|“||If you're going to hire Machete to kill the bad guy, you better make damn sure the bad guy isn't you!||”|
— Film's tagline.
Machete is a 2010 American action film written, produced, and directed by Robert Rodriguez and also directed by Ethan Maniquis. This film is an expansion of a fake trailer that was included in Rodriguez's and Quentin Tarantino's 2007 Grindhouse double-feature. Machete continues the B movie and exploitation style of Grindhouse, and includes some of the footage. The film stars Danny Trejo in his first lead role as the title character, and co-stars Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Don Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Steven Seagal, Lindsay Lohan, Cheech Marin and Jeff Fahey. This was Steven Seagal's first theatrical release film in eight years since his starring role in 2002's Half Past Dead. Machete was released in the United States by 20th Century Fox and Rodriguez's company, Troublemaker Studios, on September 3, 2010. A sequel, Machete Kills, was released on October 11, 2013.
The story revolves around Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo), a former Mexican Federal. The film opens in Mexico with Machete and his younger partner on a mission to rescue a kidnapped girl (Mayra J. Leal). During the operation, his partner is killed, the kidnapped girl stabs him before being killed herself, and Machete is betrayed by his corrupt Chief to the powerful drug lord, Rogelio Torrez (Steven Seagal), who kills Machete's wife and implies that he will kill his daughter before leaving him for dead.
Three years later, a down-and-out Machete roams Texas, scraping by on yard work. Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey), a local businessman and spin doctor, explains to Machete that corrupt Texas State Senator John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro) is sending hundreds of illegal immigrants out of the country. In order to stop this, Booth offers Machete $150,000 to kill McLaughlin. Machete accepts the murder contract after Booth threatens to kill him if he does not.
Machete trains a rifle on McLaughlin from a rooftop during a rally, but before he fires he sees one of Booth's henchmen aiming at him. The henchman shoots Machete in the shoulder and then shoots McLaughlin in the leg. It is revealed that Booth orchestrated the attempted assassination as part of a false flag operation to gain public support for McLaughlin's secure border campaign. By setting up Machete as the gunman, the conspirators make it appear that an outlaw illegal Mexican immigrant has tried to assassinate the senator, who is known for his tough stance on illegal immigration.
An injured Machete escapes capture by Booth and is taken to a hospital to be treated for wounds, escaping once again from Booth's henchmen at the hospital. Agent Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba), a persistent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, is sent by her superior to find and capture the injured Machete. Machete, with the help of Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), aka Shé, the leader of an illegal immigrant aid movement known as the Network, recruits Padre (Cheech Marin), his "holy" brother. To take revenge on Booth, Machete kidnaps Booth's wife and his daughter, April (Lindsay Lohan), after "starring" in an amateur adult film with them. He also collects evidence from Booth's house linking McLaughlin and the Mexican drug lord in a major drug trafficking deal. After encountering Machete, Sartana begins to develop an interest in him. Elsewhere, Booth, who is revealed to be working for Torrez, hires a hitman, Osiris Amanpour (Tom Savini), to assist in the hunt for Machete.
Booth and Osiris kill Padre in his church, but do not find his own wife and daughter. Unbeknownst to Booth, the church has cameras. Through the CCTV recordings, the news of McLaughlin's corruption and faked assassination is eventually aired on national television. Infuriated, McLaughlin kills Booth and heads back to join Torrez to kill Machete. In order to eliminate the people who double-crossed him, Machete gathers the Mexican Network and leads them to the base of the border vigilantes, led by Von Jackson (Don Johnson).
During this confrontation, the Mexican illegals triumph over the border vigilantes. Jackson tries to escape, but Luz shoots him in the back of the head. Machete fights Torrez, culminating with the drug lord committing seppuku with one of Machete's blades with which he has just been stabbed. April shows up wearing a nun's habit after escaping from the church and shoots McLaughlin after figuring out that he has killed her father.
McLaughlin, injured, manages to escape, but he is later killed by the last remnants of his own border vigilante group, who mistake him for a Mexican. The film ends with Machete meeting with Sartana, who gives him a green card. They kiss and ride off into the night.
Before the credits roll, on the screen it says that Machete will return in Machete Kills and Machete Kills Again.
- Danny Trejo as Machete Cortez, "a legendary ex-Federale with a deadly attitude and the skills to match."
- Robert De Niro as Senator John McLaughlin, a politician campaigning to incite hatred against illegal immigrants.
- Jessica Alba as Sartana Rivera, "a beautiful Immigrations Officer torn between enforcing the law and doing what is popular in the eyes of her familia." Alba also portrays Sartana's twin sister in deleted scenes only.
- Steven Seagal as Rogelio Torrez, a drug lord, as well as Machete's former partner with the Federales.
- Michelle Rodriguez as Luz/Shé, "a taco-truck lady with a revolutionary heart."
- Jeff Fahey as Michael Booth, "a ruthless businessman with an endless payroll of killers."
- Cheech Marin as Padre Benicio Del Toro, Machete's brother, "a priest who's good with blessings, but better with guns."
- Don Johnson as Von Jackson, "a twisted border vigilante leading a small army." The character was originally known as "Lt. Stillman" and was meant to be Sartana's superior.
- Lindsay Lohan as April Booth, "a socialite with a penchant for guns" and "a nun with a gun."
- Shea Whigham as Sniper, Booth's right-hand man and bodyguard.
- Daryl Sabara as Julio
- Gilbert Trejo as Jorge
- Ara Celi as Reporter
- Tom Savini as Osiris Amanpour, a hitman hired by Booth to kill Machete.
- Billy Blair as Billy, Von Jackson's henchman.
- Felix Sabates as Doctor Felix
- Electra and Elise Avellan as Nurses Mona and Lisa.
- Mayra J. Leal as Naked Girl
- Juan Gabriel Pareja as Rico
- Alicia Marek as June Booth, the socialite wife of Michael Booth and April's mother.
- Tito Larriva as Culebra Cruzado
- Cheryl "Chin" Cunningham as Torrez' henchwoman.
Filming for the fake trailer for Grindhouse began in the summer of 2006, while Rodriguez was also filming Planet Terror. The scenes that Rodriguez shot only consisted of scenes involving Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey, as well as Tito Larriva. Some of the scenes filmed for the trailer were left intact in the film, while others have been re-shot.
Principal photography began on July 29, 2009 in and around the city of Austin, Texas. Lindsay Lohan filmed her role in three days, two in August and one in September. Principal photography of the film ended on September 24, 2009.
- They just fucked with the wrong Mexican!
- If you're going to hire Machete to kill the bad guy, you better make damn sure the bad guy isn't you!
- He knows the score. He gets the women. And he kills the bad guys!
- Yesterday He Was a Decent Man Living a Decent Life. Now He is a Brutal Savage Who Must Slaughter to Stay Alive.
- A Pissed Off Mexican Out to Settle a Score
- As Robert Rodriguez tells it, after conceiving of the character of Machete and telling Danny Trejo about it, Rodriquez started receiving phone calls at random hours of the day from Danny, trying to convince him to make the film. One day, Robert said to Danny that he was busy and asked why Danny can't just send a text message instead of constantly calling, to which Danny Trejo replied: "Machete don't text." Machete says this exact phrase in the film.
- This film was made because of the popularity of a fake trailer for a non-existent "Machete" film that was featured in the theatrical version of Grindhouse (2007), along with other fake trailers and advertisements featured in the film. "Thanksgiving" is the other popular fake trailer included in the film and was directed by Eli Roth and it is in development to be made into a full-length film.
- Body count: 98.
- Jessica Alba had a "no-nudity" clause in her contract, which is why her clothes were digitally removed for her "nude" scenes.
- This is Danny Trejo's fifth movie appearance as Machete. The first was in Spy Kids (2001) and the rest were in its sequels.
- Robert Rodriguez wrote the script back in 1993 after he wrote Desperado (1995).
- Lindsay Lohan filmed her role in three days.
- When Sartana pulls up Machete's file on her laptop, it shows the following information: Birth Name: Machete Cortez; Nationality: Mexican; Race: Hispanic; Date of Birth: 16 May 1944 (actual birth date of Danny Trejo who plays Machete); Place of Birth: Juarez, Ch, Mexico; Aliases: Cuchillo, Navajas (names of characters played by Danny Trejo in other movies directed by Robert Rodriguez; Height: 5' 11"; Weight: 210 lbs; Military Status: Ex-Federale; Whereabouts: Unknown; Identifying Marks: Tattoo of woman wearing a sombrero on chest.
- This marks the first time Tom Savini's character doesn't die in a Robert Rodriguez film.
- This marks the third time Steven Seagal and Danny Trejo have appeared together in a movie. First, briefly, in Marked for Death (1990), and again in Urban Justice (2007).
- In the scene where Jeff Fahey enters the house and starts shooting everyone with a silenced gun, the first man's head gets shot before we hear the sound of a gun.
- (Deliberate by filmmaker) During the pool scene, as April enters the water is played by Lindsay Lohan. After Machete enters the pool, the character is clearly not Lohan. This is because the footage is actually from the "Machete" fake trailer that preceded Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror segment in Grindhouse - one of several pieces of trailer footage that were re-used in the movie.
- The window next to the door in Luz's house changes between shots. In the exterior shot it's covered with cardboard or some other brown sheet (we even see the explosive bounce and fall to the ground) while from the interior it's a normal window with curtains.
- During the monologue leading to the showdown between Torrez and Machete, two actors can be seen fighting behind and to the left of Torrez. During the dialog, they can be seen in and out of frame multiple times.
- On the building, when Machete is preparing to shoot the Senator the back cover of the scope is seen up, but when he looks trough it, it is down.
- In the opening scene where Machete and his partner are attacking the drug-house, it is very clear to see both his partner get shot from the front, and the windscreen take a few bullets, as they approach the building. However, when the car crashes through the building, the windscreen is completely intact and bullet-hole-less.
- In the hospital when booths thugs shoot the rolling cart in the hallway, it rolls by them and there is clearly no one under it. Then Machete is seen getting out from under the cart.
- In the beginning, when Machete pulls his machete out, it appears to have a ring near the hilt (Machete uses it to swing the weapon like a windmill). Later on, when he rescues the girl and she sticks to him, the machete has no ring in the handle.