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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

cinematic roots of: ‘Machete’

No movie springs from a vacuum. There are always influences from past examples of the genre, from the previous work of the filmmakers and stars, even from similar films that don’t quite work. If you want to understand where a movie is coming from, take a look at where it’s coming from.

In Machete, a former Mexican federale (Danny Trejo) hiding out in Texas takes on The Man who wants to bring down his Hispanic brothers and The System that perpetuates social injustice. This flick sprang from (among other films):

El mariachi (1992), filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’ stunning debut feature, in which he demonstrated the flair for style and gonzo storytelling that has become his trademark.

Jackie Brown (1997), for a similar appropriation of 70s exploitation flicks by Rodriguez pal Quentin Tarantino.

Billy Jack (1971), the exploitation classic about a half Native American avenger who defends civil rights for Indians and hippies.

The Wild Angels (1966), by exploitation master Roger Corman; it’s about dangerous bikers, and offers iconic imagery that Machete borrows.
Where to buy:
Billy Jack [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.]
Jackie Brown [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
El mariachi [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The Wild Angels [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]



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