By Arturo R. García and Thea Lim
Arturo: I’ll be the first to admit it: it’s easier to talk about Machete than it is to review it. On one level, this is a “critic-proof” movie, because it was ostensibly made by Robert Rodríguez as a no-brainer successor to Planet Terror, with Danny Trejo taking his archetypal (and stereotypical?) Tough Guy character into leading-man status. And, as a guy who whooped it up along with everybody else when the original faux trailer screened after Planet Terror in theatres, I really wanted to like this flick.
But I didn’t, and was having a hard time talking about it. Enter my illustrious colleague Thea.
Thea: I was all ready to waltz around the digital Racialicious office singing the praises of Machete, when it was brought to my attention that Arturo gave the film two really big thumbs down. So I suggested we have a pop culture critics’ FACEOFF!!! Or rather, ahem, a friendly chat.
Thea: So, I thought Machete was a lot of fun.
Arturo: I thought it was a dull rehash of Planet Terror and Once Upon A Time In Mexico.
Thea: I have seen a bunch of Robert Rodriguez’s movies, but I don’t think I’m as learned in his oeuvre as you.
Arturo: R. Rodriguez seemingly couldn’t decide whether he wanted to go full-on over-the-top or craft an “epic.”
Thea: How do you think that your disappointment with the overall quality of the film connects to the race/gender stuff in the film? I was interested in the question that you posed — let me just directly quote you: “If you put a progressive message in an “intentionally bad” film, do you reduce it to a punchline?” Continue reading