‘Machete’ Pushes Conservative Buttons

Danny Trejo in Machete – One Bad Ass Mexican

Machete is opening this Labor Day Weekend and I’ve been looking forward to it since hearing that they were going to take the mock trailer from the Grindhouse double feature by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino and make into a full length feature film. I have no expectations of a grand and glossy action flick. The goal is a drive-in exploitation feel and I know quite a few critics will balk. Machete will be blood and guts with no apologies.What is more interesting about Machete is this article on AOL’s MovieFone site. The premise of Machete pits undocumented workers against those who exploit them. The main character, acted by Danny Trejo,  is a former Mexican Federale who takes on a druglord named Torrez–who happens to be played by Stevan Seagal! Haven’t we all wanted to see Seagal get his ass kicked just once? After witnessing his wife’s murder, Machete crosses the border and works as a day laborer until he gets an offer to assassinate a Texas senator named John McLaughlin–played by Robert Deniro (this just gets better and better). It turns out the assassination plot was a campaign trick and they try to make a sucker out of Machete, but he ain’t having any of that. On top of the two previously mentioned villains you have a leader of a Minuteman Militia called Von who is played by pretty boy Don Johnson and a business tycoon named Booth played by Jeff Fahey.

On the heroes side, helping out Machete is Cheech Marin as Padre Benito del Toro, Michelle Rodriguez as Luz aka Shé who helps illegal immigrants from apparently a taco truck, and Jessica Alba as Sartana who is an immigration officer with a heart of gold. I will be interested to see how Cheech Marin plays his priest character. As usual at Freethunk, we like to see Priests in less than priestly situations and I would guess this priest isn’t turning the other cheek.

Basically what this movie comes down to is a bunch of Latinos fighting white people. I’m hoping we can all take a joke.

All in all, it sounds like a good ride, but even better is if the movie tweak the fears of conservative America on illegal immigration. I was getting tired of hearing everyone blame Mexicans for lost jobs and even drugs. First off, we should legalize and openly sell drugs which would solve the problem of Mexican druglords (commercialism is cheap and crass but rarely do you get fired at). Second of all, there’s a viable debate that America needs an incoming flow of cheap labor for the economy to grow. It’s exploitative in some instances, but it can also lead to better work for Mexicans who can make it into the American workforce over time and it allows for more small businesses to grow in the face of corporate competition. American capitalism is messy and sometimes unfair, but we all seem to have cable TV for a reason–better standard of living than most of the world.

For those Americans who are the decendants of immigrants and who seem to think illegal Mexicans are stealing tax-funded benefits left and right, they should consider how much we have benefited from their cheap labor and cheap labor in general. Those Walmart specials are the result of someone getting paid next to nothing so your kids can wear their new back to school outfits.

I’m sure we’re all guilty on some level of taking advantage of the system. I cannot blame illegal Mexicans for trying to escape a bad situation. The only thing that annoys me about illegal Mexicans or even legal Mexicans is playing the ranchera music too damn loud (honestly guys, it’s not cool sounding music, don’t blast it from your car like hip hop).

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