Yesterday I knocked out eight or so quick hits of movies I enjoyed in 2019. I should have mentioned in that first post that I’m talking about movies I watched in that year, not necesarily movies that came out in said year. If that were the case, I probably wouldn’t have much to write about as someone who mainly gets their entertainment from Netflix (digital AND disc, like an O.G.), Amazon Video, the library and Hulu! Let’s get back to it!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
In 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]
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]
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.
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]
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!
The biggest release of the week by far is Louis Letterier’s Now You See Me, the magic-themed heist flick starring Morgan Freeman, Common, Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Michael Caine, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco.
How is it possible that a movie featuring Dwayne Johnson, Liam Hemsworth and Emma Roberts didn’t get a wide theatrical release as was the case with Empire State? Maybe it’s because, cool as the movie looks, Johnson just doesn’t fit in with the 70s period piece aesthetic of the film.
TV-wise, Person of Interest: Season Two, Revolution: The Complete First Season, Spartacus: War of the Damned – The Complete Third Season, Da Vinci’s Demons: The Complete First Season and Sinbad: Season One are all available now.
WB has a 20th Anniversary The Fugitive Blu-ray to check out, but there aren’t any special features listed.
We haven’t seen Mulan: Rise of a Warrior, but seeing this movie for sale on Amazon lead us to the above trailer and now it’s definitely on our to-watch list.
Hey, Jean-Claude Van Damme fans both Hard Target and Sudden Death now have fancy new Blu-ray versions. Note that both of these are all regions import discs that come with zero special features, so they might not actually be very fancy.
You guys like multi-packs? We here at Explosions Are Rad LOVE them. As you might expect we’re all over 4 Film Favorites: The Matrix Collection (BD) [Blu-ray] (basically the same thing as the DVD version that’s been out for a while) and the Dusk Till Dawn Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack which features the three movies as well as Full Tilt Boogie, a documentary shot during filming of Robert Rodriguez’s initial film.
We’re also interested in multipacks with less well known films like Echo Bridge’s 8-Film Fast Action [Blu-ray] which includes People I Know, Ordinary Decent Criminal, Malevolent, Albino Alligator, David Cronenberg’s Existenz, B. Monkey, Dolph Lundgren’s Men Of War and Sean Bean’s Bravo Two Zero.
Finally, if you just can’t get enough Sharknado on Syfy, you can now buy your own copy for repeated watching.
The Grandmaster might have opened on only seven screens last weekend, but it still earned a per-screen average better than any other release. The Ip Man biopic starring Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi opens much wider to around 600 screen this weekend and will hopefully continue making a good deal of cash. [via THR]
There’s been a movie in the works for a while now without a title referred to as “the female Expendables.” As you can probably figure out, it features an all-star group of women kicking ass and blowing things up (presumably). The movie’s already got Gina Carano and Katee Sackhoff on board and now includes Step Up 3D and You’re Next star Sharni Vinson. [via Collider]
Word on the street is that Sony’s making a TV series based on Robert Rodriguez’s excellent El Mariachi trilogy. Great news, right? Well, not so great when you find out they’re not involving Rodriguez in the process and won’t even return his phone calls on the subject. Ouch. [via Deadline]
If you like Johnny Depp being all wacky and Jack Sparrow-y then you’ll be interested to learn that the fifth Pirates movie now has an official title: Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. [via This Is Infamous]
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.