The story of Machete is an interesting one. It began when Robert Rodriguez first met Danny Trejo on the set of Desperado. He believed Trejo should have been a "Mexican Jean-Claude Van Damme or Charles Bronson" named Machete. Other projects got in the way, though, and Machete was put on the shelf. Rodriguez continued to use scenes he had planned for it in his other movies, and also introduced a significantly friendlier version of the character in Spy Kids.In 2007, Rodriguez filmed parts of Machete for a fake trailer attached to the beginning of Grindhouse. After making another children's film, he revisited Machete and set about making it into an actual film. The final product includes every scene from the fake trailer, and gained massive popularity as the quintessential exploitation action flick parody of the 00's. It boasts an impressive cast, including Danny Trejo, Steven Seagal, Robert De Niro, Cheech Marin, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Rodriguez, and more.Machete stars Danny Trejo as Machete, a mysterious Badass Mexican hired off the street to kill a Texas state senator. However, before he can complete the mission, he is betrayed and left for dead by the same men who hired him. Now, eager for revenge, Machete sets out to take down the senator and everyone else who gets in his way.A sequel called Machete Kills was released October 11, 2013, with Trejo, Alba, and Michelle Rodriguez slated returning alongside Amber Heard, Lady Gaga, Mel Gibson, and Charlie Sheen (As Carlos Estevez, his birth name).A third film, Machete Kills Again... In Space!, is in the works.
"They just fucked with the wrong tropes!":
555: Pops up on Booth's phone. Also, 1-800-HITMAN has one too few numbers.
Above the Influence: Machete, with a drunk Jessica Alba no less. Mind you, it works out for him.
Felix Sabates as essentially the same doctor he played in Planet Terror, and, in fact, who he actually is in real life: when Sabates isn't appearing Rodriguez' movies, he's the Rodriguez' family doctor.
And, last but not the least, Danny Trejo! A Hey, It's That Guy! for his entire career, typecast as "that creepy Knife Nut Mexican", he finally gets a leading role as the described character type.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: Machete is a veritable sex magnet in the film, with almost every female character falling for him.
Almighty Janitor: Luz runs a food stand. Machete gets along as a laborer and poses as an actual janitor and a gardener later.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Invoked when Sartana brings up Luz's "aiding illegal immigrants, evading border patrol and unsanitary food preparation".
Bad Habits: April wears a nun outfit for the final battle, shortly after she finds out that her father had been killed.
Badass: Considering it's an action movie directed by Robert Rodriguez, pretty much the entire cast. Especially Machete himself. One villain says he's "CIA, FBI, DEA, all rolled up into one mean fucking burrito."
Badass Biker: Machete rides a chopper with ape hanger handlebars. Later he mounts a Gatling gun to a bike.
Badass Grandpa: Machete Cortez' birthday is listed as May 16, 1944... which is Danny Trejo's birthday, making him 66.
Big Bad: Drug lord Torrez establishes himself as this in the opening. It turns out he's working with Booth to manipulate the racist Senator McLaughlin and paramilitary leader Von Jackson to help him close the border. This way he can control the entire drug trade all by himself because only he knows the weak points, so he orchestrated pretty much everything in the movie.
Caught on Tape: The villains commit so many criminal acts in front of video cameras that it veers from Too Dumb to Live territory to borderline suicidal. Heck, a Texas state senator, during an election year, actually requests that someone videotape him committing murder and burn a bunch of copies of the DVD.
Booth is ironically the one who gave Machete the hand-phone ("Machete don't text") in the first place.
Chekhov's Corkscrew: When Machete visits Luz's house, for a second, camera focuses on a corkscrew lying on the table. Later, when they are attacked, he uses it in combat.
At a safehouse hospital, a friendly doctor mentions how the human body has 60 feet of large intestines. Guess what Machete uses when he needs to make a quick exit out of that hospital's window?
Contract on the Hitman: The whole plot is to hire Machete to assassinate McLaughlin, then frame him for the attempt to get support for the Senator.
Creator Provincialism: The film is set in Austin, where Robert Rodriguez lives and his film studio is based.
Cross Over: Danny Trejo has stated that the Machete Cortez in Machete is what the Machete Cortez from Spy Kids does when he's not taking care of the kids. As Robert Rodriguez intended to make a Machete movie years before he was able to, he inserted a more family-friendly version of the character into Spy Kids in the meantime, so this is technically canonical.
Crucified Hero Shot: With surprising attention to detail. Most depictions that even use nails will have them driven into the palms; this movie accurately shows the nails being driven into the wrist-joints.
Machete uses this to bust himself out of the first arrest.
DarkFaux Action Girl: Aside from shooting the naked woman (who also counts) who tricks Machete in the opening in the back of the head in her first scene, Cheryl Chin's character does ... pretty much nothing. All she does when Torrez dies is pout fetchingly.
Darth Vader Clone: Luther Voz in Machete Kills and in the trailer for Machete Kills Again... In Space!.
Deadly Dodging: Machete gets into, and out of a street fight, doing only this (it ends when the other guy breaks his own fist on scaffolding), because Machete doesn't hit unarmed men. While eating a taco, no less.
Flavor 2 for all the bad guys, except Torrez, who's Mexican. Von Jackson and McLaughlin think they are Flavor 1, but their bullying and trigger-happy redneck cowboy ways make them Flavor 2. Though McLaughlin seems to fall to Mixed Flavor — right around the time he admits he's not even from Texas — in the end.
Sartana, the Mexicans, and a handful of La Résistance Caucasians are Flavor 1.
Easily Forgiven: McLaughlin is pretty easily forgiven by the Network once Von and his man turn on him. April is not so forgiving, though.
Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Booth's guards go through this when Machete infiltrates their boss's mansion by posing as a menial gardener. They let him through without any real check, then question why weren't more thorough because he could be anybody, then realize their stupidity.
Luz's fate. She dons an eyepatch to manage. The fact that the character in question loses an eye at all is probably a reference to what happens to Johnny Depp in Once upon a Time in Mexico, from the same director.
Lindsay Lohan (actually a body double, although she's pretty close herself later on) and her character's mother topless and making out with Machete in her daddy's swimming pool, though this is equally qualifiable as Fan Disservice.
Jessica Alba shows almost everything in a Shower Scene. Her nude scene was later revealed to not have been nude after all. She's wearing fairly covering panties and top, which were later removed digitally.
Genre Throwback: To '70s exploitation/trash movies, especially in the vein of blaxploitation movies.
Godiva Hair: April, waking up in a church after having been fucked sensele... drugged by Machete. It doesn't always cover everything up.
Go Out with a Smile: McLaughlin after getting shot up by the remnants of Von Jackson's group when he is mistaken for a Mexican. He seems to enjoy the irony and gives a classic De Niro grin.
Gorn: A Rio Grande of blood is spilled in the movie, with dozens of characters killed in gruesome ways. Like bungee jumping... with intestines.
The Guards Must Be Crazy: Played with. Booth's guards drop the ball by letting Machete in, thinking he's another day laborer and complaining about how people always fall for the simplest disguises, but almost instantly realize it.
Luz's sawn-off - based on comments from IMFDB about the size of its barrels, it's 6-gauge.
Heel Realization: One of Booth's Mooks. "Ive been watching the boss, and the boss is a real scumbag." That same Mook, when confronted by Machete shortly thereafter, promptly quits his job and gives Machete his gun.
Honor Before Reason: The entire reason Machete's in this situation, because he wouldn't let Torrez kills the girl he kidnapped no matter what he might do to him.
Hospital Hottie: The twin nurses who help Machete out. They show up during the climax, dual-wielding guns to cut down racists.
The evil scheme: Crooked politicians and drug runners want to seal up the border... to make it easier for them to import their illegal merchandise.
One of the mooks at Booth's house is Hungarian.
Booth has no problem using and abusing Mexicans, oh, and by the way, can you pass him another taco at lunchtime...?
Hypocritical Humor: One Mexican corrects his fellow dishwasher's pronunciation of Spanish profanity... and then pronounces "Hey" wrong. The same character also supports the anti-immigration policy, as he's already on this side of the border. Subverted when he and his coworker turn out to be part of Luz's network.
Invincible Hero: Machete due to outclassing everyone else in sheer badassitude, which even gets invoked at the end. Torrez has defeated Machete in a knife duel and is about to kill him, which Luz notes will happen if they don't interfere. Sartara counters her by noting that Machete simply can't lose purely because he's Machete, and Luz says she's got a point. Then Machete suddenly gets up and impales Torrez.
Improbable Weapon User: Many of the Improvised Weapons get rather outlandish. Machete uses a Grass String Trimmer as weapon on one of the goons. As the goon reaches for his gun, Machete repeatedly uses the trimmer on his fingers without hurting him badly.
Improvised Weapon: The Movie of the trope. Machete turns just about every prop within arms reach into a weapon. Booth is shown "disciplining" one of his Mooks with a USB cable. Sartana kills one man with a table ornament and another with her shoes.
Osiris, who disappears before the climax, due to his death scene getting left on the cutting room floor. Remnants of von Jackon's vigilantes manage to escape and continue gunning down people they think are Mexicans. Torrez' female sidekick just walks off, pouting.
In a rare Triple Subversion, McLaughlin. First he looks like he's going to escape disguised as a Mexican (after helping the Mexicans, strangely enough), but then April shoots him. Then he turns out to have survived thanks to a bulletproof vest, and flees on foot. But then he gets killed by Von Jackson's men, mistaking him for a Mexican.
...or perhaps not, as they were planning on executing him earlier, anyway.
Karmic Death / Hoist by His Own Petard: McLaughlin - after putting on a Hispanic-looking outfit to escape the Big Final Shootout - is caught stumbling along the border fence by remnants of Von Jackson's army and shot down, falling into the electrified fence. McLaughlin even smiles as he dies, apparently appreciating the irony.
Knife Nut: Both the hero and the villain use them as their weapon of choice.
Machete has a whole collection of Machetes, using them to kill goon after goon.
Torrez is particularely fond of Katanas.
Latino Is Brown: The red-headed kid in the Latino community has to explain that he's not Mexican, he just grew up in the neighborhood.
Made of Plasticine: At one point, Jessica Alba picks up a pyramid-shaped sculpture and rams it through a guy's chest.
Machete Mayhem: A given. Machete later gets a ridiculously huge one in the final battle that disappears during the showdown with Torrez.
Mafia Princess: April relishes quite a bit in the life her criminal father allows her to live. He's disgusted by the way she sells herself as a wannabe porn starlett however, but not because he wants to protect his daughter; he wants to have her for himself.
Magical Security Cam: The playback of the taping of Von Jackson and McLaughlin shooting Mexicans attempting to cross the border simply replays the scene early in the film, complete with angle cuts.
Major Injury Underreaction: Torrez undersells getting impaled with a machete in a way only Steven Seagal can. With the machete still sticking in him, Torrez appears to attempt a ritual disemboweling: knowing he was already dead, he tries going out like a Samurai but fails, much to his Asian girlfriend's disgust.
Male Gaze: Used several times, notably with Luz (by Machete) and a nurse (by McLaughlin) McLaughlin gets yelled at for it.
Modesty Bedsheet: Jessica Alba poses nude in front of a refrigerator with her arms positioned in just the right way to hide anything naughty (and in fact Alba was wearing normal underwear which was CGI'd out.
National Stereotypes: Plays with the Mexican stereotypes. The Mooks all seem to be Irish-American or Italian-American. Oh, and one Blackguy, whose death isn't shown.
Never Trust a Trailer: While the film is mostly faithful to scenes filmed for the 'Original' trailer, some scenes from the real trailers don't appear in the final cut.
One scene from the Grindhouse trailer that didn't make the real film is the shot of Booth cowering behind armed guards while Machete launches himself with a Gatling gun/motorcycle combo at them. Booth dies in another scene and isn't there when Machete goes all Gatling Good at the bad guys.
There's also Machete's coat uncovered a lot of machetes strapped everywhere. In the film, he just uses two hilariously huge machetes in the final battle.
The trailer originally had Machete taking aim at the senator as he coasted down the street in a convertible, full on JFK style.
Non-Indicative Name: Machete does most of his damage with Improvised Weapons. And one Weaponized Motorcycle.
Noodle Incident: All those newspaper headlines that "She" was responsible for...
No One Should Survive That: Luz, aka She was shot through the eye at not much more than point blank range, and except for the obvious loss of vision in that eye survives without lasting ill effects, even though such a wound (if survivable at all) would likely result in massive brain damage.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Steven Seagal as Torrez, who has zero accent, despite being a Mexican native who curses in Mexican. It's intentional of bad foreign villains of Grindhouse films, where foreign people... weren't.
Papa Wolf: Booth to his drug-troubled daughter April. It would be his redeeming quality, if it wasn't because he wants to bone her. At least he knows it's wrong, and has confessed it to a priest.
Rated M for Manly: The movie is a homage to the avenging anti-hero movies of The Seventies. So it's got everything - guns, machetes, explosions, machetes, sexy women, machetes, and tequila - that made such movies so manly. And thankfully without the awful disco soundtracks. Well, besides the scene with Lohan. Oh, we forgot to mention it's a Grindhouse spinoff.
Rescue Sex: Subverted in the opening scene. Machete rescues a female kidnap victim who turns out to be jaw-droppingly attractive, totally naked, and eager to reward her rescuer, while Machete is only interested in saving her. For his trouble she stabs him with his own machete, as it's all a trap by the Big Bad.
Senator McLaughlin (played by Robert DeNiro) drives to the Vigilantes' compound in a... taxi.
Another Shout Out to Once upon a Time in Mexico: The shadowy freedom fighter is called "She". El Mariachi is also known as simply "El," which is Spanish for "He" (or possibly "the").
Luz getting shot in the eye and returning with an Eyepatch of Power is a shout-out to the apparent death/ressurection of Cheech Marin's character in both Desperado (where he was shot in the eye) and Once upon a Time in Mexico (where he returned sporting his own eyepatch).
The Stoic: Machete. Even when faced with the prospect of getting laid. And in the middle of sex.
Stripperiffic: Luz wears only pants, a black bikini, and an eyepatch as her combat outfit during her fight scene at the end.
Stylistic Suck: This being a Grindhouse spinoff and parody... you can tell Rodriguez was aiming to fill the movie to the brim with cheesy special effects and intentional Fridge Logic. For example, a lot of the effects are obviously intentionally half-assed or done wrong.
Take That: A Cinco De Mayo-themed trailer was issued with "A special message... to ARIZONA!" In response to an anti-illegal-immigrant law (SB 1070) that had just passed in that state.
"...But you'll probably be in Hell waiting for me."
Technical Pacifist: Machete, believe it or not. Sure, he kills a lot of people, but he goes out of his way to take out a lot through nonlethal means. Note the group of Mooks who live to encounter him a second time - only to survive again.
Luz survives a bullet in the brain unscathed (well... minus an eye, but it doesn't seem to cause her much trouble).
Machete actually survives two. The first bullet saved his life by stopping the second bullet's advance.
Trailers Always Spoil: Anyone who's seen the trailer (or even just the opening credits) will know that Luz survives losing her eye and gets a patch. She also appears with the eyepatch on the cover of the DVD.
Troperrific: No exploitation movie trope was left untouched!
Two-Person Pool Party: ...or Three Person in this case, as Machete scores with mother/daughter pair June and April Booth.
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Perhaps not ugly, but Machete is definitely scarred and craggy-looking. And both his wife (for the half-minute she was alive on-film) and Sartana are considerably easier on the eyes.
The Unreveal: The fate of Machete's daughter. Torrez claims in the opening sequence that he'll kill Machete's daughter but we never find out if he did. A later scene implies that Luz is Machete's daughter but we never find out if that's true either.
Vasquez Always Dies: Subverted. Michelle Rodriguez, the poster girl of the trope, gets a bullet in the eye... but returns later for the final battle. And to top it off, she survives that as well.
The Verse: Apparently, takes place in the same universe as Spy Kids, albeit a muchDarker and Edgier version of it. If this is true, then Sartana has another twin sister (from a deleted scene) who's married and a spy...
Victoria's Secret Compartment: This might be an example, or it might not be, but the nude woman in the opening scene eventually withdraws a phone from Victoria's OTHER Secret Compartment. In other words, someplace you really, really shouldn't keep a phone.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Osiris disappears before the climax, without getting killed or finishing his job. In one of his later scenes, he notes that Machete isn't looking for him, implying that he simply quit. He was originally supposed to get caught scoping out the chop shop and get decapitated by a power saw, but the scene was deleted.
Would Not Shoot a Good Guy: Machete spares the lives of Booth's guards, who only had an extremely vague clue as to what their boss was getting up to. Also, when he is "arrested" by phony cops, he waits until he hears them admit that they're fake before killing them.
Writer on Board: Played for laughs and invoked. Rodriguez does, apparently, mean the film's pro-immigration stance sincerely, but he also portrays the conflict as not even really about race, but about money, with a Mexican drug lord as one of the main villains, and turns up the narm and anviliciousness up, since it is meant to be a throwback to stupid race exploitation films that were iconic to the post-Civil Rights movement.
You Have Failed Me: Torrez, Booth, McLaughlin, and Von Jackson don't like it when their underlings make too many mistakes. They even start turning on each other when their more monstrous actions go public, Booth getting killed and Von Jackson about to execute McLaughlin.