September 3, 2010 at 1:00 am

Tom Long Film Review: 'Machete' -- GRADE: B-

Review: 'Machete' is a flesh and fun gorefest

Danny Trejo is a legendary ex-federale with a deadly attitude in "Machete." (Twentieth Century Fox)

In "Machete," Lindsay Lohan throws up and walks around naked.

Even so, the movie is not a documentary. It is a high-camp, blood-splattered send-up of a Mexican exploitation film, which is fairly interesting since Mexican exploitation films were never a thriving genre.

Actually, do they even exist?

They do now, thanks to writer-director Robert Rodriguez ("Sin City"). While most films are made and then turned into trailers, "Machete" began as a jokey trailer insert in the Rodriguez-Quentin Tarantino venture "Grindhouse" and then grew into a movie.

It revolves around Danny Trejo, the pockmarked 66-year-old veteran tough guy actor and actual former con. He plays the title character, a onetime Mexican cop now working as an illegal day laborer in Texas.

A rich sleazeball (Jeff Fahey) recruits Machete to assassinate a Mexican-hating U.S. senator (Robert De Niro, having fun), and when the shooting goes wrong the whole world is out to get our hero. That world includes a vigilante leader (Don Johnson), a Mexican drug lord (Steven Seagal) and a hottie immigration officer (Jessica Alba). Luckily, Machete can turn to an equally hot freedom fighter (Michele Rodriguez) for help.

Right from the beginning, "Machete" is a grand excuse for slice-and-dice bloodbaths, abundant gratuitous nudity and over-the-top absurdity. So the film gets some things right. But it's basically a one-joke exercise heading toward the inevitable big battle between vigilantes and Mexicans. There's lots of gore, flesh and fun along the way, but it gets repetitious.

And what, you may ask, is Lindsay Lohan's role in all this? That's not really clear. But she does throw up and get naked. So at least she's not wasting her talent anymore.