Viewed – 13 October 2011 Blu-ray
Like Hobo With A Shotgun, this movie is going for that low-budget exploitation feel. Made infamous by the fake trailer showcased in the Planet Terror / Death Proof double-feature known as Grindhouse, this was probably the only trailer featured in that failed ‘experiment’ that could be turned into a full feature, and so the question remains, what’s it like?
Genre-actor Danny Trejo, usually best known as the muscle playing second fiddle to bigger stars like George Clooney, plays a disgraced former Federal who after his wife is murdered, hides out working as an immigrant in the States, where he is spotted by a politician (Jeff Fahey) who hires him to assassinate a senator (Robert DeNiro), yet he’s set up and left for dead. That’s when he befriends a local fast food truck worker (Michelle Rodriguez) who along with a sympathetic cop (Jessica Alba) help him take revenge.
The story is not the strong point here, but more the over the top violence and tongue-in-cheek humour. Directed by Robert Rodriguez this has much in common with his earlier Desperado and to some extent Planet Terror with lots of recognisable faces and a more than necessary amount of guns, gore and boobs. Yes there are a lot of naked chicks in this movie and some very outlandish violence, with a ton of imaginative deaths (a scene involving a goon’s intestines stands out) and bonkers, ‘only in a Robert Rodriguez movie’ weaponry. Trejo is obviously having a whale of a time, and supporting cast members, especially Rodriguez and Alba are great too. Steven Seagal even turns up as a drug baron, but despite a few good lines, is wooden as hell, and rehab-addict Lindsey Lohan is quite awful … although that’s really much of the point here.
Some moments of comedy do fall flat though and it all seems to run out of steam towards the end, with a few plot points left unexplained. I’d also say the movie could have benefitted from maybe cutting about ten minutes. That being said, this remains good entertainment, especially if approached with low expectations and with a cold beer in your hand.
Verdict: 3 /5