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Film / Machete

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"They just fucked with the wrong Mexican."

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.

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, released in 2010, includes every scene from the fake trailer, and gained massive popularity as the quintessential exploitation action flick parody of the '00s. 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 troper!

  • 555: Pops up on Booth's phone. Also, 1-800-HITMAN has one too few numbers.
  • Actor Allusion: Torrez, played by Steven Seagal, describes Machete as "notoriously Hard to Kill". Torrez also uses an aikido move on Machete during their final confrontation.
  • Adam Westing: Lots and lots.
  • 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.
  • And Starring: "And Introducing: Don Johnson"
  • 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 Biker: Machete rides a chopper with ape hanger handlebars. Later he mounts a Gatling gun to a bike.
  • Badass Longcoat: Machete wears a longcoat at the final battle. Full of machetes. Oh, Crap!.
  • Badass Preacher: Played by Cheech Marin, too.
    "I took a vow of peace. And now you want me to help you kill all these men?"
    "Yes, bro... I mean, padre."
    (gives it some thought, then shrugs) "I'll see what I can do..."
    • Later, in the movie:
    Thug: "Please Father, have mercy!"
    Padre: "God has mercy. I don't."
  • Batman Cold Open: The film opens three years earlier with Machete and a sidekick Federal chasing down a woman kidnapped by Torrez. Too bad it's a trap!
  • Beat: A hilarious one from the guards:
  • BFS: Machete wields(but doesn't use) a machete as big as he is in the climax.
  • 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.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead:
    • April (who is blonde), Luz (who has brunette hair), Rivera and June (who is a redhead).
    • In the Booth family, the villainous patriarch Booth has brunette locks (albeit balding slightly and greying). His wife June has long red hair. And his daughter April sports bleach blonde locks.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Senator McLaughlin's murder of a Mexican family is exposed to the public... with the exact footage of the event you watched earlier in the movie.
  • Broomstick Quarterstaff: Machete uses a mop to fight his way past Booth's goons after the faked assassination attempt on the senator.
  • Car Fu: Low-rider hydraulics have never been so lethal, as one unfortunate redneck finds out in the last battle, getting squashed flat by a bouncing low-rider.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • 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?
  • Color Me Black: The senator who organized immigrant hunts gets dressed up as an illegal immigrant and gets shot by the rednecks.
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination: Machete is hired to assassinate McLaughlin during a public rally. However, the attempted assassination is part of a False Flag Operation to gain public support for McLaughlin's secure border campaign.
  • 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.
  • Crossover: 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.
  • Dashing Hispanic: Machete himself. One villain says he's "CIA, FBI, DEA, all rolled up into one mean fucking burrito."
  • 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.
  • Determinator: Machete has a bullet in his head and got shot in his shoulder. This won't stop him from kicking ass.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • How did Machete's hit on McLaughlin go tits up? A second gunman was involved.
    • The nonfatal assassination itself has been compared to the shooting of former Taiwan president Chen Shubian, complete with "magic bullet" accusations (it grazed his belly).
    • A political assassination involving a man named Booth? Hmmmm...
    • It takes place in Texas (due to a mixture of Creator Provincialism and, well, it's cheaper to shoot where your studio is). True, Austin, but still.
    • The campaign adds comparing Mexican immigrants to vermin is similar to Jews being compared to rats in the Nazi propaganda film The Eternal Jew.
    • An American politician who lives in Texas and affects a Texan accent but isn't even from the South? Hmmmm.
  • Double Entendre: When the kidnapped girl starts feeling up Machete.
    Girl: What's this long, hard thing?
    Machete: My machete.
  • The Dragon: Booth officially serves as the right-hand man to Senator McLaughlin, but is also working for Torrez. He also has his own Dragon, whom he kills for screwing up one too many times.
  • Dual Wielding:
    • Machete with a pair of machetes vs. Torrez with his katana and wakizashi.
    • Sartana with her stiletto heels!
  • Dying Smirk: 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.
  • Easily Forgiven: McLaughlin is pretty easily forgiven by the Network once Von and his man turn on him. April is not so forgiving, though.
  • Epic Flail: Made from a nurse's belt and some surgical knives. Do NOT try this at home.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted. When Von Jackson kills a pregnant woman, Senator MacLaughlin half-heartedly calls him out on it, then he kills the husband with the same sadistic pleasure.
  • Exact Words: Machete tells Booth that April and June are with God. Booth assumes that they're dead, when they're actually in church.
  • 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 they weren't more thorough because he could be anybody, then realize their stupidity.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Luz gets one after she gets shot in the eye.
  • Exploitation Film: The whole movie is a love letter to the exploitation genre, particularly the little-known Mexploitation world.
  • Failed a Spot Check: When two Mooks defending Booth's mansion come across Machete, he bluffs his way past them by holding up a pickaxe and weedwhacker and saying "New gardener." One of the Mooks begins lecturing the other how everyone views illegals as common day-laborers and muses that any Mexican could just sneak past any security point by claiming to be a gardener... When the Mooks realize what they did, Machete's already got the weed whacker revved up.
  • Fake Assassination: At first it seems Machete's hired to kill the governor, but it turns out it's this trope when he's interrupted by another sniper, the plan being to wound the senator and kill Machete. Unfortunately, he survives.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • A naked girl at the beginning of the film removes a cell phone from her vagina and makes a call on it. Afterwards, she gets a bullet put in her head.
    • Normally two girls having sexual acts together in a swimming pool in a home porn movie would be hot but the fact that the two stars are mother and daughter makes this all the more Squick than Fanservice.
    • Booth admitting to the priest about secretly having the hots for his own daughter.
    • Luz getting shot and her eye socket blown out and exposed.
  • Fanservice:
    • Gratuitous nudity about three minutes into the movie from the girl Machete rescues. Too bad the girl in question gets blown away.
    • 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.
    • Michelle Rodriguez's Stripperiffic combat uniform. (Hell, her standard clothes - Daisy Dukes and spaghetti-strapped tank top - also count.)
  • Faux 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.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: Torrez apparently has one for Japan, down to using a katana to kill his victims and committing seppuku.
  • Gatling Good: Machete attaches a Gatling gun to his motorcycle, then rides over an explosion from nowhere to shoot a mob of Mooks.
  • Genre Throwback: To '70s exploitation/trash movies, especially in the vein of blaxploitation movies.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: April exploits and lampshades this trope by filming a porno film with her mother in their backyard swimming pool while her daddy is away at work. Then Machete joins them...
  • Godiva Hair: April, waking up in a church after having been fucked sensele... drugged by Machete. Her bosom obscured by her long blonde locks of hair. Though it doesn't always cover everything up.
  • 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.
  • Handicapped Badass: Luz gets one eye shot out midway through the film and spends the rest of it sporting an Eyepatch of Power.
  • Hand Cannon:
    • April's S&W500 in the final battle.
    • Luz's sawn-off - based on comments from IMFDB about the size of its barrels, it's 6-gauge.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: Jessica Alba poses nude in a shower 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.
  • 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 kill 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.
  • Hypocrite:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Idiot Ball: the mooks guarding Booth's mansion complain about people stereotyping all Mexicans as day laborers, and muse that any Mexican could just walk in unhindered if they said they were a day laborer. Unfortunately for them, they just let Machete in, who was pretending to be a gardener. Cue them staring at each other in realization while Machete gets out the weed whacker...
  • Ignore the Fanservice: After rescuing a young naked woman from an attack, the young woman is eager to reward Machete for his acts of chivalry. Machete would rather just rescue her and pays no attention to her nakedness or her seduction. This backfires on him as the woman stabs him and it all turned out to be a trap to get him.
  • 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. Sartana 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.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Not verbally, but Torrez says to Machete that beheading him would be the honorable way to kill him, but Machete doesn't deserve to die honorably. Torrez later commits seppuku.
    • The two guards bitching to the three hitmen Machete shoots during his escape from the assassination attempt.
    "I thought Jango shot you..." "I don't want to hear that story ever again."
    • Booth says, "I'm sending you to a convent" to his daughter early in the film. She dons a habit before the film's climax.
    • Von Jackson says "An eye for an eye" on shooting Luz. She turns out to be Not Quite Dead, but the bullet took out her eye.
  • 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.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Machete shows up with gardening tools, and the guards just let him in. And he actually IS dressed as a janitor earlier in the movie to get to his sniper perch.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Torrez' weapon of choice. Leads to a sword fight between katana-wielder and machete-wielder.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Osiris, who disappears before the climax, due to his death scene getting left on the cutting room floor. Averted in the sequel. 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: 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.
  • Kavorka Man: Played for Laughs by having women react to Danny Trejo like he's a handsome Chick Magnet, such is his irresistable manliness.
  • Language Barrier: Machete encounters a Mook who speaks to him in Hungarian. Machete stares at him confused, then the Mook says he was messing with him and explains what he said.
  • Love Father, Love Son: Machete manages to seduce (and drug) both June and her daughter April during their home movie shoot to get back at Booth.
  • 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 starlet 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.
  • Masked Luchador: One of the assassins attacking Machete and Sartana wears a Lucha mask to conceal the fact the Feds are now after Sartana.
  • May–December Romance: Machete (66-year-old Danny Trejo) gets it on with Luz (32-year old Michelle Rodriguez) halfway through the movie, kissed by sexy twin nurses, Nurse Mona and Nurse Lisa (24-year old Electra and Elise Avellan), makes love with April (25-year old Lindsay Lohan) and June (35-year old Alicia Rachel Marek) and in the end, rides off with Sartana (29-year-old Jessica Alba).
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Machete is not actually his nickname, it's his birth name. His full name is Machete Cortez. The original spelling of the surname (Cortés) means "Polite", while the one used in the movie could be translated as "Son of the Cut".
  • National Stereotypes: Plays with the Mexican stereotypes. The Mooks all seem to be Irish-American or Italian-American. Oh, and one Black guy, 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.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: McLaughlin is a far right-wing politician out of Texas, who isn't even from Texas originally. There are a few nods to Ron Paul's alleged white supremacist ties, as well. McLaughlin's platform bears little resemblance to even the most exaggerated caricature of Bush's actual immigration policies.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Machete does most of his damage with Improvised Weapons. And one Weaponized Motorcycle.
  • Off with His Head!: Machete decapitates a lot of people, including five guys with a single stroke in the opening scene.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • "You're telling me that Mexican day-laborer is a GODDAMN FEDERALE?!"
    • When Booth gets Machete's first-ever text message.
    • When the bad guys' plan for immigration begins falling apart...
    • When MacLaughlin realizes the nun he's talking to is April.
  • Only a Flesh Wound
    Machete: "I wasn't going to kill McLaughlin. I was only going to shoot him in the neck, to stop him from saying those stupid things."
  • One-Handed Shotgun Pump: Done by the priest. With two shotguns at once.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Steven Seagal as Torrez, who has zero accent, despite being a Mexican native who curses in Spanish. It's intentional of bad foreign villains of Grindhouse films, where foreign people... weren't.
  • Opportunistic Vendors: Parodied when the Mexican Network launch a raid on Torrez's base at the climax. After they bust the main gate open with their lowriders and storm the compound, a lone fellow pushing an ice-cream cart follows along, firing an Uzi in the air.
  • Oppressive Immigration Enforcement: Texan Senator McLaughlin is a racist bigot who campaigns heavily on immigration control and closing the border, with him openly comparing immigrants to vermin and his campaign video against them is deliberately shot to resemble antisemitic Nazi propaganda videos. Secretly he also has links to and accepts payments from the Mexican Drug lord Torrez, with his campaign to close the border really being to wipe out his completion and so it will be easier for Torrez to smuggle his own illegal products across. He likewise is linked to Von Jackson, the local Right-Wing Militia Fanatic group's leader, with McLaughlin regularly joining them to murder migrants crossing the river. By the end of the movie he's mistaken for a migrant by those same people and shot and killed by them.
  • 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.
  • Parental Incest: Booth confesses to impure thoughts about April. Meanwhile, she's filming porn with her mother.
  • Pervert Dad: Booth, who is overprotective of his daughter April and he secretly goes to Padre for confessionals of having impure thoughts about his own daughter.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Invoked when Machete hacks the encrypted files on Booth's computer. Realizing Booth has feelings for April, he correctly guesses the password is I♥April.
  • Plot Armor: Played for Black Comedy in the Action Prologue. Machete drives his car at some goons who open up with their automatic weapons, riddling Machete's partner while he remains unharmed. Then again he's probably so badass the bullets just bounced off him.
  • Plot Hole: As with most other tropes in this film, deliberately used as a throwback to poorly cut and hastily shot grindhouse films that were rife with these.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Interestingly subverted with Julio: He's not a white dude trying to be Latino, he's a white dude who was adopted as an infant by a Latino family, and grew up immersed in that culture, giving him a far more intimate understanding of it than most white people could ever have.
  • Punny Name: Luz's alter-ego, "Shé". Pronounced like Che. You know, overused Communist icon.
  • Rescue Sex: Subverted in the opening scene. Machete rescues a female kidnapping 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.
  • Retired Badass: Played straight with Padre. Heavily implied with Luz.
    "I don't kill anymore." "You don't kill any less, either."
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place: The plot gets kicked off when Machete's framed for assassination of a racist senator - Booth has no idea he just hired the wrong Mexican.
  • Rousing Speech: Given by Sartana to the Mexican workers, and it's appropriately cheesy.
  • Running Gag:
  • The Savage South: Insane Mexican mercenary runs amok in Texas.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: When Sartana gets pulled off the case, she decides to deliver all the evidence she has acquired from Machete to a news reporter.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Torrez mentions that normally, he bribes the authorities to leave him alone. Machete can't be bought.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Upon encountering Machete again after getting getting shot in the legs during Machete's escape from the framing, a mook immediately quits angrily.
  • Seppuku: When Machete mortally wounded Torrez, Torrez scornfully finishes himself off this way, to deny Machete to glory of killing him. Torrez has to pause, saying it hurts more than he thought it would, before pulling the blade all the way through.
  • Sequel Hook: "Machete... Will Return in... Machete Kills! And... Machete Kills Again!"
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Jeff Fahey was barely in the trailer and did not appear on a lot of promotional material, despite having more screen time than De Niro and Seagal.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the original Grindhouse trailer, Machete is seen inspecting a table full of weapons while John Carpenter's synthesizer score from Escape from New York plays, imitating a scene from that film.
    • A computer screen showing a projection of the Texas/Mexico border lined with electrical fencing resembles similar screens on the opening Info Dumps of Escape from New York and Escape from L.A..
    • And the wide shot of the four bad guys walking into the church seems to echo the DiVAS entering the church in Kill Bill
    • Luz in an eyepatch and stepping out of an ambulance covered in leather could homage Elle Driver and/or Snake Plissken. She even says "What eye?" in the same tone of voice Snake would.
    • Padre getting shot quite badly in the knee in the church echoes Marquez's injuries in Once Upon a Time in Mexico
    • And the Bloody Hilarious intestines...thing seems to echo El and Carolina's hotel escape in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, except that was a chain.
    • A gunfight against mob enforcers in a church while Ave Maria plays in the background is a reference to John Woo films.
    • Don't forget where the name Sartana comes from.
    • 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).
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: A rare example by a villain. Booth delivers his speech to McLaughlin about how much the senator needs him, and McLaughlin responds by shooting him.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The use of Ave Maria and Vicente Fernandez's "El Rey" during scenes of slaughter.
  • Spicy Latina: Not just Michelle Rodriguez, the poster girl for this trope, but also Jessica Alba who rarely plays this role, as well as several more. The nude woman in the opening scene also counts.
  • Spinoff: Of Grindhouse and Spy Kids, though the latter's only connected by a character name and actor (Word of God is that it's the same character though).
  • Spoiler Opening: You'll notice a difference between Luz in the opening credits and Luz in the movie. The one in the credits has an eyepatch...
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: During one scene, Machete is listed as the character's birth name.
  • The Stoic: Machete. Even when faced with the prospect of getting laid. And in the middle of sex.
  • Storming the Castle: The climax of the film. Rather appropriately, given the film's pro-immigration themes, the heroes are the ones trying to break into the fort.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain:
    • 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.
  • Trenchcoat Warfare: Machete carries a ludicrous number of blades inside his trenchcoat.
  • 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, which would be squicky if it was, since they have a sex scene halfway through the movie.
  • Useless Bystander Parent: June Booth, mother of April Booth, doesn't do anything to improve any situation except film secret swimming pool videos with her daughter and pass out when she finds out about her husband's fate. That's all.
  • 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 much Darker 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...
  • Villainous Incest: Booth confesses to impure thoughts about April.
  • The Voiceless: One Mexican only communicates with a sketchpad.
  • Weaponized Car: A whole fleet of these in the climax. Except that at some point they ran out of weapons and put in hydraulics instead.
  • 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.
    • After his wife is murdered, Machete's daughter disappears and is nowhere to be found.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: The white kid's buddy is an artist who draws perfect portraits of Sartana and Machete. What does he do in the final fight, when the nurses, Wrench Wenches and dishwashers are all packing heat? Just... run around sketching like mad, apparently.
  • Wilhelm Scream: One of the border vigilantes emits one in the climax before being squashed by a hydraulics-hopping lowrider.
  • "Will Return" Caption: The film ends with the narrator claiming "Machete will return in Machete Kills! And Machete Kills Again!".
  • 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, since it is meant to be a throwback to 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.


Video Example(s):



"Mexploitation film" in which a Mexican day laborer named Machete, played by Danny Trejo, becomes a hitman; also directed by Rodriguez. It would later be adapted into a real movie.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

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