Monday, 14 March 2011

Mah-cheh-taaaay!!! Or Machete for the Rest of Us!

Okay so I have FINALLY seen MACHETE.  Why has it taken so long I hear you ask....well, I refused to watch it on pirate, some of you may remember my irate rant back in November...and I missed it during the whole week or two that it was actually out at the cinema!  Now I don't know if I've just built up too high an expectation for this film to be downright fucking awesome that upon first viewing I've actually been let down a bit.  Maybe once I've watched it again I'll have a greater appreciation of it, it's highly possible.  I just wanted to record my initial response first.  I love admitting I'm wrong when it comes to stuff like this...that rarely happens by the way, ha!

My main problem with the film was the fact that it was kind of all over the place and just felt highly disjointed.  Now I accept that yes, this is tribute to the good old grindhouse flicks and that hells yeah, a majority of them were like a mismatched jigsaw.  I think my main problem however was the fact that whilst those films were on shoestring budgets, MACHETE had a budget of 25 MILLION DOLLARS!!!  Jen and Syvia Soska's debut DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK was filmed on mere pennies in comparisson and you know what...based on first viewing of MACHETE, I definitely rate DHIAT as the better film.  Yes it might not have a list of big Hollywood stars like MACHETE but in all its insanity and randomness, I actually think it had a better general flow to it.  MACHETE almost felt like it was constantly patting itself of the back or high 5'ing itself at every in joke and the fact that Steven Segal and Robert DeNiro are actually in the same flick!

Now I'm not dissing Robert Rodriguez, the man has done so much for indie film making, especially if you're a man!  This is probably not intentional but it's pretty fucking true many women do you see as "Masters of Horror!"  Anyhoo...Robert Rodriguez broke out with his $7.000 debut El Mariachi back in 1992.  This was initially a true grindhouse movie, largely funded by 23 year old Rodriguez himself participating in clinical drug trials to raise funds.  The intent of Rodriguez with El Mariachi was to release the film in Spanish as a low budget video, however it was then picked up by Columbia Pictures who then cleaned it up with a reported several hundred thousand dollars and marketed to the American audience as the film that cost $7,000 to make.  That is dedication and it most certainly paid off.  It was his sequel to EL MARIACHI, DESPERADO that first got my attention.  This was released in 1995 when I was 16 and I totally dug it.  He followed that up with FROM DUSK TILL DAWN...the first 18 rated movie I went to the cinema to see FYI!  Haha.   Straight after this he released what is probably my favourite of his films and one that I went to see FIVE TIMES IN ONE WEEK at the cinema!  Including TWICE in one day.  Yes, I admit I was slightly obsessed.  Haha.  I still am.  That movie would indeed be THE FACULTY!

It's a brilliant movie and one of my all time favourites.  Anyhoo, I'm totally getting offtrack here.  Even THE FACULTY which had an absolutely fucking awesome cast had an estimated budget of $15 million...even accounting for the 12 year gap inflation costs, it is still a down sight cheaper budget!  MACHETE could have easily been made with this budget and less.  Yeah having an awesome and totally random cast is great, but you know what, if these guys want to be all cool and be in an indie grindhouse flick, make the bitches work for indie grindhouse fees and then donate the rest of the money you have allocated to you to indie filmmakers!

MACHETE is the first of the faux trailers from the Grindhouse feature that included a double bill of Rodriguez's PLANET TERROR and Quentin Tarantino's DEATH PROOF (a film that bored the utter crap out of me!!!) to be turned into a feature film.  These trailers included Rob Zombie's WEREWOLF WOMEN OF THE SS, Edgar Wright's DON'T and ELI Roth's THANKSGIVING.  A fifth trailer HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN was attached to the some screenings as well.  This was the winner of Rodriguez's competition South by Southwest (SXSW) Grindhouse Trailers competition.  HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, the feature debuted at Sundance in January 2011 and shall start with an initial limited release in Canada from 25th March 2011.

So what do all these ramblings come down to?  As a faux trailer MACHETE was brilliant.  As a trailer of the feature film it was brilliant.  As a film on the whole might take a few more watchings to convince me of its brilliance.  When I mentioned that I thought it was disjointed on my Facebook page earlier someone pointed out that lots of grindhouse films were like that back in the day...yeah but they weren't sniffing anywhere near a $25 million budget...hell, they'd be lucky to have a couple of thousand  dollars!  So if the rules are going to be broken with budget then at least a little coherency in the film would be appreciated.

Rob Zombie has the right idea for WEREWOLF WOMEN OF THE SS - 
"I actually did sketch out a whole story. It's so insane, it's ridiculous. It involves time travel. I would love to make that movie. 'Grindhouse' was made like a traditional movie, they spent a lot of money. I would like to go make 'Werewolf' in two weeks with no money."  
This is how grindhouse films SHOULD be made dammit!!!  Oh and just for the record, I fucking love Planet Terror...even if it was made on a big budget and then had the scratches added in for extra effect!

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