- Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 November 2013 05:51
- Written by Lupe Haas
Living up to its' exploitation-influenced roots, MACHETE boasts over-the-top-action, graphic violence and gratuitous nudity (surprisingly by Lindsay Lohan), as a homage to the violent Mexican and grindhouse films of the 70s.
Now when you think exploitation films, strong women roles do not come to mind -- that's where Robert Rodriguez has modernized the old style genre, adding tough female characters who still exhibit sexy qualities -- and that's where Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez come in.
While Michelle is known for her tough girl portrayals in Girlfight, The Fast and the Furious, Resident Evil and SWAT, her character Luz in MACHETE is a strong, but compassionate, leader of the underground network which helps undocumented workers. When Don Johnson, one of the antagonist messes with the wrong woman she becomes "Shé", a legendary female figure with an eye patch. The Fantastic Four and Sin City's Jessica Alba is her nemesis, playing Sartana, a border agent investigating the underground network. Eventually the two come together to help Danny Trejo's Machete fight off the slew of bad guys led by Robert De Niro.
When asked if she prefers comedy versus action, Jessica told CineMovie she's "always had a soft spot for action" since her breakthrough role on television on James Cameron's Angel.
"Isn't he great? So cool", Michelle said of her Avatar director.
Jessica said James Cameron, like Robert Rodriguez, is "another one that knows to write strong [roles for] women."
Since Desperado, Robert has gained fans with audiences and actors, including Michelle, who appreciated the director for finally giving women and American Latinos a voice in Hollywood. When he called her for a role in MACHETE, Michelle said it was a no-brainer, "Hands down, I'm in" response.
Jessica, a Texan native like Robert, loved working once again with her Sin City director and friend. Both actresses praise the director for giving actresses roles one can be proud of.
Michelle said Robert is one of a "handful of directors who understand" what she calls, the "chemical balance between a man and a woman".
"Most women consider that the strong woman character. Not many know how to balance that out so she's sexy and can kick ass -- he gets it."
Jessica agrees with the assessment, but she does admit it was "uncomfortable" looking sexy wearing three-inch heels during her fight scenes amidst 104 degree weather in Austin, Texas. However, she did get some payback when her stiletto became a lethal weapon against a home intruder in one particularly gruesome MACHETE scene.
"Walking in them is not as fun as putting it in someone's eye," Alba said. "That's for sure."
Michelle added, "What you did with those stiletto's -- Hot!
The tough and sexy ladies of MACHETE had more praise for the Spy Kids director. Michelle also credits Robert with advancing the American Latino portrayals in film. The Latino community has not made an impact in Hollywood like the African-American community, according to the Fast and Furious star, but Robert and others like Jennifer Lopez and her co-star Jessica have certainly made inroads.
Michelle said she's proud of MACHETE, because she feels it "expresses what it's like to be American and Latino," in addition to being a fun, no holds barred movie.
Will the actresses return for a MACHETE sequel or two as teased in the final credits? Or a spin-off of Shé? Both actress answered with a resounding "Yes" and Michelle was quite excited at the prospects of her own spin-off.
"Heck, yeah! In a heartbeat. I love working with him [Robert,]" she said. "He's awesome."
Until then, Michelle will next be seen kicking some real illegal alien butt when Battle: Los Angeles opens in early 2011 and Jessica transitions back to comedy this fall in Little Fockers with Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller.
MACHETE opens September 3rd.