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Machete Mayhem

"Guys, it's okay! He just wanted his machete back!"
Professor Lowe's famous last words, Jason X

The machete. The perfect weapon. Unlike a chainsaw, it doesn't need a power source, it never jams, and you can actually swing it like a sword. Unlike a katana, you don't need to pay hundreds of dollars for a decent one and you don't need years of training to effectively wield it. Unlike a kitchen knife, you can actually lop someone's head off (unless you believe that last non-Zombie Halloween movie). And unlike a scythe, you can actually kill someone with it. That could be why they've become so popular in pretty much any movie where people get hacked to bits.

The original application, like a lot of such implements of destruction, is agricultural; they were used to clear undergrowth. It was a necessary tool for picking sugarcane in the Caribbean early on. Particularly useful for cutting the heads off the non-venomous snakes that were apt to bite cane-pickers. And, you know, actually picking the sugarcane. Machetes are also a common household and farm tool in Indonesia, India, the Philippines, and surrounding areas. This prevalence meant they were often one of the only weapons available if the farmers were attacked, and their use as weapons eventually lead to many martial arts from such regions (such as Silat, Escrima, and Arnis) featuring various machete styles as a central part of their armed combat teachings.

See Kukris Are Kool for the machete's Nepalese twin brother. Compare and contrast Chainsaw Good, Knife Nut, and Sinister Scythe.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comics 
  • Machete(who oddly enough bears a striking resemblance to Danny Trejo) is a machete-wielding foe of Captain America.
    • Probably coincidence as Machete first appeared in 1985; the same year Danny Trejo made his first movie and years before Spy Kids.
  • Wallace, the main character in the Sin City story Hell And Back, has a machete in the climax.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In the Discworld continuum, the Rimwards Howondalandian Assassin, Johanna Smith-Rhodes, is typical of her people in that one of her declared culturally appropriate weapons is a large jungle machete. This is typical of Rimward Howondalandians outside their own country. Even though this weapon is not thought of as all that cool or stylish by the Guild, and Swords teacher Emmanuelle les Deux-Epées views it as not so much a sword but a large metal club with a sharp edge. Johanna once defeated a Fourecksian in the mandatory "do-you-call-that-a-knife?" game by bringing out her machete and politely saying "No, I call this a knife." Other Rimwards Howondalandians appear in the story The Black Sheep.
  • Quite a few of Scarface's goons are wielding machetes in chapter 6/5 of The Dark Angel. Not that they actually do anything to Pinhead/Dark Angel.

    Film - Animated 
  • One of Clayton's weapons in Disney's version of Tarzan is a machete. Given that he's in a jungle, he has a very good reason to be carrying one.

    Film 
  • Machete, Danny Trejo's character in the Spy Kids movies and the Darker And Grittier expansion of his character in a fake trailer of Grindhouse later made into an actual movie. So named because he uses them. A lot. (The full movie reveals that's actually his name - "Machete Cortez.")
  • The Book of Eli: A rather wicked Genesis Machete is used by Eli to good effect....and is even able to parry a chainsaw.
  • Friday the 13th: Jason Voorhees, probably single-handedly responsible for the popularity of machetes in modern cinema. Funnily, a lot of people forget this and think he uses chainsaws (he never has).
    • Ironically, rather like Jason's reputation for Offscreen Teleportation, Jason didn't really favor the machete that much until the "undead Jason" films (6 and onwards) — "living Jason" tended to favor improvised weaponry instead.
      • Jason didn't get one machete kill until his first starring film (Friday the 13th Part 2) — throwing it across a patio and into the face of the guy in a wheelchair, as appears in the next film's opening sequence. In fact, his very first kill on-screen is with an ice-pick to the skull.
  • Knife Nut Soap has a collection of giant knives in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. When his partner sarcastically asks if he has anything bigger, Soap whips out a machete from a scabbard. "Shit 'em right up!"
  • In God of Cookery, the favoured weapon of many a street thug. Also one of the most unpleasant Barehanded Blade Block moments you'll ever see, complete with Bloody Handprint immediately after.
    • Considering that it's tough to get hold of a gun in Hong Kong, these and other assorted bladed weapons are quite popular among The Triads and the Tongs.
  • Main weapon in the Slasher Movie Just Before Dawn is a machete. For extra cool, it has saw-bladed edge on the blunt side.
    • Saw-backed machetes are Truth in Television for certain manufacturers, though the style used in the movie was irregular, apparently hand-made.
  • One is briefly used by Michael to massacre the Cult of Thorn in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.
  • The worst of the villains in Big Jake is fond of the machete as a weapon.
  • Billy uses a machete (well, more of a really big knife) in when he decides to Hold the Line in the original Predator film. He gets his spine ripped out.
    • In Predator 2, Bill Paxton's character also uses a machete he finds on the subway after his gun runs out of ammo. He gets his spine ripped out.
    • In Predators Royce uses a machete(actually the same really large knife as Billy) to clear a path, rather than fight a giant alien big game hunter. He doesn't get his spine ripped out. Coincidence?. He does behead an an alien hunting dog with it, though.
  • Selena has one in 28 Days Later and she uses it to hack Mark to death.
  • Rambo uses a golok (an Indonesian machete) instead of his usual Bowie knife in his fourth movie, one that he hand-forged the night before from a broken truck leaf-spring.
  • The killer's main weapon in Death Screams, Blood Rage, The Pool and Motor Home Massacre.
  • A drunken Santa gets a machete slammed into his face in Don't Open Till Christmas.
  • James Bond:
    • As he is rescuing Solitaire in Live and Let Die, Bond shoots a guy who is about hit him with a machete, and later uses it against Baron Samedi in a very brief Sword Fight.
    • Licence to Kill ends with Sanchez suffering a Villainous Breakdown and attempting to hack Bond to death with a machete. He comes damn close to succeeding to.
    • Steven Obanno theatens to cut Le Chiffre's girlfriend's hand with a machete in Casino Royale. He later uses it against Bond.
  • The Raid: Redemption features a gang of machete wielding Elite Mooks hunting for and eventually battling with the protagonist.
  • A few of the characters in Pro Wrestlers Vs Zombies wield machetes from the prison's lockers against the zombies, but it becomes Sarah Schuman's primary weapon throughout the film, wielded to deadly effect.
  • In Kick-Ass 2, Mother Russia wields a machete with the words "God give, God take" inscribed on the blade in Russian.

    Literature 
  • In S. M. Stirling's Emberverse novels, a modified version of a machete becomes a popular weapon all across post-Change America. The main villains of the second and third trilogy are called CUTters for a reason..
  • Septimus, slave of the Night Lords legion, combines this with a pair of salvaged imperial laspistols to serve as a credible Musketeer. He does a pretty good job of it, given he's fighting alongside ten thousand year old posthuman Super Soldiers.
  • In The Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks names the machete as the best edged weapon to use against zombies, due to its size, weight, and availability.
  • The castaways in Dr Franklins Island find a machete that had been given to a less fortunate passenger on their doomed plane. Semi once uses it to cut a snake in half, almost on accident. Otherwise its uses are strictly utilitarian, slicing poles and such, and at some point it proves to Miranda and Semi that Arnie passed through a hidden area.

    Live-Action TV 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Jessicka Havok tried to kill Mercedes Martinez with a machete after she was rendered immobile at WSU's first War Games (quickly bringing the match to an end). She'd later mock Midwest Militia teammate Allysin Kay for carrying a machete without intent to use it.
  • Samoa Joe tortured Sheik Abdul Bashir for getting in the way of his nation of violence by suspending him by his legs, sticking a machete in his mouth and beating him with a kendo stick. Joe would go on to try and kill members of TNA's main event mafia with the machete for breaking his arm...so they bought him off.

    Tabletop Games 
  • White Wolf, makers of The World of Darkness gamelines and Scion, seem to like machetes. They're practically the only non-weapon weapon that never carries "Improvised Weapon penalties"... in any gameline. In the latter, they're particularly favored by Scions of the Loa (because they were commonly used in the Haitian Revolution).
  • Even Magic: The Gathering gets in on the action in Zendikar block, with Trusty Machete being the most visible example.
  • Dark Heresy has the Bolo Knife from Malfi, which is the 40K equivalent of a machete. One of the few knives in the game that punches through flak armour.

    Video Games 
  • In Golden Sun's prologue/tutorial, your weapon is a machete. It's only usable during the prologue, and unobtainable later on.
  • It's the favorite melee weapon of the Sons of Samedi in Saints Row 2
  • Left 4 Dead 2 includes a machete as a melee weapon for clearing away troublesome patches of zombies.
    • Trope is in full effect. The machete is the fastest-swinging bladed melee weapon, with the nightstick as its blunt counterpart. Both pale in comparison to the chainsaw, but using that tends to have other problems.
  • BioShock 2 has a machete skin for the player's melee weapon in multiplayer.
  • Far Cry and the various expansions and two sequels have the machete as the primary melee weapon. Far Cry 3 in particular also shows off a lot of non-combat applications; the player character uses it to forage for materials, skin animal carcasses, and remove the padlocks from radio towers.
  • In Dead Rising, Cliff's Weapon of Choice.
  • Dylan from Dino Crisis 2 had a machete as a side weapon at the start of the game and enabled him to hack away at doors that was covered in heavy vegetation.
  • Chris from Resident Evil 5 uses a machete as his default melee weapon. His partner uses a knife.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has machetes that are quite obviously made from broken lawn mower blades. There is also an option to do a Reverse Grip attack in VATS. Coincidentally Danny Trejo, the actor who plays Machete, is also in the game, though his character is The Gunslinger. Caesar's Legion uses them extensively, in lieu of the historical gladius, because there's no readily-available stock of period Roman swords in the post-apocalyptic American West.
    • A downloadable content bundle includes a more traditionally designed 'broad machete' as a starting melee weapon, notable for being a properly forged and assembled knife rather than a lawnmower blade with a handle. Very useful as an early melee weapon, as it is more powerful, more durable, lighter, and faster than its common counterpart.
  • Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend added three throwable melee weapons to the arsenal; the first among them is a machete that comes back to you.
  • In Scarface: The World is Yours, machete wielding mooks are all over the place. At one point survival depends on punching out one of them, taking his blade and hacking up a gunman. Ambushes help.
  • One of Sakon Shima's huge swords in Samurai Warriors 2 is an oversized machete.
  • The first additional weapon you pick up in Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb is a machete. It's okay in combat, but its main use is clearing thick walls of vines out of your way.
  • Machete users are smattered through City of Heroes, but special mention goes to the Sky Raiders, who explicitly use machetes as part of a martial style that favors fast, maneuverable close-quarters weaponry that includes submachine guns and flamethrowers.
  • In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, the machete is one of your options for melee weapon. You're able to both perform a one hit kill and run with it, meaning it's nearly as good as the katana.
  • In Manhunt you can get a machete from a slain Wardog. It's one of only three weapons that can be used to decapitate an enemy during an execution, along with the wire and the cleaver. The machete and the cleaver will decapitate an enemy with any level of execution.
  • In yet another title from Rockstar Games, The Warriors, the machete is one of the most powerful weapons in the game. Unfortunately you'll only get to use it three or four times over the course of the main story.
  • Machetes appear as an equippable weapon in Spelunky which asides from having better upside range (and worser range straight ahead) can also get rid of spider webs.
  • In Bastion, the Machete is one of the first alternate weapons you pick up. It's relatively weak at first, but has an incredibly fast attack speed even without upgrades, and can be thrown for a decent amount of damage. Upgrades allow it to damage over time on any strike and throw multiple blades at once, or massively increased Critical Hit damage. The latter upgrades combined with the ludicrous swing speed make it devastating when under the effects of the Werewhisky tonic.
  • Kobra, the bloodthirsty Black Dragon neophyte, wields a machete as his Weapon of Choice in Mortal Kombat Armageddon.
  • Machetes are one of the most commonly used melee weapons in ''Dead Island'. They are the rewards for a lot of quests, especially in the main quest line. They deal a lot of damage, have decent handling, and have good force and durability for an edged weapon, making them the Weapon of Choice of a lot of players. The Butcher of Banoi also wields a machete and he killed his family with one when he was 9.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 features a machete as an optional melee weapon in some missions.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Null carries one in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. When you complete the game, you can use him in your New Game+, complete with his machete.
    • Sundowner of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance uses two Hi-Frequency machetes dubbed "Bloodlust". He can either wield them separately or attach one to a clamp on his arm, forming what is more or less a giant scissor. Once he's defeated Raiden can use them, though he only uses them in the second form as a BFS. Some of the Mooks also carry around more traditional looking High-Frequency Machetes. Raiden can unlock this weapon, which sacrifices range for speed.
  • In I Am Alive the machete is your best friend. You can use it as a tool to break open things, or as a weapon to break open enemies. If you don't catch enemies by surprise, however, their allies will usually end up shooting you in the back before you can take them down.

    Web Animation 
  • Machetes are used quite often in Madness Combat, most notably in the sixth installment, Antipathy, where Hank has one from the beginning and kills several mooks with it. And it's awesome.

    Web Original 

    Real Life 
  • Machetes were used as weapons in a slew of uprisings and rebellions throughout the Third World, especially in Cuba. Check The Other Wiki on guys like Carlos Manuel de Cespedes for example.
  • On a far more depressing note, the Rwandan Genocide was chiefly conducted by men wielding machetes. See Hotel Rwanda for details.
  • The machete on the Angolan flag? It actually stands for agriculture.
  • The Fascine or Gabon knife issued to engineers and light infantry served that purpose in many armies which were too unconnected to Caribbean culture to know about machetes per se. Its similarity is more in its function as a medium sized utility blade rather then its shape. Some for instance were two-edged and the French army favored a fascine knife shaped rather like a gladius.
  • A Malay-Indonesian weapon known as the parang is essentially a machete with a curved handle to prevent slips; similar knives include the bolo and the golok, both of which have similar blade shapes. The barong is a Filipino version, and Thais have their daos and e-neps. They also proved to be as useful cutting up people as clearing underbrush during the various wars, rebellions, and occupations of the area.
    • Though a parang is much more multi-purpose than a machete, and as such is a favourite hunting knife for survivalists. Curved parangs can be used to chop wood or bone (the middle of the blade) skin (the slightly flattened tip) or carve (the blade edge near the handle, which is very keen but delicate).
    • As an agricultural / forestry tool, the machete (or parang, or bolo, or kukri) are specifically tropical, made for the jungle and forest vegetation: vines, canes and lianas. In European or North American forests, where only hardwood is found, they are not efficient - for this reason, Northern cultures never developed sword-like blades for this purpose and relied on the hatchet or axe.
  • The name for machete in Portuguese is catana. For. Apparent. Reasons.
  • The seax was the Northern European version. It was favored by Norse and of course by SAXons. Later during the High Middle Ages there were the falchion and the messer. Basically it is a heavy chopping blade coming in various shapes. Like other models it was a medium utility blade useful for work or for war. While it is mostly a peasants tool some stylized models indicate that nobles were often fond of them too.
  • The Romans were defeated badly in their first invasion of Dacia (modern Romania) by a local weapon called the rhompaeii - essentially a European parang, capable of lopping a legionary's arm off at the shoulder. They had to develop body armour capable of withstanding this weapon before trying again.
  • The Dominican American Street Gang is infamous for the fact they use machetes rather than guns or knives as their main weapon.


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