Machete Kills

By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on October 09, 2013

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Dear Elise and Electra Avellan

Dear Elise,

How do I put this nicely? Without even knowing who you were, I could smell the nepotism the second you appeared onscreen in Machete Kills. Put bluntly, it was your lack of sex appeal. You play nurses dressed like…well, actual nurses (the kinds that help people, but with machine guns). Unfortunately there's just no place for that kind of conservative reality in this exploitation universe. But this kind of mistake is typical when family members are cast. Your beloved uncle has castrated his earlier vision of the Mexican vigilante with boring violence, recycled gags, and silhouetted sex scenes. Machete has become a bloody _Austin Powers _ripoff. Unacceptable.

The worst offense of all, of course, is the film's lack of nudity.

Female nudity, particularly. There's none. I know that we're not supposed to come right out and say it (as esteemed film critics), but it's true. The original Machete was a testosterone paradise of bullets, blood and boobs. And, yes, all three are equally crucial to the success of the genre. Comedies need to create laughs. Dramas need to create empathy. Horror movies need to inspire fear and science fiction needs to inspire awe. So when it comes to BIG DUMB B-movies, one needs to create a world where boyish fantasies come true. Not just with a hero-saves-the-day story, but the naughty stuff. The look-over-your-shoulder-in-case-your-parents-suddenly-walk-in experience. I can't tell you how many movies me and other young men have sat through on the mere titillating prospect.

Unfortunately, Chekov's proverbial machine gun bra never does come off.

So why am I directing this complaint at you? Because you're close to the film's director/writer/producer/editor/cinematographer/composer Robert Rodriguez.

As his nieces, you're probably too close - and that's the problem. He needs to hack away the guilty conscience that obviously interfered with the making of this film. You were both in the original film (fully clothed, of course), and that film really hit the right balance of parody and excitement. But something has changed. The fun is gone and Machete Kills is simply going through the motions.

For example, Alexa Vega is all grown-up and sexed-up in the film after starring in four Spy Kids movies with Rodriguez. However, as confidently as she fills out the full metal bra and assless chaps, there's a clear guilt in his camera's male gaze that refuses to linger. I don't think she even gets a line of dialogue. His regret of giving her the Spring Breakers/Miley Cyrus treatment is obvious. He's starting to feel like a dirty old man, and we can tell.

Well, tell him to move over. Because some of us have clearly not grown up and want our B-movies back.

Pouting in the corner,


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