Tag Archives: revenge


Hired to assassinate a politician, vigilante and ex-Federale Machete (Danny Trejo) nearly dies when a sniper shoots him during the job. Out for revenge, he’s joined by a reluctant old buddy (Cheech Marin) who’s become a pacifist priest. Written and co-directed by Robert Rodriguez, this homage to exploitation films based on his fake trailer in Grindhouse co-stars Robert De Niro, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba and Steven Seagal.

Rating: 8 out of 10

No one else on the planet could have played Agent Machete other than Danny Trejo. He is the low-keyed, cool-as-ice bad ass with a scarred face and a body covered in tattoos. His delivery of this likable man who slashes bad guys in all kinds of disgustingly fun ways makes this movie successful.

This is an absurd action movie — as most are — but is done with a campy style, similar to “Grindhouse” where this movie spawned. It was a fake trailer that showed before the movie, also directed by Robert Rodriguez, and I was pumped to see it get its own feature-length film. Rodriguez is an intriguing director. He takes on action and horror films by and large but never loses his sense of humor. This movie is extraordinarily violent — there’s a scene where Machete cuts open a man’s stomach and uses his intestines like a rope to swing out a window — but it’s always with a tongue-in-cheek flair that made me laugh because it’s so impossible. It’s also a smart script with a fantastic cast — De Niro is in his element as the racist, Texas conservative hellbent on getting illegal aliens out, and Alba is sharp as a Latino immigration agent who is conflicted about busting her people. Michelle Rodriguez is her usual self as the tough and sexy leader of a network that helps immigrants get work and shelter. All of their worlds collide with a Mexican drug dealer played by Steven Seagal. The support roles were excellent. It was nice to see Don Johnson return in one of the most evil roles in the film and Cheech Marin’s character was a nice addition as Machete’s brother who is a priest.

Wrap a revenge action story and camp humor around a subtext of immigration and you’ve got a fun film that never loses its sense of self. It’s not for everyone, but if you liked “Grindhouse” and “Death Proof” or are a fan of 70s exploitation films, you’ll love this movie.

Edge of Darkness

Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson), a single father, has been a Boston homicide detective for many years. His 24-year-old daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic), his only child, is killed on the front steps of his home. At first it appears that Craven was the intended target. He soon learns his daughter led a secret life that led to her murder. He quickly finds himself confronted with a shadowy world of corporate collusion with government-sanctioned murder. In the process he collides with a secret government operative, Darius Jedburgh (Gbenga Akinnagbe), whose job is to clean up and hide any remaining evidence. Directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale).

Rating: 6 out of 10

I’m a big Mel Gibson fan and it’s easy to forget about the professional Mel versus the personal Mel.  The personal Mel sounds like a religious zealot who drinks till he’s almost unconscious, makes antisemitic remarks, and in the past has spouted massive homophobic statements.  His father denies the holocaust.   Now, why am I mentioning all this?  It’s because I forgot all about all of it during “Edge of Darkness” because at the end of the day, he’s one hell of an actor and an even better director.  Take the time to go IMDB and look over this man’s body of work.  There’s maybe a handful of people that have accomplished what he has.  He’s acted in “Hamlet,” conquered the box office in action films like “Lethal Weapon” and dramas like “Ransom,” and taken huge risks like “Passion of the Christ.”

Now that I got that out of the way, let’s move on to “Edge of Darkness.”  It’s a film that without Mel Gibson is pretty standard stuff.  It’s the paint by numbers, “You killed my family member and I’m going to figure out why and get revenge on you even if it kills me” movie we’ve seen a hundred times over.  But, it’s all grounded by a very emotional and engaging performance by Mel Gibson.  This is the kind of role that he needed to age to take on.  He plays an older and wiser detective and makes the unbelievable believable when the film goes so far off course that it started to lose me.  It has the proverbial cat and mouse chase scenes that Hollywood practically requires nowadays.  So, I recommend it but just don’t expect a lot.