injokes. There was a lot of trouble getting this movie into theaters because the powers that be weren’t sure whether they wanted to keep the cancer plot in the movie. Well, I was excited about this flick since I first heard about it and can’t imagine how bad it would be without that element behind the plot. It really is the heart of the movie and I’ll be honest, the end got to me. Even more so than Darth killing the Emperor. Now, you know that’s serious.

I was worried that I wouldn’t like the movie because the guys on the Totally Rad Show didn’t like it very much. Our tastes don’t match up perfectly, but I do respect their opinions and ours match up a good deal of the time. I think the wait hurt the movie and it really is kind of a big injoke, so I can see why your big audiences wouldn’t have wanted to check it out. Em’s seen all the Star Wars movies, but she’s nowhere near the geek I am, so she didn’t necessarily pick up on all the things I did, but she still dug it. If you haven’t seen Star Wars, it’s probably not the best flick for you. It’s kind of like how you might be able to enjoy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, unless you’ve seen all of Kevin Smith’s movies a bunch of time. By the way, Kevin Smith makes a cameo I didn’t know about that had my laughing like crazy. But, in the end, I really liked it and recommend it to all my Star Wars brethren. Plus, it makes fun of Trekkies, so that’s cool.