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I had more fun watching MACHETE ($40) than I did watching the vast majority of the films I’ve seen in the last year… most of which cost ten times as much as this little crowd pleaser. MACHETE is destined to be a home video favorite and a movie that I am going to wholeheartedly recommend in the second sentence of this review. Originating as a fake trailer attached to Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez’s GRINDHOUSE, MACHETE has been expanded by co-writer/co-director Rodriguez into an over-the-top seventies styled exploitation film that is as hilarious as it is violent. In his first starring role, long time character actor Danny Trejo successfully makes the transition to action movie star and leaves the audience wanting to see further exploits of his character.

The premise of MACHETE finds Trejo in the role of Machete Cortez, a former Mexican Federale, who was betrayed by his corrupt chief and left for dead by drug lord, Rogelio Torrez (Steven Seagal), the man that also murdered ex-Federale’s wife and daughter. Three years later Machete turns up in Texas as just another illegal immigrant/day laborer scratching out a living doing yard work. Local businessman, Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey), picks up Machete and offers him $150,000 to kill Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro), whose anti-immigrant policies threaten the cheap labor pool. However, the hit turns out to be a double cross, with Machete being set up to take the fall in a botched assassination attempt… one designed to turn public opinion against illegals. However, Machete doesn’t roll over and die as Booth had planned, with the ex-Federale blazing a trail of bloody vengeance destined for the men who set him up. The cast of MACHETE also features Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Lindsay Lohan, Daryl Sabara and Tom Savini.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made MACHETE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Shot with the Panavision Genesis cameras, MACHETE sports a truly terrific 1080p presentation on Blu-ray. End to end digital works to the advantage of an innovative moviemaker like Robert Rodriguez, who pulls off surprisingly effective production values on a shoestring budget. Image sharpness, dimensionality and texturing are impressive, as is the excellent levels of fine detail, which is well represented in every bit of craggy, leathery character found in Danny Trejo’s face. Colors are fully saturated, with flesh tones that sometimes look fully baked under the Texas and Mexican sun. Blacks are pure, as are the whites, plus the contrast is fairly smooth. Shadow detail is also pretty terrific. The elements from which MACHETE have been digitally tinkered with, adding scratches and imperfections to the image for artistic reasons. Various amounts of grain/noise have also been applied to the image for similar reasons.

MACHETE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. No surprises here, MACHETE sports an aggressively mixed, action movie sound design that perfectly complements the film’s over the top visuals. All the outlying channels engage to deliver a dizzying array of sound effects, which zip, whip and ricochet all over the sound field. Machetes cut through the air, as well trough necks and other body parts, while bullets fly in all directions. Thanks to the lossless encode, there is terrific clarity for the film’s music, as well as the fully convincing sound effects. The bass channel is percussive and provides impact to the gunfire, crashes and explosions. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras. An Audience Reaction Track is the chief extra, with Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailers and bonus trailers closing things out. Disc two features a Digital Copy of the film.

As I stated above, MACHETE is an over-the-top seventies styled exploitation film that is as hilarious as it is violent. The Blu-ray presentation rocks. I wholeheartedly recommended MACHETE in the second sentence of this review, so why aren’t getting your own copy by now.


Machete [Blu-ray] (2010)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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