Politically incorrect film reviews – Machete

by Robert Henderson

Director: Ethan Maniquis, Robert Rodriguez 104mins Released 2010

Starring: Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Don Johnson, Lindsay Lohan , Michelle Rodriguez,

This is a shameful film for any American actor to have agree to appear in. Reviewers have generally given it a panning simply on the grounds of its general cinematic incompetence, with a few of the more “sophisticated” hacks speaking knowingly about it being a spoof on B movies which builds upon the Grindhouse double bill (Planet Terror and Death Proof ) Rodrigues made with Quentin Tarrantino a few years ago. The reality is that it is simply an artistic mess . But none of this is the reason why it is shameful. That distinction rests on the fact that the film is an unabashed propaganda vehicle for mass Mexican immigration into the USA which rams home in an excruciating gross fashion the message white unhyphenated Americans BAD, Latino immigrants GOOD. I would like to say Goebbels would have been proud of it, but sadly I cannot because he would never have made anything so bluntly crass in its message.

The plot is liberal agitprop at its most over-excitable. Robert De Niro is Texas Senator John McLaughlin who is campaigning against illegal Mexican immigration and for the construction of a barrier across the USA to prevent easy illegal immigration. He likes nothing better than to spend time riding out with a group of border-enforcing vigilantes led by Don Johnson as Von Jackson. Early in the film McLaughlin shoots dead a female “wetback” with relish and just to make sure the message of his unequivocal evil strikes home, the woman is pregnant.

On the other side of the immigration argument is a one-time Mexican government agent (Danny Trejo as Machete Cortez) has his wife and daughter murdered by a drug baron (Steven Seagal as Rogelio Torrez) whilst on duty. This sends him on the run and we next meet him living in Texas illegally whilst trying to eke a living as a day-labourer.

Machete is approached by a man who unbeknown to him is the Senator’s spin doctor (Jeff Fahey as Michael Booth) as well as being a corrupt businessman. Booth offers Machete $150,000 dollars to shoot McClaughlin, saying he wanted him dead because McClaughlin is all for sending illegal Mexican immigrants back home and that would ruin the economy of Texas which it is claimed is dependent on illegal Mexican labour. Machete is dubious but reluctantly agrees after Booth threatens to set US immigration on him.

But it is a set-up. Just as Machete is preparing to shoot the Senator a shot rings out and Mclaughlin collapses with a leg wound. The non-fatal shooting has been arranged by Booth to gain the Senator support by portraying a Mexican immigrant (Machete) as the would-be assassin. However, Machete evades capture and then goes on the run committing ever greater mayhem as he goes, stopping only to donate his $150,000 to the leader of Mexican group devoted to smuggling Mexican immigrants into the USA (played by Michelle Rodriguez ) who variously goes by the names Luz or Shé and runs her operation from a fast food van.(I am not making this up, honest!)

As Machete weaves his shambolically violent way through the film his brother, a catholic priest played by Cheech Marin, is killed by Booth by crucifying him to the cross in his church. This prompts Machete to kidnap Booth’s wife and daughter April (played by Lindsay Lohan in the least demanding “starring” role ever) and Luz shoots dead Booth as he attempts to find them. The final stages of the action if it can be so dignified has Machete, Luz and co engaging in a fight with the border vigilantes and (natch) routing them. In an heroically laboured piece of dramatic irony , Senator McLaughlin escapes, but is shot dead the remains of the vigilante group who mistake him for a Mexican.

A US immigration officer Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba ) of Mexican origins pops up throughout the action and moves during the course of the film from being accused of being a renegade helping the gringos who is hunting Machete to a supporter of Luz’s organisation who gives Machete illegally obtained papers legalising his position in the USA.

That all sounds pretty silly doesn’t it? I dare say if Rodrigues was challenged over the one-eyed portrayal of illegal immigration as good and resistance to it as evil he would try to shrug off it off by saying he was being ironic or merely spoofing B movies. But that will not wash. There is the clearest of political messages being sent . That message was immigrants have the right to come to the USA regardless of what Americans think. Indeed, it goes further than that: it says to stop them coming is criminal and only the vicious racist would dream of doing so. To reinforce this point ceaselessly, every anti-immigrant character from McLaughlin to the humblest vigilante is portrayed as either having no redeeming feature or ,as is the case with Sartana Rivera, as someone seeing the light and switching their allegiance to the immigrants’ cause. Those who are pro-immigrant throughout are presented as being without moral blemish.

The depiction of Americans taking the immigrants’ side is a prime propaganda theme throughout. Not only does Sartana betray her duty as a US immigration officer, but doctors and nurses at a hospital are shown to be part of Luz’s group, and one of the security men at Michael Booth’s house suddenly gets the urge to say about illegal Mexicans that “We let them into our homes, we entrust our children to them but we say they shouldn’t be here. It’s crazy”. His fellow security men agree. Well, of course, the “we” here is not the “we” referred to by the security man. He means the entire population, but the “we” who make the decisions are the haves not the have-nots. The latter are in reality fiercely opposed to such immigration and are the ones who have to bear the consequences of the immigration through competition for jobs and houses, higher taxes for welfare and the general misery of either having to live in the invaded areas or move out.

But to tar anti-immigration proponents with the racism brush is not enough for Rodrigues. Michael Booth is presented as the immoral face of business. He supports the idea of the anti-immigrant barrier not because he is against immigration but because such a barrier would allow the flow of illegal immigrants to continue by making it possible for the likes of him to control by controlling the entry points. There would still be illegals but they would have to pay more to get into the USA.

The saddest thing about the film is Robert De Niro. He has for all too long been turning up in films primarily to collect his pay packet. Here there is no primarily about it. In easily the worst performance of his career, the awfulness of his acting is only mitigated by being placed against the backdrop of a cast producing even more embarrassing fare.

What would have been an interesting film on the subject of mass Mexican immigration into the US? How about one which showed it for what it is, an insidious form of conquest, with those resisting it being seen as patriots defending their territory , the immigrants as invaders and those Americans who supported and facilitated the immigration as traitors? Somehow I doubt whether that film will get made any time soon.

14 responses to “Politically incorrect film reviews – Machete

  1. Would this film be so blatant and crass that even the filmgoing masses won’t swallow it?

  2. So that it might actually be counterproductive?

  3. Traitors by choice are often as brilliant as they are evil. Those who make a career of treason are generally mediocre.

  4. Heh. It takes real balls to name-check Goebbels in a review on a supposedly libertarian site, slagging a film for taking the libertarian line on immigration.

  5. I am no friend of Mr Henderson, but the last comment is unfair.

    I think he was pointing to the false (and horrible) nature of a film (anti illegal immigration people shown as murderers and so on) rather than writing a post on immigration policy.

    But libertarians must also face the truth about illegal immigration.

    Take the example of California, some years ago the voters decided (by a clear majority) to not pay government benefits to illegal immigrants.

    Fair enough surely? After all if these people were in the country to “do the jobs Americans will not do” (as their supporters claim) in a noble libertarian way, this vote would not even effect them (as they would not be taking any tax money in health services and so on).

    So the vote was accepted?


    The “liberal” elite (led by the education system and the media) demanded that the vote be reversed by the courts – and although (of course) the judges could not actually quote any bit of the Constitution of California that grants “welfare rights” to illegal immigrants, they duely did reverse the vote (the standard “Progressive” move of enforcing what they want a Constitution to say – rather than what it actually does say).

    But it is a lot more than just endless government spending (although that is bad enough) with false claims that “their taxes more than cover it….”

    There is also the political side.

    Take the example of “UNO” – the United Neighbourhood Organization.

    When it arrived in Chicago in the early 1980s it declared itself the representative of hispanics (there was no vote on this of course – that is not how “community organizing” works).

    The established hispanic community (mostly people from Mexico or whose forefathers came from Mexico) were legal immigrants (or the children or grandchildren of legal immigrants) and many had served in the Amercan armed forces.

    They were patriotic Americans – and UNO “represented” their principles?

    Sadly not – UNO (from the start) had a radical mixture of ethnic ideology and socialist ideology. Indeed its first major campaign was to name a new school after the “Heroic Children”.

    Why should children not be heroic? Errrr that is not quite what the words point to in Spanish.

    The words pointed to a group of children who marched to battle (and death) with American forces in the 1840s.

    UNO was really saying that young hispanics in the United States should be taught to have a VIOLENT HATRED of the United States.

    That is the same thing this film seems to be trying to do – and that does not sound very libertarian to me.

    UNO became a prime source of shock troops to intimidate and attack Republicans (including a United States Senator) and moderate Democrats . Either driving them from office or making them submit to ever more government spending (under the control of “community groups” like UNO of course).

    UNO was (no surprise) really the creature of far leftists (often Anglo), but brought in illegal immigrants as its (expendable) shock troops.

    Like the other “community groups” (with their bottomless pit of tax funding) it provided support for Barack Obama.

    And, thanks to the “motor voter law”, many of the illegals could vote for him (and other people of similar politics).

    California and Illinois today – virtually bankrupt States.

    If that is the furture of the United States (and the Federal finances are in a truly dreadful state) it is not a libertarian future – rather the opposite.

    Of course there are alternative hispanic voices – such as the Governors of Nevada and New Mexico and the new Senator from Florida.

    But they are not the sort of hispanic that the “human rights” and “undocumented immigants” activists tend to love. “Social Justice” and the doctrine that poverty is caused by the “exploitation” of people by “the rich” are the attitudes the activists want in minority groups in the United States (or any other Western country).

    “But Paul if all immigration was legal – but there were no government services for immigrants……”

    Well that is a different debate – Mr Henderson (and, I repeat, I am no friend of his) was talking of things AS THEY ARE – not how libertarians would like them to be.

  6. Paul,

    In the US, there’s no such thing as an “illegal immigrant” — the Constitution doesn’t empower the federal government to regulate immigration.

    Since there’s no such thing as illegal immigration, opposition to it is both irrational and irrelevant.

  7. Thomas L. Knapp.

    Even in the 1850s immigration was ruled a Federal matter (by the Supreme Court) and then there was that pesky 14th Amendment after the Civil War – with its concept of a citizen of the “United States”.

    However, say I agree with (and it is quite possible that I do) then surely the people of California should havebeen allowed to NOT to have their money taken from them (by the threat of violence) and given (in ER health cover and other such) to people they did want in their State (California) in the first place.

    Still all that is by the by.

    The film is clearly “pants” (as we say in Britain) written by the standard bunch of leftist Hollywoodheads.

    You know the sort of people I mean – the sort that make endless “noble Pancho Villa” (and other such butchers) films, yet would shit themselves if ever a true believer in the “social justice” values they have been pushing all these years, were to arrive at their nice house in Beverly Hills (or where ever) and start some “redistributing” and “revolutionary justice”.

    Of course the Republicans are often pathetic also -for example that United States Senator in 1984 Illiniois.

    When UNO came for him he boldly ……. hid in the ladies toilet (hoping they would not find him).

    And the Republican Governor or Illiniois he boldly……. gave UNO the spending they asked for.

    This is pathetic – these people did not have an army, they were just a bunch of thugs. But rather than fight back (with the help of that rather expensive State Police force, National Guard, and……) the politicians just give in.

    “It is not fear – it is just that we do not want to be seen to be rough with miniority communities”.

    Perhaps it is not fear (I can not see into their souls) – but the effects are the same.

    Of course if it was their own money they were being threatened about, rather than the money of the taxpayers…….

  8. Paul,

    Actually, the Supreme Court ruling “discovering” a federal power to regulate immigration came in 1875 (and the first use of that new power, the Chinese Exclusion Act, in 1882).

    Prior to that, the only congressional actions on immigration were bills permitting federal port officials to bar vessels that were in violation of state immigration laws.

    The 14th Amendment may have affected naturalization (which was already a federal power), but it didn’t affect immigration.

    This doesn’t have any relevance to, for example, the Know-Nothing Appeasement legislation in Arizona, since powers not delegated to the federal government (like immigration) devolve to the states and/or the people per the 10th Amendment.

    And all of it is neither here nor there insofar as libertarianism is concerned — there’s no compatibility between the non-aggression principle on one hand, and enforcement of imaginary turf lines (“borders”) drawn by overgrown street gangs (“governments”) on the other.

  9. Thomas, a nation is a lot more than its government. It is a real thing, a natural community of people and as such it is entitled to act to protect and defend itself, especially from a parastic invasion.

  10. There are questions that need to be considered when dealing with immigration – whether it is Federal or State matter (or neither).

    Private property – such as the ranchers who find their property violated by people who enter it (armed) without permission (let us not go down the absurd road of the “legal fiction of the invitee” – if some was not invited they were not invited, period) and either steal or cause damage, and if resisted (or sometimes even if not resisted) kill.

    There is also the matter of political loyalities – “why should a libertarian be concerned about that” because if someone rejects the principles of the United States Constitution (or the British Bill of Rights – and so on) they are not good people to have as your new neighbours (because they will seek to harm the existing population).

    It may be considered “feudal” by I consider political loyality a MINIMUM consdition for an immigrant.

    If someone says “we have to be careful how we teach the story of the Alamo because many of the new children are loyal to Mexico” they are not just ignorant (as hispanics faught and died at the Alamo against the dictatorship of General Santa Anna – yes I know I can not spell, and I do not care that I can not), they are also promoting the very conflict they think they are avoiding.

    People can only live in peace if they are loyal to the same polity – not if they are loyal to rival polties, holding (for example) that the very ground they now stand on should be part of the nation they have just left (not the nation they have now entered).

    One thing that is obsessed over and is irrelevant is RACE.

    The people who made this vile film were WHITE the people who distribute it and so on are WHITE.

    The Governors of New Mexico and Nevada are brown.

    I know who I stand with – and it is not the specific white individuals responsible for this film.

    What matters is the principles someone holds in their heart – not the colour of their skin.

    Limited government (or no government for an anarchocapitalist) and constitutional rights – or “social justice” and “the rich” against “the poor”.

    There can be no peace between these two visions, it is a matter of basic choice.

    Someone who believes that “the rich” have fundementally different long term interests from “the poor” clearly rejectes the principles of the United States Constitution – and thus their sworn oath of alliegiance is false.

    There was a time when socialists admitted that – after all the Bellamys (Francis and Edward) wrote the “Pledge of Alliegiance” to “the flag” specifically to get round this problem.

    They hated and despised the Constitution of the United States (especially the Bill of Rights) so they wanted a form of words that avoided mentioning it – no such form of words existed.

    So they wrote such a form of words – and generations of MORONIC conservatives have been fooled by it.

    “And the British case….”

    Well up to 1914 I could have wrote something – talking about the (mostly) unwritten Constitution understood by the people Constitutional Club network and the British National Rifle Association (and so on). And reaching back to such organizations (private armies in fact) as the Association for the Protection of Liberty and Property back in the 1790s.

    I am not sure what I could write today, so I will stop.

  11. Mr. or Ms. Ingoldby,

    Hey, everyone’s entitled to his or her own baseless superstitions. But sorry, I’ve got my own and don’t share yours.


    Since I’m a libertarian, I necessarily reject “the principles of the US Constitution” myself. Why would I object if my neighbors also reject them?

  12. Thomas you are mistaken – there was a case in the 1850s (that is why I mentioned the period) before then immigration was a State matter, with (for example) New Jersey having different rules than New York.

    You also seem to have contradicted yourself (or made a typing mistake – I am the worst typist in the known universe so I can hardly be too upset about yours, if you have made a mistake).

    You say that under the Tenth Amendment powers not granted to the Feds come under the States or people – but this does not have any relevance to the Arizonia law, surely it means that it DOES have relevance to the Arizonia law. As (by your own argument) immigration is an Arizonia State matter.

    It just so happens that the Arizonia law reflects existing Federal law (the law that is not enforced), but it could be different.

    Perhaps it should be based on MEXICAN law – which happens to be far stricter.

    “Governments are just armed gangs…..”

    O.K. then are you saying that it should be left to the people?

    Left to the gun and the rope.

    People faving INVADERS (and the comming of people who not only do not share their values – but actvively wish to destroy their community) either hand over the problem to be dealt with in an orderly fashion by a government.

    Or, if the notion of government is rejected, they deal with it themselves – by the gun and the rope.

    The very things the film FALESLY accuses people of already doing.

    Again RACE has nothing to do with this – as a lot of the people who wish to protect their homes and families from the arrival of lots of “social justice” supporters, are hispanic.

    Also the American government is not the only “armed gang” – there is also the Mexican “armed gang”.

    The war of 1848 (on the American side at least) was mostly faught by people rushing to join up (they did not regard their nation as just an “armed gang” – but O.K. perhaps they were mistaken).

    And many of the people now arriving think that war went the wrong way – and that Arizonia and so on should be part of the Mexican “armed gang” (or nation).

    Both sides had expansionist aims in 1848 (often forgotten by P.C. historians), and very few people did not believe that nations should even exist.

    And that is still true now.

    The people who come in and say they reject the concept of the United States – the people (when they are talking when they think they are not being recorded) in organzations like “The Race”.

    Do you think they are anarchcapitalist libertarians who reject the concept of the “nation”?

    Well IF you think that you are mistaken – they reject the concept of the United States (and the principles laid out in the Constitution) but they are NOT anarchocapitalists. They are loyal to a different nation – Mexico.

    Perhaps it is a bad thing to have ENEMIES as new neighbours. And someone who hates your “armed gang” and hopes for the victory of another “armed gang” is an ENEMY.

    I repeat – yet again, that this is nothing to do with RACE.

    The leading traitors in the United States are mostly WHITE – and many hispanics are loyal Americans.

    What matters is LOYALITY – not skin color.

    “But I am an archocapitalist – I do not care about all this nation stuff”.

    Well that is fine – God bless you Sir (and I mean no insult if you happen to be an athiest – that is your choice also), I have no problem with you.

    That means that when other people fight you will stand aside (as is your right) and protect your family (and any other civilians, on either side, that you can – and that is a GOOD thing).

    But over 99% of humanity, in this area, are not like you – they are loyal to one “armed gang” or the other.

    Lastly (and this is often overlooked) although the Mexican govenrment talks about “social justice” a lot (and attack such things as the Arizona law – without mentioning it is a lot more moderate than their own immigration law practices) and is certainly opposed to constitutional rights (such as the Second Amendment) the radicals (the people who support what you do not like called the “illegals”) hate the Mexican government also.

    In fact the radicals (both white and hispanic) would like to utterly exterminate the Mexcian government and a lot of other people in Mexico (and their familes).

    For them “Revolution” is not some stupid Hollywood film – it is their whole life.

    They are USING the misery of poor people for their own agenda.

    Such is the way of the world.

  13. “I am a libertarian – why should I care about the United States Constitution”.

    I know what you mean – such things as the right of the Congress to run a “post office” and build “post roads” (if they wish to do so) strikes me as crackbrained also.

    But how about the following reason…..

    The United States Constitution (if enforced – a vast “if” of course) is the closest you are going to get to libertarianism in this world.

    I remind you that the vast majority of the enemies of the Constitution are NOT anarchocapitalists like yourself.

    They are hard core collectivists (social justice people – “rich versus poor” people, even if they have lots of money and their foes do not they still say they “represent” the poor and their foes are “the rich” even if they do not have any money).

    As the vast majority of the enemies of the Constitution are (to use technical language) leftist scumbags, is it not at least possible that if what is left of the Constitution falls, it will be THEIR vision (not yours) that comes to pass?

    However, if you manage to get some people together and defend an area of land against invasion – well good luck to you. And I mean that.

  14. Paul,

    I’m a bit pressed for time at the moment, but I’ll try to reply to your substantive points. Sorry if the replies seem brusque.

    “Thomas you are mistaken – there was a case in the 1850s (that is why I mentioned the period) before then immigration was a State matter, with (for example) New Jersey having different rules than New York.”

    Do you happen to recall the case name? It never turned up in my research — but I freely admit that it could be my error rather than yours.

    “You say that under the Tenth Amendment powers not granted to the Feds come under the States or people – but this does not have any relevance to the Arizonia law, surely it means that it DOES have relevance to the Arizonia law. As (by your own argument) immigration is an Arizonia State matter.”

    What I meant to convey was that my argument against federal immigration laws would hold not water as applied to state-level immigration laws.

    “I remind you that the vast majority of the enemies of the Constitution are NOT anarchocapitalists like yourself.”

    Just for reference purposes — no offense taken or anything — I’m not an anarcho-capitalist.

    Pleased to “meet” you!