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June 18, 2011
Machete Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
11/11/201023/2/2011Sony PicturesRobert Rodriguez
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MA15+Danny Trejo

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Danny Trejo gets a starring role as/in Machete.

The first time anyone saw anything of Machete it was as a trailer attached to the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse double of Death Proof and Planet Terror back in 2007. The thing was, the trailer was a complete mock-up. There was no movie, and no plans to make one. Following such positive fan reaction to the fake trailer Robert Rodriguez and the movie studios decided to push forward and make a feature film. So what's it about...

He was given an offer he couldn't refuse... Machete is an over-the-top homage to 1970’s exploitation movies, starring Danny Trejo as a Mexican Federale, called Machete after his weapon of choice, seeking revenge against a vicious drug lord, Rogelio Torrez, a ruthless vigilante and a power-mad politician. He is helped by a savvy immigration agent (Jessica Alba), revolutionary "She" and by his brother, a priest (Cheech Marin), and finds solace with a drug addict (Lindsay Lohan) along the way.

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Machete has plenty of wild action.
There really are some immensely enjoyable over the top moments in this movie. Without spoiling anything there's an intestinal escape, steering a car with a machete, and some great use of gardening tools just to name a few. Indeed the 104 minute runtime seems to fly by with one action sequence after another, and some riveting dialogue.

The cast in this movie is little short of spectacular. Of course Danny Trejo is given his first starring role and it's perfectly suited to him with little dialogue and all his actions doing the talking. Supporting cast include Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert De Niro, Steven Segal, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, and Don Johnson. They all play up their parts perfectly, not least being De Niro as Senator John McLaughlin.

Even Lindsay Lohan makes an appearance in this film, well, certainly her breasts do anyway. Funnily enough she plays a drug addicted girl - so we're not too sure how much acting was involved - but needless to say she does have a strong screen presence and it's a shame her real life is taking the many turns it has, rather than see her stay on the acting/singing course that looked so promising as a youngster.

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Yes, that is Steven Segal in Machete!
Make no mistake Machete isn't for everyone and if you hate violence in films, steer well clear, but we found this to be one of the most entertaining popcorns flicks we've seen this year.

Rating the video in Machete is pretty hard as the film has been deliberately degraded with film scratches and dirt to give it a B-Grade feel. The transfer has been encoded at the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio using the AVC MPEG-4 codec. While the film has a warm look to it, this suits the hot US/Mexican border climate where the film is set. Detail levels are generally very good with plenty of sharpness and fine detail to be found throughout the film.

Sonically Machete is pretty impressive with a lively DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz). Just like the film itself the audio is aggressive, over the top and makes use of surround sound channels particularly during the action sequences. Dialogue is always clear and easy to understand while the music will get the heart pumping, although that is often front heavy.

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Michelle Rodriguez is hot as always...
The Blu-Ray disc for Machete includes a couple of other audio options including an English Descriptive Audio encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640kbps which sounds solid enough but lacks the punch of the lossless track. More impressive are the French and Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (16-bit/48Khz) tracks while a Catalan Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 640kbps is also included as an option. Subtitles are provided in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Arabic, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, and Swedish. We sampled the English track which was accurate to the dialogue on the screen.

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Robert De Niro as the senator in Machete.
By far the biggest disappointment we have with this Blu-Ray is the lack of extras on the disc.

Trailers (4:40/HD): Trailers for Blu-Ray (1:19), The Green Hornet (2:29), Faster (0:52), Priest (1:45), El Mariachi (1:37), and (strangely only presented in Standard Definition) Once Upon A Time in Mexico (2:34).

Deleted Scenes (11:39/HD): There are eleven deleted scenes presented on this disc. Some of these are pretty entertaining and well worth a look.

Audience Reaction Track: We've seen these on a few discs in the past, but the Audio Reaction Track is exactly that. Recorded at a screening full of fans you'll hear their reactions as the movie plays which helps draw you into the film with collective enjoyment. Still, many will find this a complete waste of time.

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Jessica Alba... enough said...
MovieIQ (HD): MovieIQ is available on this Blu-Ray and provides up to date details on actors and music in each of the scenes. We're still not completely sold on this item on Blu-Ray discs - especially as it requires a download from the Internet - but some may find it useful.

Machete was one of the most entertaining movies I've seen in some time. It's not high cinema by any stretch of the imagination but if you love excessive violence, great characters, and some entertaining dialogue then this could be the movie for you. The only disappointment is a lack of extras.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Sony Pictures. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.