They just fucked with the wrong Mexican.
The story of Machete is an interesting one. It began when Robert Rodriguez first met Danny Trejo on the set of Desperado. He believed Trejo should have been a "Mexican Jean-Claude Van Damme or Charles Bronson" named Machete. Other projects got in the way, though, and Machete was put on the shelf. Rodriguez continued to use scenes he had planned for it in his other movies, and also introduced a significantly friendlier version of the character in Spy Kids.
In 2007, Rodriguez filmed parts of Machete for a fake trailer attached to the beginning of Grindhouse. After making another children's film, he revisited Machete and set about making it into an actual film. The final product includes every scene from the fake trailer, and gained massive popularity as the quintessential exploitation action flick parody of the 00's. It boasts an impressive cast, including Danny Trejo, Steven Seagal, Robert De Niro, Cheech Marin, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Rodriguez, and more.
Machete stars Danny Trejo as Machete, a mysterious Badass Mexican hired off the street to kill a
United States Texas state senator. However, before he can complete the mission, he is betrayed and left for dead by the same men who hired him. Now, eager for revenge, Machete sets out to take down the senator and everyone else who gets in his way.
Rodriguez has released that the script for the sequel has recently been finished. Trejo, Alba, and Lohan are all slated to return.
- Above the Influence: Machete, with a drunk Jessica Alba no less. Mind you, it works out for him.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Machete's... machetes, and the scalpels he later uses.
- Action Girl: Luz and Sartana. April in the end Took a Level in Badass.
- Actor Allusion: Torrez, played by Steven Seagal, describes Machete as "notoriously Hard to Kill". Torrez also uses an aikido move on Machete during their final confrontation.
- Robert De Niro's line "It's showtime!"
- Adam Westing: Lots and lots.
- Steven Seagal pokes fun at his countless unstoppable badass role by playing a Complete Monster villain... who is so badass that he can only be killed by a self-administered sepukku.
- Lindsay Lohan as a drug-addicted, slutty Mafia Princess who likes to stream her naughty bits on the internet (willingly, this time) alongside her mother. And whose father makes some... unfortunate comments about her.
- Michelle Rodriguez as an over-the-top version of her usual sexy, badass Latina roles. Her death doesn't even merit a spoiler. Her surviving and largely subverting her typecasting makes her reveal at the end serious, ultimate badass.
- Felix Sabates as essentially the same doctor he played in Planet Terror, and, in fact, who he actually is in real life: when Sabates isn't appearing Rodriguez' movies, he's the Rodriguez' family doctor.
- And, last but not the least, Danny Trejo! A Hey, It's That Guy! for his entire career, typecast as "that creepy Knife Nut Mexican", he finally gets a leading role as the described character type.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Yes. Yes they do. And their moms too.
- Almighty Janitor: Luz runs a food stand. Machete gets along as a laborer and poses as an actual janitor and a gardener later.
- Awesome McCoolname: Machete is not actually his nickname, it's his birthname.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: invoked when Sartana brings up Luz's "aiding illegal immigrants, evading border patrol and unsanitary food preparation".
- Bad Habits - April wears this for the final battle, shortly after she finds that her father had been killed.
- Badass: Considering it's an action movie directed by Robert Rodriguez, pretty much the entire cast. Especially Machete himself. One villain says he's "CIA, FBI, DEA, all rolled up into one mean fucking burrito."
- Each and every Mexican character.
- Badass Biker: Machete rides a chopper with ape hanger handlebars. Later he mounts a gatling gun to a bike.
- Badass Grandpa: Machete Cortez' birthday is listed as May 16, 1944... which is Danny Trejo's birthday, making him 66.
- Badass Longcoat: Machete wears a longcoat at the final battle. Full of machetes. Oh Crap.
- Badass Mustache: Just look at it. The padre has an awesome one as well.
- Badass Preacher: Played by Cheech Marin, too.
"I took a vow of peace. And now you want me to help you kill all these men?"
- And, of course
"Please, Father, have mercy."
- Bare Your Midriff: Michelle Rodriguez does this; Fan Service indeed.
- Batman Cold Open: The film opens three years earlier with Machete and a sidekick Federal chasing down a woman kidnapped by Torres. Too bad it's a trap!
- Beat Panel: A hilarious one from the guards:
- BFS: Machete holds (but doesn't use) a machete as big as he is in the climax.
- Big Bad: Torres. Working with McLaughlin, Von Johnson, and Booth.
- Big Brother Is Employing You: Rivera.
- Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Born-again April, with automatic weaponry.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: April, Luz and Rivera.
- Bloody Hilarious: All over the place, but mostly the intestines.
- Bloodstained-Glass Windows: The showdown between Padre and Osiris.
- Broomstick Quarterstaff: Machete uses a mop to fight his way past Booth's goons after the faked assassination attempt on the senator.
- Car Fu - Low-rider hydraulics have never been so lethal.
- Car Meets House - Several times.
- Caught on Tape - The villains commit so many criminal acts in front of video cameras that it borders on Too Dumb to Live territory. Heck, a Texas state senator, during an election year, actually requests that someone videotape him committing murder and burn a bunch of copies of the DVD.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Booth is ironically the one who gave Machete the handphone ("Machete don't text") in the first place.
- Chekhov's Corkscrew: When Machete visits Luz's house, for a second, camera focuses on a corkscrew lying on the table. Later, when they are attacked, he uses it in combat.
- At a safehouse hospital, a friendly doctor mentions how the human body has 60 feet of large intestines. Guess what Machete uses when he needs to make a quick exit out of that hospital's window?
- Completely Missing the Point/Does Not Understand Parody: A few "concerned" people thought this was a violent racist movie. Fortunately, the wank is hilarious. They didn't watch it, either, apparently, because, as below, a Mexican is the real big bad.
- Contract on the Hitman - The whole plot.
- Creator Provincialism: The film is set in Austin, where Robert Rodriguez lives and his film studio is based.
- Crucified Hero Shot: With surprising attention to detail. Most depictions that even use nails will have them driven into the palms; this movie accurately shows the nails being driven into the wrist-joints.
- Danger Takes a Backseat: How Luz finishes off Von Jackson in the end.
- Machete uses this to bust himself out of the first arrest.
- Dark Faux Action Girl: Aside from shooting the naked woman (who also counts) who tricks Machete in the opening in the back of the head in her first scene, Cheryl Chin's character does ... pretty much nothing. All she does when Torres dies is pout fetchingly.
- Deadly Dodging: Machete gets into, and out of a street fight, doing only this (it ends when the other guy breaks his own fist on scaffolding).
- While eating a taco!
- Machete don't hit unarmed men.
- Defictionalization: It began its life as a fake trailer attached to Grindhouse. Rodriguez was planning on making it a direct-to-DVD movie in the first place, however, but was eventually convinced to make it for theatrical release.
- Deleted Scene: How did Machete get out of Torres' death trap that opened the movie?
- See the What Could Have Been trope below.
- Determinator: Machete has a bullet in his head and got shot in his shoulder. This won't stop him from kicking ass.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: How did Machete's hit on McLaughlin go tits up? A second gunman was involved.
- The nonfatal assassination itself has been to compared to the shooting of former Taiwan president Chen Shubian, complete with "magic bullet" accusations (it grazed his belly).
- Also, a political assassination involving a man named Booth? Hmmmm...
- And it takes place in Texas (due to a mixture of Creator Provincialism and, well, it's cheaper to shoot where your studio is). True, Austin, but still.
- The campaign adds comparing Mexican immigrants to vermin is similar to Jews being compared to rats in the Nazi propaganda film The Eternal Jew.
- An American politician who lives in Texas and affects a Texan accent but isn't even from the South? Hmmmm.
- Double Entendre
"What's this long, hard thing?"
- The Dragon: Booth, Jackson, and Torres each have one, but neither seems particularly good at their job.
- Dual-Wielding: Machete with a pair of machetes vs. Torres with his katana and wakizashi.
- Sartana with her stiletto heels!
- Dueling Movies: Went up against The Expendables for title of "Most Action-Packed Movie of 2010", and also the most manliest movie of 2010. It grossed less (37 mil for The Expendables, Machete got 10 mil - it was a slow movie weekend, apparently), but gained better critical reaction.
- Eagle Land: Flavor 2 for all the bad guys, except Torres, who's Mexican. Sartana, the Mexicans, and a handful of La Résistance Caucasians are Flavor 1.
- Von Jackson and McLaughlin think they are Flavor 1, but their bullying and trigger-happy redneck cowboy ways make them Flavor 2. Though McLaughlin seems to fall to Mixed Flavor -- right around the time he admits he's not even from Texas -- in the end.
- Easily Forgiven: McLaughlin is pretty easily forgiven by the Network once Von and his man turn on him. April is not so forgiving, though.
- Epic Flail: made from a nurse's belt and some surgical knives. Do NOT try this at home.
- Ethnic Menial Labor: You didn't suspect the movie will feature Hispanic laborers, did ya?
- Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted. When Von Jackson kills a pregnant woman, Senator MacLaughlin half-heartedly calls him out on it, then he kills the husband with the same sadistic pleasure.
- Everything Is Big in Texas - Including man-sized machetes.
- Exact Words: Machete tells Booth that April and June are with God. Booth assumes that they're dead, when they're actually in church.
- Exaggerated Trope: Hoo boy. It would be easier to say that every trope listed is exaggerated to varying degrees, and some are driven Serial Escalation.
- Eyepatch of Power: Luz.
- Eye Scream: Luz's fate. She gets better.
- Failed a Spot Check: When two Mooks defending Booth's mansion come across Machete, he bluffs his way past them by holding up a pickaxe and weedwhacker and saying "New gardener." One of the Mooks begins lecturing the other how everyone views illegals as common day-laborers and muses that any Mexican could just sneak past any security point by claiming to be a gardener... When the Mooks realize what they did, Machete's already got the weedwhacker revved up.
- False-Flag Operation: The bad guy's plot.
- Fan Service: Lessee. Gratuitous nudity about three minutes into the movie. Too bad girl in question gets blown away. You got Lindsay Lohan (actually a body double, although she's pretty close herself later on) and her character's mother topless and making out with Machete in her daddy's swimming pool. There's also Jessica Alba showing almost everything in a Shower Scene. Damn elbow placement! Oh, yeah, the guys (and some girls) will like.
- Also Michelle Rodriguez's combat uniform. (Hell, her standard clothes - Daisy Dukes and spaghetti-strapped tank top - also count.)
- Jessica Alba's nude scene was later revealed to not have been nude after all. She's wearing fairly covering panties and top, which were later removed digitally. But it's still Jessica Alba, which for many is enough...
- Fake Nationality: Steven Seagal as a katana-wielding Mexican drug lord? That could work...
- Robert Rodriguez seems to have a fondness for this, as he acknowledged the on-purpose, over-the-top silliness of a spray-tanned Willem Dafoe playing a Mexican drug lord in the DVD commentary of Once Upon a Time In Mexico
- One of Luz's Network crew is an adopted white kid who was raised Mexican.
- Senator McLaughlin isn't actually from Texas. His southern accent is totally fake. His real voice is simply Robert De Niro talking normally. This is probably a reference to the fact that George W. Bush is actually from Connecticut.
- Faking the Dead: Luz, comes back from the dead wearing an eyepatch and donning her old role as the rebel leader "Shé".
- 555; Pops up on Booth's phone. Also, 1-800-HITMAN has one too few numbers.
- Foreign Culture Fetish: Torrez, apparently, down to using a katana and committing seppuku.
- Gatling Good: Machete attaches a gatling gun to his motorcycle, then rides over an explosion from nowhere to shoot a mob of Mooks.
- Genre Savvy: The guards in black suits go through a zig-zagging version of the trope. At first, they are Genre Blind enough to let in a Badass-looking Mexican with sharp garden tools, but quickly realize - and Lampshade - that they were suffering from Plot Induced Stupidity. When Machete pays a second visit, they are Genre Savvy enough to surrender to him, understanding his role as the Action Hero and theirs as expendable goons. He's nice enough to let them live.
- George Lucas Throwback: To '70s exploitation/trash movies, especially in the vein of blaxploitation movies.
- Godiva Hair: April, waking up in a church after having been fucked sensele... drugged by Machete. It doesn't always cover everything up.
- Go Out with a Smile: McLaughlin after getting shot up by the remnants of Von Jackson's group when he is mistaken for a Mexican. He seems to enjoy the irony and gives a classic De Niro grin.
- Gorn: A Rio Grande of blood is spilled in the movie, with dozens of characters killed in gruesome ways. Like bungee jumping... with intestines.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Played with. Booth's guards drop the ball by letting Machete in, thinking he's another day laborer and complaining about how people always fall for the simplest disguises, but almost instantly realize it.
- Guns Akimbo: With shotguns no less!
- Gratuitous Spanish: Lots of it.
- Hand Cannon - April's S&W500 in the final battle.
- Luz's sawn-off - based on comments from IMFDB about the size of its barrels, it's 6-gauge.
- Heel Realization: One of Booth's Mooks. "Ive been watching the boss, and the boss is a real scumbag." That same Mook, when confronted by Machete shortly thereafter, promptly quits his job and gives Machete his gun.
- Honor Before Reason: The entire reason Machete's in this situation.
- Hospital Hottie: The twin nurses who help Machete out. They show up during the climax, dual-wielding guns to cut down racists.
- Hot Mom: April's mother definitly qualifies
- Hypocritical Humor:
- Booth has no problem using and abusing Mexicans, oh, and by the way, can you pass him another taco at lunchtime...?
- The evil scheme scheme: Crooked politicians and drug runners want to seal up the border... to make it easier for them to import their illegal merchandise.
- One Mexican corrects his fellow dishwasher's pronunciation of Spanish profanity... and then pronounces "Hey" wrong.
- The same character also supports the anti-immigration policy, as he's already on this side of the border. Also one of the mooks at Booth's house is Hungarian.
- Impairment Shot: Machete as he is wheeled into an ER.
- Ironic Echo:
- Not verbally, but Torres says to Machete that beheading him would be the honorable way to kill him, but Machete doesn't deserve to die honorably. Torres later commits seppuku.
- The two guards bitching to the three hitmen Machete shoots during his escape from the assassination attempt.
"I thought Jango shot you..." "I don't want to hear that story ever again."
- The Illegal: Major plot point.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Every Mook suffers from this.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Nearly every hero (and the top-tier Bad Guys) have this.
- Improbable Weapon User: Many of the Improvised Weapons get rather outlandish. Machete uses a Grass String Trimmer as weapon on one of the goons. As the goon reaches for his gun, Machete repeatedly uses the trimmer on his fingers without hurting him badly.
- Improvised Weapon: The Movie of the trope. Machete turns just about every prop within arms reach into a weapon. Booth is shown "disciplining" one of his Mooks with a USB cable. Sartana kills one man with a table ornament and another with her shoes.
- Incredibly Lame Pun - Luz's alter-ego, "Shé". Pronounced like Che. You know, overused Communist icon.
- Inspector Javert: Rivera, at first.
- Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Machete shows up with gardening tools, and the guards just let him in.
- And, of course, he actually IS dressed as a janitor earlier in the movie to get to his sniper perch.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Torres' weapon of choice. Leads to a swordfight between katana-wielder and machete-wielder.
- Karma Houdini:
- Osiris, who disappears before the climax, due to his death scene getting left on the cutting room floor. Remnants of Von Jackon's vigilantes manage to escape and continue gunning down people they think are Mexicans. Torres' female sidekick just walks off.
- In a rare Triple Subversion, McLaughlin. First he looks like he's going to escape disguised as a Mexican [after helping the Mexicans, strangely enough], but then April shoots him. Then he turns out to have survived thanks to a bulletproof vest, and flees on foot. But then he gets killed by Von Jackson's men, mistaking him for a Mexican.
- Karmic Death / Hoist by His Own Petard: McLaughlin - after putting on a Hispanic-looking outfit to escape the Big Final Shootout - is caught stumbling along the border fence by remnants of Von Jackson's army and shot down, falling into the electrified fence. McLaughlin even smiles as he dies, apparently appreciating the irony.
- Kavorka Man: Ladies love Machete.
- Considering the trailer insists "Machete gets the women," this was unavoidable.
- Knife Nut: Machete and Torres. AND HOW!
- Made of Plasticine: At one point, Jessica Alba picks up a pyramid-shaped sculpture and rams it through a guy's chest.
- Machete Mayhem: A given. Machete later gets a ridiculously huge one in the final battle that disappears during the showdown with Torres.
- Mafia Princess: April.
- Magical Security Cam: The playback of the taping of Von Jackson and McLaughlin shooting Mexicans attempting to cross the border simply replays the scene early in the film, complete with angle cuts.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Torres undersells getting impaled with a machete in a way only Steven Seagal can.
- With the machete still sticking in him, Torres appears to attempt a ritual disemboweling: knowing he was already dead, he tries going out like a Samurai but fails, much to his Asian girlfriend's disgust.
- Male Gaze: Used several times, notably with Luz (by Machete) and a nurse (by McLaughlin) McLaughlin gets yelled at for it.
- Masked Luchador: One of the assassins attacking Machete and Sartana wears a Lucha mask to conceal the fact the Feds are now after Sartana.
- May-December Romance: 29-year-old Jessica Alba and 66-year-old Danny Trejo.
- Meaningful Echo: "If not us, then who?"
- Meaningful Name: Machete, Booth...
- Probably the most meaningful name in the entire movie is Luz, who is a beacon of hope for her people.
- Misfit Mobilization Moment: The "Network" mobilizes.
- Modesty Bedsheet: Jessica Alba poses nude in front of a refrigerator with her arms positioned in just the right way to hide anything naughty (and in fact Alba was wearing normal underwear which was CGI'd out.
- Moe Greene Special: Luz. She survives it.
- Mother-Daughter Threesome: Machete scores with June and April Booth at the same time. And sends the video to Papa Booth.
- Mobile Kiosk: Luz's taco van.
- National Stereotypes: Plays with the Mexican stereotypes.
- Never Trust a Trailer: While the film is mostly faithful to scenes filmed for the 'Original' trailer, some scenes from the real trailers don't appear in the final cut.
- One scene from the Grindhouse trailer that didn't make the real film is the shot of Booth cowering behind armed guards while Machete launches himself with a gatling gun/motorcycle combo at them. Booth dies in another scene and isn't there when Machete goes all Gatling Good at the bad guys.
- There's also Machete's coat uncovered a lot of machetes strapped everywhere. In the film, he just uses two hilariously huge machetes in the final battle.
- The trailer originally had Machete taking aim at the senator as he coasted town the street in a convertible, full on JFK style.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: McLaughlin is a far right-wing politician out of Texas, who isn't even from Texas originally.
- Non-Indicative Name: Machete does most of his damage with Improvised Weapons. And one Weaponized Motorcycle.
- Noodle Incident: All those newspaper headlines that
Luz"She" was responsible for...
- No One Should Survive That: Luz was shot through the eye at not much more than point blank range, and except for the obvious loss of vision in that eye survives without lasting ill effects, even though such a wound (if survivable at all) would likely result in massive brain damage.
- No Party Given: McLaughlin is referred to as an "independent" candidate. On that basis alone, his odds of winning probably weren't too good. Indeed, Booth tells him he would never be reelected without him.
- The Not-Secret - Luz is She... who'da thunk?
- Offhand Backhand: Booth's Dragon doesn't even look as he shoots McLaughlin.
- He looks when he fires, it's just that he first turns the rifle towards McLaughlin while still looking/smirking at Machete.
- Offstage Villainy - Torres' drug operations have been... expanding.
- Off with His Head: Machete decapitates a lot of people, including five guys with a single stroke in the opening scene.
- Oh Crap:
- "You're telling me that Mexican day-laborer is a G*****N FEDERALE?!"
- Also, when Booth gets Machete's first-ever text message.
- And when the bad guys' plan for immigration begins falling apart...
- When MacLaughlin realizes the nun he's talking to is April.
- One-Scene Wonder: Cheech Marin has only a couple of minutes of screen time, but manages to steal every scene.
- Only a Flesh Wound
Machete: "I wasn't going to kill McLaughlin. I was only going to shoot him in the neck, to stop him from saying those stupid things."
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Steven Seagal as Torres, which is almost certainly completely intentional. One hopes.
- The Other Darrin: Many of the actors from the fake trailer got replaced.
- Papa Wolf: Booth to his drug-troubled daughter April. It would be his redeeming quality, if it wasn't because he wants to bone her. At least he knows it's wrong, and has confessed it to a priest.
- Parental Incest/Villainous Incest: Booth confesses to impure thoughts about April. Meanwhile, she's filming porn with her mother.
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: Invoked when Machete hacks the encrypted files on Booth's computer.
- Production Posse: Danny Trejo and Darryl Sabarra were both Spy Kids directed by Rodriguez and Alba ended up in the next one.
- Robert Rodriguez's nieces, doctor and girlfriend Rose McGowan in a deleted scene are again in this movie.
- Playing Against Type: Steven Seagal is the villain.
- Plot Hole: As with most other tropes in this film, deliberately used as a throwback to poorly cut and hastily shot grindhouse films that were rife with these.
- Psycho for Hire: Osiris Amanpour (1-800-HITMAN)
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Network. Also counts as La Résistance.
- Ramp Jump: An incredibly Egregious example at the climax of the movie: Machete mounts a minigun onto a chopper, and ramps off of a part of the scenery with a huge explosion behind him (with no apparent cause other than it would be awesome), and cuts down a dozen mooks with gunfire before landing.
- Rated "M" for Manly: The movie is a homage to the avenging anti-hero movies of The Seventies. So it's got everything - guns, machetes, explosions, machetes, sexy women, machetes, and tequila - that made such movies so manly. And thankfully without the awful disco soundtracks. Well, besides the scene with Lohan. Oh, we forgot to mention it's a Grindhouse spinoff.
- Real Trailer, Fake Movie: Machete started out as one of these.
- Reality Subtext: Lindsay Lohan as a drugged-out amateur porn star who's trying to have a legit career? Awkwaaard. But hilarious.
- Recycled in Space!: As of Comic Con 2011, the sequel Machete Kills Again has been retitled Machete Kills Again IN SPACE!
- Refuge in Cool, Refuge in Audacity, Rule of Cool: Take your pick.
- Retired Badass: Played straight with Padre. Heavily implied with Luz.
"I don't kill anymore." "You don't kill any less, either."
- Right Man in the Wrong Place: The plot gets kicked off when Machete's framed for assassination of a racist senator - Booth has no idea he just hired the wrong Mexican.
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: Von Jackson and his border vigilantes.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: They DID, after all, just fuck with the wrong Mexican...
- Rousing Speech: given by Sartana to the Mexican workers, and it's appropriately cheesy.
- Rule of Fun: Robert DeNiro's reason for being here.
- Running Gag : Von Jackson's dragon throwing up after witnessing something violent. Lampshaded by Von Jackson himself.
"You need to work on that."
- Torres saying "puñeta" every time he shows up. It's, sadly, a practically untranslatable Spanish curse word (the closest it can be translated to is "jerking off" used as an exclamation or adjective), but to any person familiar with Spanish, it's rolling-on-the-floor funny.
- The Savage South: insane Mexican mercenary runs amok in Texas.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: When Sartana gets pulled off the case, she decides to deliver all the evidence she has acquired from Machete to a news reporter.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Upon encountering Machete again after getting getting shot in the legs during Machete's escape from the framing, a mook immediately quits angrily.
- Sequel Hook: "Machete... Will Return in... Machete Kills! And... Machete Kills Again!"
- The Siege: The climax of the film. Rather appropriately, given the film's pro-immigration themes, the heroes are the ones trying to break into the fort.
- Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Trailer: Jeff Fahey was barely in the trialer and did not appear on a lot of promotional material, despite having more screen time than De Niro and Seagal.
- In the original Grindhouse trailer, Machete is seen inspecting a table full of weapons while John Carpenter's synthesizer score from Escape from New York plays, imitating a scene from that film.
- And the wide shot of the four bad guys walking into the church seems to echo the DiVAS entering the church in Kill Bill
- Luz in an eyepatch and stepping out of an ambulance covered in leather could homages Elle Driver and/or Snake Plissken.
- Padre getting shot quite badly in the knee in the church echoes Marquez's injuries in Once Upon a Time In Mexico
- And the Bloody Hilarious intestines...thing seems to echo El and Carolina's hotel escape in Once Upon a Time In Mexico, except that was a chain.
- A gunfight against mob enforcers in a church while Ave Maria plays in the background is a reference to John Woo films.
- Don't forget where the name Sartana comes from.
- Senator McLaughlin (played by Robert DeNiro) drives to the Vigilantes' compound in a... taxi.
- Another Shout-Out to Once Upon a Time In Mexico: The shadowy freedom fighter is called "She". El Mariachi is also known as simply "El," which is Spanish for "He" (or possibly "the").
- Shrouded in Myth: "She," as well as Machete by the end.
- Shut UP, Hannibal: A rare example by a villain. Booth delivers his Hannibal Lecture to McLaughlin about how much the senator needs him, and McLaughlin responds by shooting him.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The use of Ave Maria and Vicente Fernandez's "El Rey" during scenes of slaughter.
- South of the Border: Parodied.
- Spicy Latina: Not just Michelle Rodriguez, the poster girl for this trope but also Jessica Alba who rarely plays this role, as well as several more. The nude woman in the opening scene also counts.
- Spin-Off: Of Grindhouse and Spy Kids, though the latter's only connected by a character name and actor.
- Split Screen: Fight scene at Jessica Alba's house.
- Spoiler Opening: You'll notice a difference between Luz in the opening credits and Luz in the movie. The one in the credits has an eyepatch...
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: During one scene, Machete is listed as the character's birth name.
- Strawman Political/Straw Hypocrite: Senator McLaughlin, to the point of absurdity.
- When your political ads could have come straight from a GTA game, it's kind of a given.
- The Stoic: Machete. Even when faced with the prospect of getting laid. And in the middle of sex.
- Stylistic Suck - This being a Grindhouse spinoff and parody... you can tell Rodriguez was aiming to fill the movie to the brim with cheesy special effects and intentional Fridge Logic. For example, a lot of the effects are obviously intentionally half-assed or done wrong.
- Take That: A Cinco De Mayo-themed trailer was issued with "A special message... to ARIZONA!" In response to an anti-illegal-immigrant law (SB 1070) that had just passed in that state.
- Taking You with Me: Torres considers this as he's dying...
"...But you'll probably be in Hell waiting for me."
- Technical Pacifist: Machete, believe it or not. Sure, he kills a lot of people, but he goes out of his way to take out a lot through nonlethal means. Note the group of Mooks who live to encounter him a second time - only to survive again.
- Theme Naming: April and June.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Such as lowriders smashing people or strangling people with someone elses' guts.
- They Call Him Machete: That's also his real first name.
- Third Person Person: Machete sometimes refers to himself as this. "Machete don't text. Machete improvises."
- Those Two Guys: Booth's security guards and the two dishwashers.
- Throw It In: Apparently the awesome line "Machete don't text" arose from a real-life communication between Danny Trejo and Robert Rodriguez
- Throwing Your Machete Always Works: In this movie, it does.
- 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: Machete and Luz both survive a bullet in the brain unscathed (well... minus an eye in Luz's case but it doesn't seem to cause her much trouble.)
- Machete actually survived two. The first bullet saved his life by stopping the second bullet's advance.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Anyone who's seen the trailer (or even just the opening credits) will know that Luz survives losing her eye and gets a patch.
- She also appears with the eyepatch on the cover of the DVD.
- Troperrific: No exploitation movie trope was left untouched!
- Two-Person Pool Party: ...or Three Person in this case, as Machete scores with mother/daughter pair June and April Booth.
- Two Scene Wonder: The hilariously Genre Savvy guards.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Perhaps not ugly, but Machete is definitely scarred and craggy-looking. And both his wife (for the half-minute she was alive on-film) and Sartana are considerably easier on the eyes.
- The Un-Reveal: The fate of Machete's daughter. Torres claims in the opening sequence that he'll kill Machete's daughter but we never find out if he did. A later scene implies that Luz is Machete's daughter but we never find out if that's true either.
- Vasquez Always Dies: Subverted. Michelle Rodriguez, the poster girl of the trope, gets a bullet in the eye... but returns later in a Crowning Moment of Awesome. And to top it off, she survives after that as well. Of course, there's always the sequel(s) to play this trope straight.
- The Verse: Apparently, takes place in the same universe as Spy Kids, albeit a much Darker and Edgier version of it.
- If this is true, then Sartana has another twin sister (see What Could Have Been) who's married and a spy...
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: This might be an example, or it might not be, but the nude woman in the opening scene eventually withdraws a phone from Victoria's OTHER Secret Compartment. In other words, someplace you really, really shouldn't keep a phone.
- Villainous Breakdown: Booth.
- The Voiceless: One Mexican only communicates with a sketchpad.
- Weaponized Car: a whole fleet of these in the climax. Except that at some point they ran out of weapons and put in hydraulics instead.
- What Could Have Been:
- The deleted scenes contain several. Sartana had a slutty twin sister constantly whacked out on Ny Quil that also lived with her, and they also greatly disliked each other - she is later murdered by one of Osiris' partners who also didn't make it into the film, followed up by a scene of Sartana finding her body and showing she really did care about her; Osiris had another female partner named Boots McCoy (complete with her own title card introduction), who seemed to be quite crazy originally she was the one to shoot Luz in the eye (by using a live cat as a silencer no less) instead of Von Jackson, and she also kills Sartana's twin sister by slitting her throat with a razor blade in her mouth; Osiris' fate, detailed below; Sartana questions Senator McLaughlin and Booth in the hospital about the assassination attempt; and scene of the Senator being interviewed by the latina reporter at the station. There's always Machete Kills...
- Chris Cooper was the first choice for the Senator McLaughlin role. He turned it down as he thought the script was too weird.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Osiris disappears before the climax, without getting killed or finishing his job. In one of his later scenes, he notes that Machete isn't looking for him, implying that he simply quit. He was originally supposed to get caught scoping out the chop shop and get decapitated by a power saw, but the scene was deleted.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: the white kid's buddy is an artist who draws perfect portraits of Sartana and Machete. What does he do in the final fight, when the nurses, Wrench Wenches and dishwashers are all packing heat? Just... run around sketching like mad, apparently.
- Wilhelm Scream: One of the border vigilantes emits one in the climax before being squashed by a hydraulics-hopping lowrider.
- World of Badass: It can be simply said that the entire cast lives and breathes badassery.
- World of Ham: Machete is the page summary for this trope.
- Would Not Shoot a Good Guy: Machete spares the lives of Booth's guards, who only had an extremely vague clue as to what their boss was getting up to. Also, when he is "arrested" by phony cops, he waits until he hears them admit that they're fake before killing them.
- Writer on Board: Played for laughs and invoked. Rodriguez does, apparently, mean the film's pro-immigration stance sincerely, but he also portrays the conflict as not even really about race, but about money, with a Mexican drug lord as one of the main villains, and turns up the Narm and anviliciousness up, since it is meant to be a throwback to stupid race exploitation films.
- You Have Failed Me...: Torres, Booth, McLaughlin, and Von Jackson don't like it when their underlings make too many mistakes. They even start turning on each other when their more monstrous actions go public, Booth getting killed and Von Jackson about to execute McLaughlin.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness - All the bad guys to each other when Machete ruins their plans, again
- You Killed My Father: Textbook example when April shows up in the end to shoot McLaughlin.