Machete is back. After a woman he deeply loves is killed in a military operation gone wrong, Machete is conscripted by the President of the United States to take down a Medican druglord with a split personality who has weapons of mass destruction pointed directed at the US. When Machete grudgingly agrees, he discovers that things may not be a simple as they appear on the surface, but he’s willing to try to sort it out by shooting things.

What can possibly be said about Machete Kills that you don’t already know? There’s spectacular, gonzo action and violence, over-the-top acting and busty ladies showing off their cleavage all wrapped in the guise of a grindhouse movie, which of course, it is not. Well, interestingly, Machete, while incredibly fun and beloved by the demographic it was specifically created for, was not a runaway hit. Many people felt that there are enough bad movies made naturally in the world that filmmakers don’t need to try to manufacture bad films just for the kitsch value. Director Robert Rodriguez, not usually one to bow to the masses, does seem to have fixed some of the “deliberate bad film” issues from the first film and delved deep into the kind of slapstick and over-the-top unrealistic comedy that seems to dominate the cinema these days. The good news is it totally works.

Perhaps Rodriguez’s most inspired move was to cast actors to be crazy people on screen who are generally considered to be crazy people in reality. Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen (billed here as Carlos Estevez, because that is, in fact, his real name) both put in very solid performances because, of course, they are both very talented actors, despite what the 24-hour news cycle might want you to believe about their off-screen antics.

The script has been written to be plausible as a film plot, but also fairly nuts. Because those two things can easily co-exist when done well, the audience is willing to go with it. Interestingly, the script seems to have some political commentary built into it. The script touches on issues of female objectification, criticism of the military industrial complex, mental illness and illegal immigration across the Mexican border. Of course, because it should never be said that Robert Rodriguez is an “issues” filmmaker, these are never fully explored and if you don’t already have solid knowledge of those topics, you’re likely to miss them entirely.

Is Machete Kills opening weekend worthy?

Yes, definitely. If action and grindhouse are your thing this is your best pick for the weekend. See it with a crowd and revel in it together.

Machete Kills opens Friday, October 11, 2013 at Carlton Cinema. Check their website for details and showtimes.

More About Machete Kills

Machete Kills trailer

Machete Kills gallery

MORE FROM TORONTO FILM SCENE