During his 2012 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Herman Cain rhapsodized about the fence he'd build on the U.S.-Mexico border: 20 feet tall with barbed wire, electricity, and a moat. "And I would put those alligators in that moat!" he cheered. For Machete Kills, Robert Rodriguez built that fence but left out the alligators, which means even a movie where Sofia Vergara wears a strap-on crotch gun that she shoots by thrusting her pelvis is less crazy than our national conversation about immigration. Picking up years after renegade blade artist Machete (Danny Trejo) rode off into the sunset with a sexy border agent (Jessica Alba), Kills tops the 2010 original by not giving a mierda about logic or character. Not that these characters aren't interesting: Mel Gibson plays a precognitive scientist cult leader. Trejo's calmness balances out the giddy lunacy Rodriguez chucks at the screen: a literally man-eating hooker (Vergara), an alien ray that zaps Mexican laborers to a space station, and a curiously courageous performance by Gibson, whose quasi-religious inventor compares himself to Noah building the arc and refers to his past mental breakdown as "the Incident." Machete Kills is a live-action cartoon that's one part Garry Trudeau to two parts bloody Looney Tunes. Rodriguez bends reality like an animation cell until we can only cheer, not complain, that the missile's 24-hour countdown clock stretches on past two days or that we're asked to pretend that sticking Machete in a tuxedo and glasses is as convincing a disguise as Bugs Bunny in a Valkyrie bra.
Robert RodriguezDanny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Demian BichirKyle WardSergei BespalovOpen Road