Machete first appeared as a character in Robert Rodriguez’s kid-friendly Spy Kids films, then came back as a fake trailer in the Grindhouse movie.
The origins of the character come from when Rodriguez worked with Danny Trejo on the film Desperado, thinking, “This guy should be like the Mexican Jean-Claude Van Damme or Charles Bronson, putting out a movie every year and his name should be Machete.” He was inspired by the films of John Woo, wanting to make a movie in their spirit that would be for a Latino audience.
Machete Cortez (Trejo) was once a Mexican Federal but his partner and wife were killed when he was betrayed to former cop and current drug cartel leader Rogelio Torrez (Steven Seagal).
Now, he’s an immigrant to the U.S., barely scraping by doing yard work. Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey) pays him to shoot Texas State Senator John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro), which is an easy job to take because the politician is anti-Mexican, sending many immigrants back to Mexico and collaborating with Von Jackson (Don Johnson) and his militia of border patrol ruffians.
Booth offers Machete $150,000 — and makes threats on his life if he doesn’t do the job — so our hero takes the assignment. However, he’s been set up again and barely escapes with his life.
The rest of the film concerns Machete’s bloody revenge and dealings with all manner of characters, from Immigration Agent Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba) to underground leader Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), his brother Padre (Cheech Marin) and even Booth’s wife and daughter (Lindsay Lohan). Tom Savini even shows up as Osiris Amanpour (Tom Savini), a hitman who has an infomercial.
It’s all rather ridiculous, but that’s a lot of the fun of this movie. How often do you see a movie where the hero uses a man’s entrails as a rope to climb down a building? They could make a thousand of these movies and I’d probably watch every single one of them.