Machete (Blu-ray Review)

Four years ago we caught a glimpse of a fake trailer that would forever change the world of exploitation  cinema for years to come.  Machete! Originally used as a trailer to open Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, fan reaction was enormous and the world wanted a full feature based on this mythical killing machine.  Robert Rodriguez made mention that he already had a script, but was too busy working on other projects to dedicate himself to Machete alone.  Some of these projects did not come to fruition, so now he had some time to tackle the one Mexican you don’t want to mess with. Co-directed by Ethan Maniquis, Machete is now ready to be unleashed to the world…and the world of Blu-ray.  Si, se puede.


Machete is a dye-in-the-wool grindhouse exploitation film.  With that disclaimer out of the way, Machete tells the story of a Mexican Federale agent who is out for revenge after the brutal murders of his wife and daughter at the hands of the evil kingpin Torrez (Steven Seagal).  Left for dead, and now in the U.S., Machete moves along as an invisible day laborer scraping to get by.  A mysterious stranger named Booth (Jeff Fahey) approaches Machete and offers him $150,000 in cash to kill Senator McGaughlin (Robert DeNiro) due to his anti-immigration rhetoric.  Machete takes the job, but is framed for the attempted murder.  For such a simple story, Machete delivers on characters and development.  There are a ton!  And each one is played by a different famous celebrity.

Machete initially caused some controversy when a special Cinco de Mayo trailer was released as a message to Arizona about their new immigration law.  That, in my opinion, only fueled the need to see the movie for myself.  After attending the Los Angeles premiere (thanks Robert!) my hopes were anything but squashed.  Machete delivered in spades what I had hoped for.  Blood, guts, chicks, and glory!  In my initial theatrical review of Machete I had said that the film didn’t beat you over the head with messages, etc., but rather it was more of a satire using current events as a template.  I still stand by that.

Rounding out the cast of characters we have Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba) as an enforcement agent hot on Machete’s trail, Luz (Michelle Rodriguez) who gives Machete shelter and more.  Von Jackson (Don Johnson) as a racist hillbilly whose clan of “watchmen” want to exterminate all illegals along with Machete. Padre Cortez (Cheech Marin) offers Machete hope and clarity along with weaponry and sanctuary.  There are a few other major players in Machete, but I think I’ve already told you too much.

“We didn’t cross the border. The border crossed us!”


Machete is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.  The tricky part in grading this is that Machete does not look like your standard film or Blu-ray.  You WILL detect many instances of dirt, noise, specs, color timing issues, etc.   That’s the whole point!  It gets a high score, because it’s absolutely faithful to the digital source.  It’s not as excessive as Planet Terror, but does share some similarities with that film.  Machete looks great…or does it?


Machete is presented 5.1 DTD-HD Master Audio.  This is a reference track.  That’s all there is to it.  You will feel every slice, dismemberment, explosion, guitar riff, punch, hit, as if it was happening to you.  The audio quality on Machete is flawless.  That’s it.

Special Features 

This is where it gets tricky and a bit puzzling.  The powers that be have not been kind to the Robert Rodriguez faithful.  They have decided to omit 95% of the special features that we have come to expect from a Robert Rodriguez film.  No unrated cut,  no commentaries, no flick schools, and no cooking schools.  I can only imagine it’s due to a future double dip.  Machete contains about 10 minutes of deleted scenes which introduce characters that were not in the theatrical cut and sheds light on what happened to certain characters that were introduced, but had no resolution.

  • Audience Reaction Track
  • Exclusive Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Theatrical Trailer (Red Band)
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts 

I aim to accurately review and grade all the Blu-rays that come my way.  I don’t sugar coat it.  The final score to Machete is not indicative of the film or video/audio specs, but the lack of special features.  That brings the average way down.  It’s such a shame, because this could have easily been a 4 1/2 star release.  Take note that Machete was also on my top 10 list of best films of 2010.  It was #4 on that list, so don’t think that I didn’t like the film.  Here’s hoping that the powers that be grant the fans a proper fully loaded special edition in the future.


Bring home Machete on Blu-ray!


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

8 Responses to “Machete (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Sean Ferguson

    I’ll have to add this to my netflix list but I’m not happy that Michelle Rodriguez is in this. Hopefully, the rest of this eclectic cast will make up for that.

  2. Gerard Iribe

    She’s smoking hot, Sean. I forgive her previous transgressions.

  3. Brian White

    OMG! Michelle Rodriguez! She stole my heart twice this year at Comic-Con. 🙂 I want it back!

    And Rodriguez…I bow down. I’m looking forward to checking this one and his Mexican trilogy out on Blu-ray this week.

    Wait! I almost forgot Jessica. Machete Blu-ray = HEAVEN 🙂

    I applaud you for commenting on the lack of extras here G. While it’s not a deal breaker for me, I would have liked to see at least an Unrated Cut. There has to be something we didn’t see that was originally intended…even after Alba messed up the original screenplay! But there is a Digital Copy. I know you don’t like them, but they have been doing a grand job of keeping me company on my lunch breaks at work. Long live Apple products!!!

  4. Aaron Neuwirth

    I forgot about Jessica too…on purpose.

    Rodriguez doesn’t tend to do rated cuts, that’s what happens when you run all the facets of your production.

    I am disappointed with this pretty bare bones release. Machete may not text, but apparently he double-dips. At least I now have the El Mariachi trilogy on Blu-ray.

  5. Aaron Neuwirth

    Sorry, I meant “unrated” cuts. *iPhone post, damn Apple products 🙂

  6. Brian White

    Just got done watching this and El Mariachi tonight! I guess you can say I had a Rodriguez night out. Wow! What an awesome Blu-ray! I can care less about special features…just glad to have this as part of my Blu-ray collection!

    And damn…Michelle was looking fine in this feature…more so than…gulp…Alba 🙂

  7. Aaron Neuwirth

    Rodriguez special features are always great though. He’s an entertaining guy and gets right to the point with all his 10 minute film school featurettes. Plus cooking school!

  8. Gerard Iribe

    Yeah, Robert Rodriguez’s special features are a given and a form of ritual.

    Stay tuned for my “Mexico” trilogy reviews coming up this week, y’all.