Machete Kills (also known as Robert Rodriguez's Machete Kills) is a 2013 American action exploitation film directed by Robert Rodriguez, with a screenplay by Kyle Ward, from a story by Robert and Marcel Rodriguez. Based on the eponymous character from the Spy Kids franchise, it is a sequel to Machete (2010), and is the third film based on a fake trailer in Grindhouse (2007). Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Tom Savini, Electra and Elise Avellan, Felix Sabates, and Jessica Alba reprise their roles from the first film, and are joined by series newcomers Mel Gibson, Demián Bichir, Amber Heard, Sofía Vergara, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa Vega, William Sadler, Marko Zaror, and Charlie Sheen (credited by his birth name of "Carlos Estévez"). The film follows the titular ex-federal (Trejo) as he is recruited by the U.S. President (Sheen) to stop an arms dealer (Gibson) and a revolutionary (Bichir).
|Directed by||Robert Rodriguez|
|Screenplay by||Kyle Ward|
|Distributed by||Open Road Films|
|Box office||$17.5 million|
Machete Kills was released in the United States on October 11, 2013, failing to recoup its budget of $20 million and received generally mixed reviews, with critics citing the overuse of plot points, poorly produced CGI, and the "out-of-place" science fiction elements.
Machete Cortez and agent Sartana Rivera attempt to arrest corrupt military members involved in a weapons deal with a Mexican drug cartel group. The gangsters wipe out the military team, but they in turn are wiped by another party of masked men headed by a luchador-masked leader who kills Sartana. Machete is arrested and hanged by corrupt Sheriff Doakes and Deputy Clebourne. However, he survives the hanging and the officers receive a call from the US President Rathcock. At the White House, Rathcock offers to wipe Machete's criminal record and grant him citizenship if he can confirm a threat from Marcos Mendez, a psychopath who wants to fire a nuclear missile at Washington, D.C. if the American government does not stop the cartels and the corrupt Mexican government.
Machete travels to San Antonio, where he meets handler and beauty contestant Blanca Vasquez. At Acapulco he looks for Cereza, who can lead him to Mendez, but is attacked by brothel madam Desdemona, who is Cereza's mother. As Mendez's beloved virgin, Cereza warns Machete's about Mendez's split personality. As they travel to Mendez's headquarters, Mendez's enforcer Zaror receives a call from Mendez, and shoots Cereza.
Machete learns that Mendez has wired the missile's launch device to his own heart so that if he dies, the missile fires. Mendez kills the device's designer and activates its 24-hour timer. Killing Zaror along the way, Machete intends to escort Mendez to the US and find a way to disarm the missile. Mendez shares that he is a self-proclaimed secret agent who tried to expose his corrupt superiors, only to be betrayed and forced to watch his wife and family being tortured and killed, causing him to develop the split personality.
As they head to the border, a hit is put on Machete, and the two are targeted by multiple assailants including: Desdemona and her prostitute assassins; a shapeshifting hitman called El/La Camaleón; Doakes and Clebourne; and various locals. Machete and Mendez evade the assailants, only to be caught by a reborn Zaror and the masked mercenaries who killed Sartana. Zaror decapitates Mendez, and Machete is riddled with bullets.
Machete wakes up to find himself in a healing tank. He meets businessman and weapons inventor Luther Voz, who has kept Mendez's beating heart preserved in a jar. Voz shares his plan to manipulate extremists throughout the world to fire nuclear weapons at each other, to escape to an orbiting space station to rebuild society in space, and to have Machete succeed Zaror as a prototype for his army of cloned enforcers. Machete escapes the facility, meeting up with his old comrade Luz, who then refers him to Osiris, a former enemy who has since joined Luz's network and could possibly disarm the device.
Machete contacts Vasquez to update her on progress, but is betrayed and ambushed at their meeting since Vasquez has sided with Voz. Machete follows her to the desert by jumping on her vehicle's rooftop, but is thrown off. Machete gets a ride from El Camaleón, who tries to kill him one last time, but he escapes, leaving El Camaleón to be killed by a racist group of rednecks on border patrol. Machete and Luz's Network infiltrate a fundraiser at Voz's base of operations, but Voz shoots the jar and kills Osiris. Machete realizes Voz was the masked man who killed Sartana and fights him. He severely burns Voz's face, forcing him to retreat and don a metallic silver mask. Meanwhile, Vasquez shoots Luz in her good eye, completely blinding her. Luz fights and kills Vasquez, but she in turn is frozen in carbonite and captured by Voz.
While Voz and his group depart to space, Machete jumps on Mendez's missile as it launches, disarming it in mid-air, and sending it into the Rio Grande. Rathcock's forces retrieve Machete; he tells him that the other missiles have been disarmed. Learning that Voz is in space, Rathcock then asks Machete to follow them there on a SpaceX rocket.
Framing the beginning and end of the film are trailers that promote Machete Kills Again...In Space.
- Danny Trejo[a] as Machete Cortez, an ex-Federale agent who is recruited by the President of the United States to investigate Mendez
- Michelle Rodriguez[a] as Luz, aka Shé, the leader of an illegal immigrant aid movement known as the Network; which is investigating the mysterious disappearances of migrant workers. Rodriguez reprises her role from the first film.
- Mel Gibson as Luther Voz, a businessman in advanced military weapons technology. Voz is loosely based on entrepreneur Elon Musk; Robert Rodriguez said that he was inspired to make Voz a Star Wars junkie after having met Musk at a Hollywood party and touring Musk's SpaceX facility.
- Sofía Vergara as Madame Desdemona, the madam of a bordello in Acapulco, she has a number of weaponized clothing articles.
- Amber Heard as "Miss San Antonio" Blanca Vasquez, a beauty contestant in Texas who serves as Machete's handler for the Mendez mission.
- Demián Bichir as Marcos Mendez, a revolutionary who has a split personality, believed to have a nuclear missile aimed at the United States.
- Carlos Estévez as President Rathcock (credited as Mr. President), the American president who personally hires Machete for the mission.
- Walton Goggins as El Camaleón 1, one of the identities of the Chameleón.
- Cuba Gooding Jr. as El Camaleón 2, one of the identities of the Chameleón.
- Lady Gaga[a] as La Camaleón, one of the identities of the Chameleón.
- Antonio Banderas as El Camaleón 4, one of the identities of the Chameleón.
- Vanessa Hudgens as Cereza, Desdemona's daughter. Mendez considers her his cereza, his "virgin".
- Alexa Vega[a] as Killjoy, Desdemona's henchwoman. Although she played Carmen in the Spy Kids films, she convinced Robert Rodriguez to cast her in the film as she was no longer a kid, at 24 years old.
Jessica Alba reprises her role as Sartana Rivera in an uncredited cameo appearance. Tom Savini reprises his role as Osiris Amanpour, an assassin who has since become a priest, joining Luz's Network. Robert Rodriguez's twin nieces Electra and Elise Avellan reprise their roles as Nurse Mona and Nurse Lisa.
The film was produced by Robert Rodriguez, as well as Aaron Kaufman and Iliana Nikolic, through their QuickDraw Productions, Sergei Bespalov of Aldamisa Films, Alexander Rodnyansky of AR Films, and Rick Schwartz of Overnight Productions.
The film has Charlie Sheen credited under his birth name Carlos Estévez. Expected to be a one-time move, it was Sheen's idea to use his birth name for the film, due to the film's Hispanic theme. The trailer and opening credits for the film use an "and introducing..." tag when showing Sheen's birth name.
Machete Kills received mainly mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 30%, based on 121 reviews, with the critical consensus "While possessed with the same schlocky lunacy as its far superior predecessor, Machete Kills loses the first installment's spark in a less deftly assembled sequel." At Metacritic, which assigns a rating based on reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received a score of 41 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indictating "mixed or average reviews".
At the end of the first film's theatrical version, two sequels are mentioned, Machete Kills and Machete Kills Again. The trailer for the third film titled, Machete Kills Again... In Space, precedes the second film as a "Coming Attraction". In 2015, Trejo told Halloween Daily News that the third film is happening. Since then nothing was announced about the movie.
- Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Alexa Vega, and Lady Gaga are also mentioned by name in the in-film trailer for Machete Kills Again in Space
- "MACHETE KILLS (15)". Lionsgate. British Board of Film Classification. September 24, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
- Mendelson, Scott (August 10, 2013). "Review: 'Machete Kills' Fires Blanks". Forbes. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- "Machete Kills (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- Buchanan, Jason. "Machete Kills". Allmovie. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Neumaier, Joe (October 10, 2013). "'Machete Kills,' movie review". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Lloyd, Kenji (May 4, 2012). "Amber Heard joins Brilliant Cast of Robert Rodriguez's Machete Kills as an Assassin". HeyUGuys. UK. Retrieved July 10, 2012.
- Atkinson, Katie (July 17, 2013). "'Machete Kills' exclusive: Watch Michelle Rodriguez in action". Entertainment Weekly.
- Trumbore, Dave (April 23, 2012). "Mel Gibson Joins Robert Rodriguez's Machete Kills". Collider. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- Alexander, Bryan (October 9, 2013). "Mel Gibson apes Tesla's Elon Musk in 'Machete Kills'". USA Today.
- Vejvoda, Jim (May 7, 2012). "Sofia Vergara Joins Machete Kills". IGN. Archived from the original on June 11, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- Boucher, Geoff (March 7, 2013). "Sofia Vergara's bra racks up 'Machete Kills' body count". Entertainment Weekly.
- Sneider, Jeff (May 3, 2012). "Amber Heard swings 'Machete Kills'". Variety. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- Chitwood, Adam (May 2, 2012). "Demian Bichir Joins Machete Kills and William Friedkin's Trapped; Was in the Mix for Villain Role in Star Trek 2". Collider. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- Toro, Gabe (October 9, 2013). "Review 'Machete Kills' Starring Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Mel Gibson, Demian Bichir & Carlos Estevez". Indiewire.
- Gross, Joe (September 20, 2013). "Fantastic Fest review: Machete Kills". Austin American-Statesman. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
- Graham, Bill (September 19, 2013). "[Fantastic Fest Review] Machete Kills". The Film Stage. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- Hayes, Britt (September 20, 2013). "'Machete Kills' Review". ScreenCrush. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
- Maloy, Sarah (July 26, 2012). "Lady Gaga's 'Machete Kills' Character Poster Unveiled". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
- Franzese, Ryan (August 1, 2012). "After The Cut – Machete Kills Adds Vanessa Hudgens". Archived from the original on August 30, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- Vega, Alexa [@alexavega] (June 26, 2012). "RR gave the ok for a sneak peek...@machetekills KillJoy" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Radish, Christina (October 11, 2013). "Machete Kills Interview: Alexa Vega Talks Convincing Robert Rodriguez". Collider. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- Bowles, Scott (October 10, 2013). "'Machete' kills the fun with overload of violence". USA Today.
- Eddy, Cheryl (September 18, 2020). "A Tribute to Horror Icon Tom Savini's Most Memorable Acting Roles". Gizmodo.
- Barton, Steve (June 28, 2012). "Machete Kills Cast Gets a Double Dose of Hot with Electra and Elise Avellan". Dread Central. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
- Trumbore, Dave (June 27, 2012). "Electra and Elisa Avellan MACHETE KILLS, Cloris Leachman RAGING BULL 2, JoAnna Garcia THE INTERNSHIP". Collider. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- Barton, Steve (August 20, 2012). "Marko Zaror Fights His Way Through Machete Kills". Dread Central. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- Barton, Steve (June 28, 2012). "William Sadler Stalks Machete Kills". Dread Central. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- Wiese, Jason (May 1, 2021). "Elon Musk: 9 TV And Movie Appearances Before Hosting Saturday Night Live". Cinema Blend.
- Rodriguez, Robert [@Rodriguez] (June 10, 2012). "MACHETE KILLS today! (principal photography begins)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Rodriguez, Robert [@Rodriguez] (July 28, 2012). "Twitter, Just wrapped MACHETE KILLS" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "'Machete Kills' Will Slice Into Theaters on September 13". ComingSoon.net. January 15, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
- Wigler, Josh (January 30, 2013). "Lindsay Lohan Not In 'Machete' Sequel, Robert Rodriguez Confirms". MTV. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- Rodriguez, Cindy Y. (September 17, 2013). "Adios Charlie Sheen, hello Carlos Estevez". CNN (published June 5, 2013).
- "Open Road Pushes Back Machete Kills and Homefront". ComingSoon.net. June 20, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
- Vena, Jocelyn (October 10, 2013). "Lady Gaga's 'Aura': Hear It Now In The New 'Machete Kills' Video". MTV News.
- "Machete Kills – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- "Machete Kills (2013): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
- Welch, Andy (January 16, 2014). "Lady Gaga nominated for Razzie award for 'Machete Kills'". NME.
- Buchanan, Kyle (July 22, 2011). "Robert Rodriguez Tells Vulture About Machete in Space, Sin City 2, and Fire and Ice". Vulture.
- Chitwood, Adam (July 21, 2011). "Comic-Con 2011: Robert Rodriguez Updates on MACHETE Sequels and SIN CITY 2; Announces HEAVY METAL Remake". Collider.
- Anders, Charlie Jane (July 21, 2011). ""Robert" Rodriguez's next projects: sin city 2, heavy Metal, frank Frazetta... and machete in space!'". io9.
- Artz, Matt (April 2, 2015). "Danny Trejo Confirms 'Machete Kills In Space' Filming This Year [Exclusive]". Halloween Daily News.