Film: Machete Kills

I just gotta say that you are one genuine article, Genghis Khan, high-caliber, fucker-people-upper.

Machete Kills is a 2013 exploitation action film directed by Robert Rodriguez. It is the sequel to Machete.

In exchange for a full pardon and US citizenship, the President of the United States (Charlie Sheen) tasks Machete (Danny Trejo) with stopping insane Mexican revolutionary Marcos Mendez (Demian Bichir) from launching a missile at Washington DC. With help from his new handler Blanca Vasquez aka Miss San Antonio (Amber Heard), Machete infiltrates Mendez' secret base, but runs into trouble when he finds out that Mendez has wired the detonator to his heart, which Mendez then activates, starting a 24-hour countdown until the missile launches.

Machete has a day to get Mendez across the US-Mexican border alive to the only person who can deactivate the detonator: Corrupt Corporate Executive Luther Voz (Mel Gibson), who has his own agenda. Adding to Machete's troubles, Mendez left instructions to put a ten million dollar bounty on his own head if anything happened to him, which put several people on Machete's trail, including the perfect disguise wearing assassin El Camaleón (Walton Goggins/Cuba Gooding Jr./Lady Gaga/Antonio Banderas).

Rounding out the cast are Desdemona (Sofia Vergara), a madam and leader of a gang of assassins who blames Machete for the death of her daughter, and Michelle Rodriguez reprising her role as Luz.

It will be followed by Machete Kills Again...In Space!

This film includes examples of:

  • Action Dress Rip: Miss San Antonio draws a switchblade to fight Luz...then stabs it into her own dress, slicing a long line down her skirt so she can move freely. She then throws aside the knife for some hand-to-hand.
  • Action Girl: Luz, Sartana, and the nurses.
  • Adam Westing:
    • Charlie Sheen is basically himself as the POTUS, even saying "Winning was only the beginning."
    • Arguably Mel Gibson as Voz. While his insanity is more subtle, he still makes Mendez look somewhat sane.
    • Among Voz' celebrity friends at the shuttle unveiling are cosmotologist Paul Mitchell and Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Both are wearing kitschy foil jumpsuits.
  • Advertised Extra:
    • Alexa Vega as one of Desdemona's mooks.
    • All of El Cameleon's faces, who are played by celebrities in little more than cameos.
  • Affably Evil: Luthor Voz is by all means a friendly bad guy, even when his plan is destroying most of the world with a couple of nukes. Also El Camaleón, who politely apologises before killing innocent bystanders who've seen his face (though the facade starts to crack after a while).
  • And Starring: "With Demian Bichir. And Mel Gibson as Voz. And introducing Carlos Estevez." (The "Introducing" credit is because this is the first time Charlie Sheen has been credited under his real name.)
  • Ax-Crazy: Mendez. Only the Madman personality though.
  • Back for the Dead: Sartana and Osiris Amanpour reappear but are killed off.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Between Machete and Voz.
    Voz: You cannot defeat me, because I know your every move!
    Machete: Nobody knows Machete!
    • Also:
    Luz: I can't see you, but I can still kick your ass!
  • Badass Grandpa:
    • Mendez points out that it is not normal for someone in Machete's line of work to survive to be his age.
    • Voz is old and an even match for Machete.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Machete and Luz, when they infiltrate Voz's party at the climax. Luz even packs a matching Eyepatch of Power.
  • Ballroom Blitz: Machete camouflages himself as the world's least likely waiter (a nod to his gardener disguise in the last film), complete with a white tux and serving tray, to blend in with the glitterati attending Voz's launch party. Luz is identically dressed, along with a white eyepatch. Uh huh.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Machete catches a katana with his left hand, bloodying it.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Luz again; also Desdemona and her hench women.
  • The Baroness: Miss San Antonio (no name given) is an inverted example. She gives every indication of being blonde and cheap, but is one of the deadlier adversaries in the film. This is to provide a contrast with the rougher, leather-clad Luz. Madame Desdemona is played straight to the point of parody (she once ate a man's testicles).
  • Becoming the Mask: Miss San Antonio takes her pageantry very seriously despite it only being a cover. Voz uses this to turn her with the promise of a crown if she helps him.
    • Also what happened to Mendez. He was Mexico's first and only secret agent sent to infiltrate the drug cartels, and the stress from the things he had to do, plus seeing his family beaten, drove Mendez insane and created a Split Personality that really was a psychotic criminal.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • El Cuerpo means "the body."
    • Blanca Vasquez's first name means "white." She's blonde, green-eyed and doesn't look Latina. She's played by the very much not Latina Amber Heard.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: El Camaleón forces Machete to dig his own grave, allowing him to escape.
  • Buffy Speak: Voz's appraisal of Machete, quoted up top.
  • Buxom Is Better: Enhanced by the wonders of movie technology! When Miss San Antonio strips off, a message on the screen advises the audience to put on their 3D glasses now.
  • Call Back:
    • A senator John McLaughlin poster could be seen hanging in a Arizona police department, while two officers try to hang Machete.
    • Several of Von Jackson's old border vigilantes shoot and kill El Camaleón 4.
    • Luz gets shot in the eye again. She threatens Blanca with what she did to the last person who shot her in the eye.
  • The Cameo:
  • Cartwright Curse: Losing your wife (with daughter) was not enough to break Machete, so Sartana dies too, and if Machete Kills Again... In Space is to be believed, Luz will also be the unlucky one. He also casually sleeps with Miss San Antonio, who turns out to be evil and gets killed by Luz.
  • Cat Fight: Miss San Antonio blinds Luz with a gunshot, seemingly killing her —but the plucky Mexican turns up in the hangar out for blood.
  • Catch and Return: When a man throws a butcher knife at Machete, he catches it and throws it back. Later Luz with Miss San Antonio.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The grappling line and the molecular blaster.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: What happened to Julio, the red-headed kid who was part of the Underground?
  • Cliff Hanger: Machete stops the missiles, but Voz escapes into space with soldiers, minions, captives, and a frozen Luz. Cue sequel.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Sniff sniff. Luz is not pleased to learn that Machete slept with Miss San Antonio.
  • The Coats Are Off & Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Luz vs. Miss San Antonio. The pageant queen throws off the sash, kicks off the sandals and does a showy move with her knife to slit the dress down the middle. The crown doubles as a shuriken.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: Voz can see the future through some unexplained space phenomena.
  • Contrived Coincidence: El Camaleón forces Machete to dig his own grave right above a tunnel for illegal immigrants trying to get into the US, allowing Machete to escape.
  • Damsel in Distress: Luz is abducted by Voz and carried away in his rocket, though admittedly not without a fight. Subverted with Cereza, killed by a teleporting hit-squad once her exposition is conveniently resolved.
  • Dark Action Girl: Miss San Antonio; Desdemona and her associates; La Camaleón.
  • Darker and Edgier: Contrasting from the previous film, Zarors and Osiris turn into Ludicrous Gibs when they die, most of the Network members get killed by one Zaror in the final battle while the surviving ones get captured and taken to Voz's space station for slave labor, Luz is 100% blind and trapped in carbonite, and Mendez's backstory reveals that his wife and daughter were tortured to death, unlike how Machete's wife just got beheaded and their daughter killed offscreen in the previous film.
    • On the other hand, this film got a 15 rating in the UK, compared to 18 for the original.
  • Dead Man Switch: The rocket launch is connected to Mendez's heart, preventing Machete from simply killing him.
  • Death by Irony:
    • Miss San Antonio - who had earlier declared that her beauty-pageant tiara was the only thing in life that mattered to her - is killed when Luz plunges said tiara into her heart and then shoots her in the head.
    • El Camaleón is killed by a racist gang because he disguised himself as a Mexican man and then tried to pass off as a Canadian.
    • Voz attempts to invoke this on Machete, trying to kill him with the only one of his futuristic guns that Machete favored.
  • Denser and Wackier: Machete Kills starts off as another Affectionate Parody of gritty grindhouse films like it's predecessor, but quickly turns into something like a Roger Moore era James Bond film, what with the secret base in the hidden temple, the gimmicky assassin, the CEO who wants to destroy and rebuild Earth from his space station.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Arguably with Voz. See Even the Guys Want Him below.
  • Designated Girl Fight: The last fight between Luz and Blanca.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Luther Voz, plotting to cause World War III, sit things out on his space station, and return as world-conqueror.
  • Disposable Woman: Sartana is killed in the opening scene to give Machete motivation. Cereza is also killed shortly after introduction to give Desdemona motivation.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Mendez kills all of those mooks who admit they've sung songs about Machete.
    • La Camaleón kills a Mexican who doesn't understand him asking for directions in English.
    • Voz stabs a waiter with a corkscrew because he foresaw the man was about to spill some champagne. Or maybe Voz is just insane too.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Miss San Antonio takes up the token "evil Texan" position left over from Senator McLaughlin (DeNiro) in the last movie.
  • Does Not Like Men: Desdemona equates all men with her abusive father and the men responsible for her daughter's death. She explains this to some poor sap before violently whipping him and breaking his neck.
  • Dominatrix: Desdemona, who Does Not Like Men.
  • The Dragon: Mendez has one named Zaror, who puts up a bit more of a fight for Machete. He is one of several clones created by Voz, making him The Dragon for Voz several times over.
  • Dragon Their Feet: In the best Bond Villain tradition, Voz gets his face burned off while Miss San Antonio and at least one Zaror are still alive and breathing. Subverted when Voz improbably survives, setting up the Cliff Hanger ending.
  • Dynamic Entry: As Luz and her guys pour into the ballroom, Miss San Antonio takes aim and plugs Luz through the eye with an arrow. Calling it a day, she retreats to the holds and is tackled by the (nigh-indestructible) Luz, who gets in a few licks.
  • Dumb Is Good: Voz tells Machete that he believes his precognition powers don't work on him because Machete doesn't have a whole lot going on up there (which is really not giving Machete enough credit).note 
  • Elite Mook: Zaror gives Machete a run for his money with each rematch.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Voz stares at Machete while he is getting dressed.
  • Exact Words: Machete wouldn't kill a man in a wheelchair. He just shoves him into the open where his Trigger Happy cohorts kill him instead.
  • Expendable Clone: Voz has an army of clones which Mendez' Dragon Zaror is one of. He also expresses interest in getting genetic samples from Machete to make clones of him.
  • Eye Scream: Luz loses her one good eye while fighting Miss San Antonio. For no real reason besides Rule Of Cool, she turns Blind Weapon Master and wins the battle anyway.
    • Machete barely escapes this (with a quick arm block) when Desdemona fires twin darts at his eyes.
  • The Faceless: We never actually see El/La Camaleón's face. He/she just keeps removing mask after mask.
  • Facial Horror: Happens to Luther Voz when he gets shot in the face with a flamethrower.
  • Fanservice with a Smile: Inevitably, Miss San Antonio does the hoary old "your flight is now boarding" routine once it's time to launch into space.
  • A Foursome Is Hot / Royal Harem: The President of the United States gets a late night phone call from our hero. The phone is picked up by a sleepy yet hot female White House intern, who hands it to another female intern in the bed beside her, who hands it to another female intern, who hands the phone to the President.
  • Flipping the Bird: Luz defiantly flips Voz off as she is frozen in carbonite.
  • Gangsta Style: La Camaleón lets a victim choose how she should hold her gun when killing him, calling gangsta style "with flair." When the guy asks for the "coolest way," she flips the gun upside down and pulls the trigger with her pinky.
  • Gatling Good: Desdemona has a special bra with built-in twin gatling guns.
  • Gender Bender: El/La Camaleón "becomes" Lady Gaga between Cuba Gooding Jr. and Antonio Banderas.
  • Genre Savvy: Voz is perfectly aware that Machete is superior to any number of his Mooks, or even his Elite Mooks. That's why he wants Machete's DNA, after all.
  • Genre Shift: Starts off as a sleazy action movie in the style of the original Machete, then becomes a James Bond movie two-thirds of the way through.
  • Gorn
  • Groin Attack: Desdemona says that as a child, she bit off her abusive father's balls when he tried to rape her.
    • A rare female-on-female example during the fight between Miss San Antonio and Luz. Lampshaded in a post-credits outtake.
  • Handicapped Badass: Luz, who kills Miss San Antonio while completely blind.
  • Heel-Face Turn/Heel-Faith Turn: After killing Machete's brother in the first movie, Osiris had become a man of the cloth. It later becomes a Redemption Equals Death.
  • Helicopter Blender: The film has a lot of fun with this one. First Machete guts Zaror, throwing his intestines into the rotor blades so he's reeled up into them. Then Machete is flying to safety when his helicopter is damaged by mooks in a powerboat. He leaps into the boat then, as the unmanned chopper spins wildly out of control overhead, fires a harpoon into it, attaching the other end to a mook who's pulled into the air and the rotor blades — the mook gets shredded, then blown up with the helicopter. Later improved by Machete by attaching his grappling hook to the rotor and using his machete to decapitate mooks faster than the eye can see.
  • Hero of Another Story: After Machete disarms the missile, the President informs him that he had other agents disarm Voz's other missiles from around the globe.
  • Homage: While not a direct Shout-Out, the part where Luz is blinded and must fight the Dark Action Girl is very similar to Rodriguez's previous film ''Once Upon a Time in Mexico, where Agent Sands is blinded and must do the same.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: In the opening scene, Machete and his partner creep around in black while the corrupt army personnel wear more practical desert cameo.
  • Immune to Fate: Voz's precognitive abilities cannot account for Machete's actions, something that baffles him.
    Machete: Machete happens.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Mendez and Voz both express admiration for Machete's skills.
  • It's Personal: Machete is impervious to whatever threats or incentives the President offers him, until he's offered a chance for revenge.
  • Karmic Death: Miss San Antonio sells Machete out for a crown...on which she is subsequently Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Machete kills a lot of people with his various souped-up machetes, but he's defeated by Voz, who wields a katana. However, Voz does discard the katana for an oversized bat'leth to deliver a killing blow. It's also made fairly clear that neither the blade, or even Voz's skill, have anything to do with it; rather, his admittedly imperfect ability to see the future and predict Machete's moves.
  • Knight Templar: Mendez. The Revolutionary personality.
  • Language Barrier: El Camaleón is really bad at Spanish. At one point, he tries to ask an old Mexican man for directions, but the man cannot understand him, prompting the frustrated hitman to kill him.
  • Large Ham: Several, with Desdemona being the standout.
  • Latex Perfection: El Camaleón. Repeatedly.
  • Latino Is Brown: Amber Heard plays "Blanca Vasquez," who is blonde, green-eyed and apparently Mexican-American, yet she's also a double-agent, so her whiteness is apparently a hint that her Mexican identity is a fraud.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil
  • Leave No Witnesses: El Camaleón kills anybody who sees him, even when he's just walking down the street instead of performing an assassination.
  • Let's Dance: Spoken by Miss San Antonio right before the fight with Luz.
    • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: She appears to toy with Luz during the early stage of the fight, tossing aside her switchblade and resorting to fisticuffs. She only goes for the leg holster once Luz is dizzied and (apparently) helpless.
  • Machete Mayhem: The hero's Weapon of Choice, of course. This time he gets several upgrades.
  • Made a Slave: Voz uses kidnapped immigrants as slave labor. Later, he has Machete and Luz's teammates enslaved and taken to his space station.
  • Made of Iron: Machete is evidently immune to electricity, hanging, and bullets.
  • Mad Scientist: Voz, though his futuristic inventions are likely made by his company.
  • Magic Countdown: The timer for the missile launch is a blatant example of They Just Didn't Care.
  • Man Behind the Man: Luther Voz is the one supplying Mendez with his weapons, manpower, and heart-monitoring nuclear detonator.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Machete gets hanged by a racist sheriff near the beginning. To the sheriff's amazement, other than being unable to free himself, Machete is unaffected. Instead he just glares at the sheriff until the President calls in his pardon.
  • Manchurian Agent: It is revealed that Voz has a "Mendez" in every nuclear state, including Russia and North Korea, just waiting to go berserk when the time is ripe.
  • Master of Disguise: El Camaleón.
  • The Mole: Miss San Antonio
  • Ms. Fanservice: Lady Gaga as El Camaleón 3. Flips into Fan Disservice when you hear Cuba Gooding Jr's voice coming out of his/her mouth.
  • Neck Snap: Desdemona wraps a whip around a poor guy's neck and pulls until it breaks.
  • Nerd in Evil's Helmet: Voz confesses to be a Star Wars fan, as is evident by his clone armies, landspeeder, donning a mask after getting his face roasted like Darth Vader, trapping Luz in carbonite, and the Palpatine-esque decor on his ship. And if the trailer for Machete Kills Again... In Space is to be believed, he will wear a Darth Vader-esque outfit. Also see Shout-Out below. He also fights Machete with a bat'leth.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • Invoked and parodied. The pre-movie trailer for Machete Kills Again ...in Space bills Leonardo DiCaprio as "The Man in the Silver Mask". With no shots of his face and a disclaimer noting "actor subject to change". Even this much is Blatant Lies, since by the end of the film we've seen Voz become The Man in the Silver Mask.
    • The trailer for Machete Kills implies that Desdemona and El Camaleón were Voz's henchmen, but they are actually independent bad guys.
  • The Nose Knows: Luz is able to tell Machete slept with Miss San Antonio by sniffing him.
  • Oblivious to Love: When Luz gets upset that Machete slept with Miss San Antonio, he's confused as to why.
  • Off with His Head!: The fate of many, many mooks, as well as Mendez.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Charlie Sheen is a dickish President who doesn't believe in gun control, enforces anti-illegal immigration policies, legalized marijuana for the tax money, and sleeps with four women in the same bed.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Not outright stated, but it is hinted that the reason why Machete can't die is because Machete is Vengeance itself.
  • The Paid-For Harem: Miss San Antonio owes her crown to Voz. She throws her lot in with the terrorists before the movie even starts.
  • Phallic Weapon: Desdemona's strap-on is a gun that she fires via vigorous hip thrusting.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Lampshaded by Miss San Antonio, who quips that punching a blind chick is probably grounds for the pageant jurors taking her crown away.
    Luz: That's alright, they'll just give it to the next bimbo who spreads like butter.
  • Product Placement:
    • The iMacs used by the Network prominently display the AMD logo on their wallpaper.
    • SpaceX, whose rockets are "top of the line," according to the President; complete with a cameo by founder Elon Musk.
  • Punny Name: President Rathcock. "The name you love. The face you can trust."
  • Riding the Bomb: Machete, during the finale.
  • Rousing Speech: Mr. President to Machete, with a side order of Title Drop.
    "Machete kills. That's what he does!"
  • Rule of Cool: Machete uses his grappling gun to swing around on a helicopter rotor to slice off heads at over two hundred miles an hour!
  • Running Gag: The "Machete don't text" gag from the first film gets reused as "Machete don't X".
  • Schrödinger's Cast: Osiris Amanpour died in a deleted scene during the first Machete, but since the scene was deleted, he's able to return in Kills, having done a Heel Face Turn in the meantime.
  • Sequel Hook: The trailer for Machete Kills Again...In Space! at the beginning of the film, plus a slightly different one after the ending which teases Machete fighting his Evil Twin.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: Machete Kills Again...In Space! is done in the style of a Seventies Star Wars rip-off.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Voz shows how big of a Star Wars fan he is by having a vehicle modeled after Luke's landspeeder, as well as having a clone army and freezing Luz in carbonite a la Han Solo.
    • Later Vox fights Machete with a Bat'leth.
    • Desdemona also uses a crotch gun just like Sex Machine in From Dusk Till Dawn.
    • El Camaleón's Weapon of Choice is a golden gun.
    • In one scene, a bar serves only Tequila and Chango. Chango is the fictional beer found in the El Mariachi series.
    • The IN SPACE! sequel has Luz with a red-glowing cyborg eye, saying how it's all galactic and shit.
  • Sleazy Politician: The President is a hedonistic, self-absorbed douchebag.
  • Sophisticated as Hell / Layman's Terms
    Voz: In a matter of hours they'll launch on each other, throwing the world into gargantuan, unrecoverable anarchy. Too many syllables? The world is fucked.
  • SpaceX: Loads in the trailer for Machete Kills Again...In Space!, including Content Warnings about the movie containing 'space violence'.
  • Split Personality: As it turns out, Mendez had at least three personalities: the calm and reasonable revolutionary, the evil and batshit insane cartel leader, and the badass secret agent. When Machete asks how many personalities he has, the Agent says "That's classified."
  • Stock Parody: Franchise/Star Wars gets spoofed in the fake trailer.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: After being the main female lead in the first film, Sartana is killed before the opening credits of the sequel.
  • Take That: "And Starring Justin Bieber as Bleep the robot!" *Bleep takes a bullet to the face.*
  • Taking the Bullet: Osiris shields Machete from a disintegrator ray, dying in the process.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: A mechanic in a wheelchair gets shot by several machine guns, then blown up by a rocket launcher.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Machete is much more ruthless and less magnanimous in this film compared to the first one, in which he often deliberately spared the lives of people who might not have been knowingly serving the forces of evil.
  • Torpedo Tits: Desdemona's miniature-minigun brassiere.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Thanks to the trailer for next film we see at the beginning of this film, we know who survives the film itself. Subverted in the case of the Chameleon, who dies. The trailer does acknowledge this, however, by specifying "Lady Gaga as, whoever she wants to be."
  • Trash Talk: Whenever Luz fights Miss San Antonio.
  • Villain Exit Stage Left: Desdemona (who just vanishes halfway through the film) and Luther Voz survive the movie.
  • We Can Rule Together: Voz, seeing Machete as the perfect warrior, tries to recruit him. Of course, the hero refuses.
  • Weaponized Headgear: Miss San Antonio's diamond-encrusted crown.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Luther Voz's evil scheme is a hybrid of those of two Bond villains: Carl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me and Hugo Drax in Moonraker.
  • Wire Dilemma: Referenced by Luz when Machete refuses to take along her bomb expert, Osiris Amanpour. Luz says she heard it's always the blue wire anyway. Later Osiris gets shot and Machete must disarm the missile by himself anyway. It ends up Luz was absolutely right.
  • World of Ham: And how...
  • You're Insane!:
    Machete: You're crazy.
    Mendez: With a capitol "C", muchacho!