There’s no confusion about who the villain is in Machete – it’s you.
More specifically, it’s you and the other 69% or so of American citizens who agree that we should have a say in who does and doesn’t come into our country by enforcing our immigration laws. There’s been a lot written about the race war angle of Machete, including a lot of back-pedaling from writer/director Robert Rodriguez himself. But it’s hard to see this script as anything but a sick MEChA-approved fantasy in which every Anglo man is a slobbering borderline savage who tortures Mexicans when not slaughtering them outright, and every Anglo woman a nymphomaniac yearning to strip down and have a crack at our hero Machete’s macho Mexican manhood.
Perhaps Rodriguez isn’t making an explicit plea for racial warfare, but Rodriguez’s crude racial stereotypes make Hitler’s Der Stürmer propaganda look like a subtle, sophisticated and affectionate commentary on Jewish culture. The script does not bat an eye as Machete butchers nearly every Anglo, innocent or “guilty,” who is unfortunate enough to cross his path. In the end, there is no doubt that Rodriguez is making the most overtly, outrageously and unrepentantly racist film in modern Hollywood history.
But Rodriguez does deserve props for one thing – in purely technical terms, this is one of the best-written scripts I’ve ever seen. It is vivid, coherent and flows smoothly, unlike the majority of unreadable Final Draft failures out there. There is not an ounce of flab. The “jokes” mostly fall flat, but Rodriguez will likely direct it with flair and style. It’s just too bad this movie combines the racial insights of a 1942 Robert Byrd with the collective moral sense of Enron’s Board of Directors.
Okay, the plot. The movie started as a fake trailer inside the largely unseen Grindhouse. It’s been expanded to fill 98 minutes, largely through the addition of more explosions, more bloodshed, and more breasts. Machete is a Mexican federale who gets sold out and left for dead by his compadres. Working as an illegal day laborer, an American business man pays him to kill a senator because the senator wants to ship the illegals home and all American businesses – in this fantasy world – run solely on illegal labor. Machete again gets sold out and left for dead by his compadres, which seems to be a theme, and promptly goes on a killing spree against pretty much everyone. Also, many, many girls shed their clothes. The end.
The cast is pretty solid for such a sordid little flick. Danny Trejo is Machete, and I’m hard-pressed to begrudge this great supporting actor the chance to headline a major movie because I think it is a moral sewer. If that was the test, pretty much no one in Hollywood would be headlining anything. Every casting director’s inexplicable go-to “tough girl” Michelle Rodriguez is in it, playing the same boring character she’s played in every other role she’s ever done. When it comes to always playing the same character she’s just like Michael Cera, except more masculine.
Jessica Alba is as beautiful as she is mindless and left-wing in real life. And she is very, very beautiful. Another lefty, Robert De Niro, fritters away still more of the nearly infinite goodwill he earned from Heat in yet another crummy role, this one as the red-neck, immigrant-hating senator. Does Bobby owe his bookie or something?
You should know that the script’s unremitting violence is truly horrifying. If this movie is even remotely faithful to the script, it’ll look like a guided tour through Ed Gein’s basement after a pissed-off Jackson Pollack had come through with a bucket of candy apple red Dutch Boy, a fifth of Jack Daniels and a snoot full of Bolivian coke.
That reminds me. Lindsay Lohan is in it too, so the drug-addled tramp movie-going demographic out there will have a rooting interest.
The underlying message of Machete, other than that all Anglos must die, echoes the unyielding stance of modern American liberalism that we, as a nation, are somehow morally foreclosed from performing the most basic function of a sovereign government – securing our borders. This is expressed throughout, but particularly in recurring scenes of “Minutemen” randomly hunting and killing illegals. I don’t expect hardcore realism from a movie called Machete, but if Rodriguez and his ilk actually cared for illegals more than as simple props in their long-running left-wing production of Why America Sucks, they might want to address the uncomfortable fact that the only people brutalizing Mexican illegals are other Mexicans.
Maybe they ought to premier Machete in Washington. After all, over half of our Congressmen and Senators seem to think its premises are solid. I’m still trying the get over the sight of the Democrats on their feet applauding that foreign tinpot Calderon for disrespecting our country. However, by the time the elections roll around I’ll probably see that footage again, oh, about 10,000 times as it becomes the centerpiece of any number of Republican campaign ads. Of course, I would not put it past the bondage club-patronizing halfwits in positions of authority at the RNC and elsewhere in the GOP establishment to talk themselves into a consensus that criticizing the liberals for siding with some foreigner against other Americans is somehow beyond the pale of respectable campaign discourse.
Called on the fact that this is shaping up to be to the reconquista nuts’ equivalent of what Birth of a Nation was to the Klan, Rodriguez has lately been arguing that his movie is just an “over-the-top” satire, though it’s unclear what he’s satirizing. He claims his changed to the script in the final edit, though the recent trailer created by Rodriguez himself shows that any changes he made actually seem to have made the movie more racially inflammatory, not less. Certainly, credulous media sources – including fanboy poster-behemoth Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News – have provided him cover while conservative critics like Big Hollwood’s own John Nolte have justifiably slammed him.
But Rodriguez can’t have his churros and eat them too – his movie vilifies a specific ethnic group and celebrates the indiscriminate slaughter of its members. Come on Robbie, embrace your inner David Duke! If you really believe your nonsense – and you do – make your racist movie and take your chances at the box office!
And yes, we’re hitting Rodriguez coming and going. He’s a wimp for buckling under and altering his vision and he’s a half-wit for having that vision in the first place. “Unfair,” cry the kind of people who think their application of their arbitrary and self-serving standard of “fairness” to an issue compels me to accept their shaky premises, “Rodriguez can’t win if you criticize him for his script and then also for changing it!” Sure he can win – he can stop believing stupid things. It’s actually astonishingly easy to do, Robert – just find a conservative and ask him how not to be an idiot.
The simple fact is that the Machete script is stunning in its overt racism. If the designated villains were Black, not Anglo, you’d instinctively check your calendar to see if you had suddenly been sent back in time to 1958 Mississippi.
Yeah, the word “racism” gets tossed around all too much. It’s gone from a term referring to a grossly stupid and un-American mindset where an individual’s worth is based solely upon his ancestry to an all-purpose debate-stopper employed by liberals who find themselves flailing against a tsunami of observable facts and empirical evidence demonstrating the total bankruptcy of their ideology. But the rampant, almost presumptive, misuse of the term “racism” does not mean that there is no such thing as racism.
There is, and it’s on display on the pages of Robert Rodriguez’s Machete script. In its pages, every Anglo man is a monster who deserves a brutal death and every Anglo woman is a whore. As a purely technical expression of the screenwriting art, it is a model of form and technique just as Birth of a Nation was a technical masterpiece of the film-making art. And, again like Birth of a Nation, whatever its technical qualities, Machete is also a hateful, morally bankrupt disgrace.