Rated 3.0

Nobody in their right mind expected transcendent cinema or award-worthy acting out of Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, but it should have been a lot more fun this mess. Machete springs from the fake trailer Rodriguez made for his Tarantino collaboration Grindhouse, although it was expanded to feature form by co-director Ethan Maniquis and co-writer Álvaro Rodríguez. Danny Trejo returns as the title character, a badass, lady-killing ex-Federale pushed too far by a rogues’ gallery of slimy, Botoxed villains (represented here by Steven Seagal, Don Johnson and Lindsay Lohan). It is nice to finally see Trejo in a lead role, but it’s a sign of the material’s limitations that the best moments in Machete are spliced directly from Grindhouse. Meanwhile, the new characters (including Michelle Rodriguez as taco-truck-driving militant and Robert De Niro as a squirrelly politician) and expanded narrative are a jumbled, atonal mess.