Reprinted from the Independent Weekly

MACHETE (**) — You know how some people say, “If you’ve seen the trailer,  you’ve seen the whole movie?”  Such is the case with Robert Rodriguez’ satire/hommage to the low-budget action flicks of the 1980s, spun off from the fake trailer in 2007’s Grindhouse.  Danny Trejo is all stone-faced menace as a blade-weilding ex-Federale bad ass and inexplicable chick magnet whose mastery of every bladed weapon and firearm knows to man comes in handy when he’s framed for the attempted assassination of an anti-immgration Senator (Robert De Niro, surprisingly one of the least over-the-top performers).  Amusing but rarely thrilling, the film’s satire of the immigration debate is diluted by its need to service a bloated ensemble cast, including Steven Seagal, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba and many others, though Michelle Rodriguez is a notably sultry revolutionary and Don Johnson is creepy as a psycho Minuteman type. The bit where Trejo pays hommage to a classic scene in Die Hard with a human intestine is a hoot, though. Hopefully, the next Grindhouse spinoff, Hobo with a Shotgun, will yeild better results.  Rated R. — Zack Smith