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Machete Mayhem

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"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, 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. Unlike a scythe, you can actually kill someone with it. And unlike a gun, you don't have to reload it, you can guarantee that a strike will kill a victim, and you don't have to worry about aiming. 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. Early in the Caribbean, it was a necessary tool for picking sugarcane. 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 much of Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa. 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.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Yu Lan chases Kaname with a machete in Full Metal Panic!.
  • In Future Diary, the Serial Killer Takao Hiyama uses a machete as his weapon. An alternate version of him shown in Paradox ended up killing himself when Akise tricked him into stabbing an electric power box.
  • In Gamaran the shogun Super Soldier Karai wields a Falchion with all the grace and skill of a Master Swordsman, combined with his high agility and knowledge of martial arts.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, brainwashed disciple Pengulu Sankan is a gigantic brute with a creepy mask who, as if being trained by the psychopath Silkwat Junazard wasn't enough, wields humongous curved machetes as his weapon of choice, carrying several more on his person alongside karambit knives. Due to his brainwashing, he has little personality beyond brutal murder machine.
  • A one-shot character in One Piece is the former pirate captain "Machete" Run, so called for Dual Wielding two large machetes (though he's so huge they look like knives compared to his bulk). Thanks to Law's powers, he has become a Spider centaur able to wield two more machetes in his front legs.
  • Shows up in Sailor Moon, of all places: Sailor Uranus' Space Sword is a falchion, one of the European cousins of the machete.
  • The recurring villain PoH from Sword Art Online has the Mate Chopper, an oversized knife with a cleaver-point blade.

  • Knife, an enemy of Batwoman, uses a machete against her in issue #3 of Batwoman (Rebirth).
  • Bones from Burlap wields a machete that's half his height.
  • 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 Works 
  • 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.
  • 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." Rimwards Howondalandians crop up in the writings of A.A. Pessimal: there is, for instance, the story The Black Sheep.

    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. Flailing around with it during his Villainous Breakdown while entangled in treetop vines severs all of them but one - which hangs him.

    Film - Live-Action 

  • Dr. Franklin's Island: The castaways 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.
  • Emberverse: 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.
  • The Executioner: Mack Bolan often operates against terrorists, pirates, drug runners, and other disreputable sorts in Southeast Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world where machete usage is common. In the process, he sometimes encounters machete-wielding Mooks. Occasionally, he will use the mook's own weapons against them or will be carrying a machete of his own for use both as a jungle tool and a weapon.
  • Night Lords: Septimus, slave of the 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.
  • The Zabajaba Jungle: Wielded by protagonist Leonard in this William Steig creation (though referred to as a bolo in the text, it clearly resembles and is used as a machete).
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Silver Potato is known for wielding a machete in Kaiju Big Battel and went so far as to kill Pablo Plantain with it. He then tried to go for a clean sweep and kill Pedro Plantain with it too, but failed.
  • Jessicka Havok tried to kill Mercedes Martinez with a machete after she was rendered immobile at WSU's first War Games (causing Brittney Savage to forfeit). Havok would 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 they bought him off.
  • Leva Bates, as part of her imitation gimmick, has incorporated machetes into her entrance attire... and had one turned on her by Nevaeh.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • Even Magic: The Gathering gets in on the action in Zendikar block, with Trusty Machete being the most visible example.
  • 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). They're also one of the two most accessible, reliable, and effective melee weapons, the other being the fire axe. Both are absolutely lethal, loosely controlled and available at any gardening/utility store at prices any character can meet.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Orks, especially Slugga Boyz, carry choppas (crudely made melee weapons) and can be made in the shape of jagged machetes (though axes seem more "Orky").

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Freedom Cry: Adéwalé picks a rusty machete off the beach after he's stranded by a storm and continues using machetes for the remainder of the story.
  • 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.
  • BioShock 2 has a machete skin for the player's melee weapon in multiplayer.
  • Being a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of Machete, this is the weapon of choice of Brochete in Broforce. His primary attack has him throw a machete straight ahead, impaling mooks, while his secondary attack has him throw a barrage of them and can be aimed.
  • 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.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II features a machete as an optional melee weapon in some missions.
  • Dawn of War: the Ork builder units, Gretchin Squads, have Choppas that look like big machetes. Being grots their bodies are too small and weak to make good on it and their low morale points means they flee more easily than Orks.
  • This is the weapon used by the Trapper (an expy of Jason Voorhees) in Dead by Daylight.
  • 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.
  • A machete is Cliff's Weapon of Choice in Dead Rising.
  • 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 were covered in heavy vegetation.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has machetes that are quite obviously made from broken lawnmower 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. There is a weapon called the "Machete Gladius" used by high-ranking Legionaries, but it's not a machete or a gladius, it's a kukri.
    • 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.
  • Far Cry and its first two sequels have the machete as the primary melee weapon, while the fourth game uses a kukri for similar purposes. 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 by bashing them with the hilt. The machete also returns as the main melee weapon of the sixth game.
  • In Golden Sun's prologue/tutorial, your weapon is a machete. It's only usable during the prologue, and unobtainable later on.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 includes a machete as a melee weapon for clearing away troublesome patches of zombies. The trope is in full effect since all the melee weapons being One-Hit Kills means it's only their attack speed and the radius of their swings that differentiates them - and alongside the nightstick as its blunt counterpart, the machete is the fastest-swinging and with a decently-wide reach (the katana and golf club have a wider swing but are slower). In sheer damage per-second potential both pale in comparison to the chainsaw, but it has other problems.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Link can obtain machetes by disarming or defeating Bokoblins. Besides their use in smashing through wooden barriers, they can serve as a stronger alternative to the Hero's Sword (until the player obtains the Master Sword).
  • 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.
  • 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 High Frequency machetes dubbed "Bloodlust". He can either wield one in each hand or attach them together to become a Shear Menace. 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 HF Machetes. Raiden can unlock this weapon, which sacrifices range for speed.
  • Mortal Kombat:
  • Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend added three throwable melee weapons to the arsenal; the first among them is a machete that comes back to you... and that the local Pitbull population can play fetch with.
  • Red Dead Redemption II: a machete becomes available for purchase as your melee weapon late in the game. Before that, it's a commonly used weapon by the Swamp People, so you can instead loot it from their corpses the moment you're able to go to that region.
  • Chris from Resident Evil 5 uses a machete as his default melee weapon. His partner uses a knife. Some Majini also wield them, as do Ganados in the previous game.
  • It's the favorite melee weapon of the Sons of Samedi in Saints Row 2.
  • One of Sakon Shima's huge swords in Samurai Warriors 2 is an oversized machete.
    • Likewise, Guan Ping from Dynasty Warriors also has a giant machete as one of his weapons.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Grineer in Warframe manufacture a high-tech machete with a glowing blade, used by their Scorpion troops. It's a pretty terrible weapon in player hands (sometimes being called a "mashitty"), though the limited edition Machete Wraith is a great weapon. There is a limited time Prisma Machete that can be bought from Baro Ki'teer on occasion, and the Tenno Lab in the Dojo can make the Gazal Machete, which synergizes with the Djinn Sentinel's "Fatal Attraction" skill, adding bonus Corrosive Damage per kill made with the weapon.
  • Luke from The Walking Dead: Season Two keeps one strapped to his thigh, but will also use a gun if he has one when things get dangerous.
  • 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.
  • The Ranger class from XCOM 2 has a machete as the basic melee weapon. Fitting for soldiers that are part of La Résistance.

    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 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: While traversing the Foggy Swamp, Sokka uses a machete to hack away at the undergrowth and foliage (which Aang cautions against as the swamp is later revealed to be semi-sentient).
  • The Simpsons:
    • From Season 20 onwards, the opening sequence shows Bart zigzagging around several people on the street, including Sideshow Bob, who attempts to hack at Bart with a machete.
    • The Couch Gag for The Good, the Sad and the Drugly shows the Simpson family hacking through foliage with machetes to reach the couch, only to encounter their Simian doppelgängers already seated.
    • In Livin’ La Pura Vida, the family goes on vacation to Costa Rica, and Bart is excited to be in a country where kids carry machetes (he’s shown wielding one at various points in the episode.

    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 bolo, and other Filipino bladed implements like it, have been used in quite a few conflicts in the Philippines; most notably in the Philippine Revolution, the Philippine-American War, and more recently in the Pacific Theater of WWII.
    • The bolo is such a common weapon that 'to bolo' is an American term meaning 'to fail;' specifically, a test. This comes from the fact that whenever troops in the Philippines have failed their marksmanship tests, they're only issued a bolo so as to save precious ammo. That being said, the bolo is still a dangerous weapon in the hands of a skilled eskrimador... as Imperial Japanese soldiers may have found out the hard way.
    • While Eskrima practitioners are known for Dual Wielding a pair of short rattan sticks, it's noted that you're not SUPPOSED to treat the sticks as literal sticks/staves, but as dulled/practice swords—many strikes can let the wielder switch to knives with minimal fuss.
  • The Fascine or Gabion 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 than its shape. Some for instance were two-edged and the French army favored a fascine knife-shaped rather like a gladius.
    • Fittingly enough, the gladius was indeed as close as you can get to a machete back during The Glory That Was Rome. Its relatively small size meant that it was a viable weapon for both slashing and stabbing, made it easier to use a large shield in the offhand, and was heavy enough to cut through vegetation if necessary. Still, it's mainly used to subject its victims to being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice from the safety of a scutum.
  • 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 woodcutting purpose and relied on the hatchet or axe.
    • European cultures used the billhook - which is adequate for clearing European shrubs, but nowhere near as cool as the machete.
  • 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. In German-speaking countries the utilitarian short sword is still part of the traditional big-game hunter's attire.
  • 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 Ethiopian Shotel is a similar weapon that combines this with Sinister Scimitar and an equal helping of Sinister Scythe; it's a sickle-sword that's mostly known for being used as a weapon that can hook around shields. Still, depending on the skill of the smith, it's still very capable of cutting through vegetation.
  • The Dominican American Street Gang is infamous for the fact they use machetes rather than guns or knives as their main weapon.
  • On a similar note, the naval cutlass is as close as one can get to a machete during the Age of the Sail. The cutlass was primarily intended for cutting rope, but it also served quite well as a machete whenever sailors were on shore. It was also short, which made it ideal for the close confines of a ship. Nowadays, a machete is now referred to as a 'cutlass' in the English-speaking Caribbean.
  • El Baile del Machete is a traditional Mexican dance where the participants dual wield machetes and frequently clash them against the floor, against the other machete or, in some variants, with the machetes of the other dancers. Safe versions have the dancers only use dull metal in order to keep the sound. Done with actual machetes, the objective is to make sparks fly out of them.
  • Quite possibly the forerunner of the modern machete would have to be the Medieval falchion. It's got a large, single-edged, often straight and thick blade that could be used in one hand, and simple enough to use that it's become the European equivalent of the Sinister Scimitar. The idea behind it being that it had the simplicity and power of an axe so as to be a menace even to armored opponents, while still having the capabilities of a sword. It also comes in a variety of shapes and sizes for different utilities, such as cleaver-falchions which are used to butcher meat on hunts.
  • While it seems to be more on the Sinister Scimitar side in appearance, the Chinese dandao (better known as the broadsword, or Chinese saber) is sometimes referred to in translation as a machete. To that end, modern machetes can be used with Chinese dandao forms... Taken Up to Eleven if the practitioner is Dual Wielding them.
    • Another related weapon would be the hudiedao of Southern China. While their design differs between owners, they're short enough to be oversized knives but large enough that they can chop and slice very well. Their small size makes them versatile in a close-quarters fight and makes them easier to dual-wield (which helps that they always have a d-guard with a blade-catcher).
  • During World War II, Australian paratroopers operating in jungle environments were issued with a combination machete-bayonet.
  • The gauchos of Argentina are known to favor the facon as their Weapon of Choice. These are often smaller blades, but they can get to a length where they may as well be small swords.
  • There's a reason why Kukris Are Kool; the shape of the recurve blade lends itself very well to chopping and hacking motions, which is very good if you're trying to cut through thick branches. Because of this, you'll sometimes find a kukri-machete.
    • The Macedonian army under Alexander the Great used a peculiar curved sword called a kopis. It was originally developed as a hunting knife, and means of personal protection. However, when formalizing Macedon's military King Philip II recognized that this sword was particularly deadly when used on horseback. It became the main weapon of the Macedonian cavalry. It also functioned as a sidearm for infantry and archers. It's not clear whether the sword design itself was originally from Egypt, and made its way to the Balkans via trade, or whether the Greeks borrowed the name of the kopesh to describe this sword. In any case, they were similar in design. The difference is that the Macedonian kopis was bent at a much more acute angle so that it was similar in appearance to an oversized kukri. This despite the fact that Alexander and his troops had never seen a kukri until they arrived in Sogdia.
    • The Iberian Falcata was a similar weapon that was standard-issue to Hannibal's troops when he took on Rome.
  • In the world of bladesports, we have a knife that's known as the 'competition chopper', a slightly forward-heavy, cleaver-like blade that is suited for nothing but chopping.
  • While better-known for his knives, William E. Fairbairn also developed a bladed implement in WWII known as the "smatchet", a double-edged, sword-machete hybrid with a leaf-shaped blade that was intended for use by troops without a rifle and bayonet.


Video Example(s):


Top Gear Bolivia Special

James doesn't like heights, and threatens Jeremy with a Machete after he ran into the back of him on Death Road.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / MacheteMayhem

Media sources: