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Originally published Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 11:57 AM

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‘Machete Kills’: Sequel just doesn’t cut it

A movie review of “Machete Kills,” the sequel to the gore-soaked 2010 “Machete” that’s just plain bad. It stars Danny Trejo.

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie Review 1 stars

‘Machete Kills,’ with Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lady Gaga. Directed by Robert Rodriguez, from a screenplay by Kyle Ward. 107 minutes. Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, language and some sexual content. Several theaters.

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Somebody wake up Danny Trejo. He’s got a sequel to do.

Trejo, never the most expressive of actors, seems out on his feet in “Machete Kills.” Mostly he stands around with a vacant expression while the movie happens around him.

Maybe he’s just bored. I can relate.

“Machete Kills,” for all its torrents of blood and acres of guts — SPOILER ALERT! There will be intestines — is a deadly dull affair. The follow-up to Robert Rodriguez’s 2010 “Machete” just recycles the best elements of that splattery guilty pleasure — Intestines! — in a story that meanders all over the Southwest and Mexico until it eventually winds up in outer space.

Machete in space! The multi-tatted Mexican vengeance machine with the face as seamed as the side of the Grand Canyon as an astronaut. Weird, right?

I’m not going all spoilery on you here because the movie opens with a faux drive-in-style “prevue,” complete with tinny music and scratched-print images, of “Machete Kills Again ... In Space.” Which is only appropriate, given that the original “Machete” grew out of a faux “prevue” that Rodriguez stuck onto the beginning of his 2007 picture “Grindhouse.” That trailer is funny because it was so unexpected and over the top. The gore-soaked movie it inspired is pretty funny in a deliberately crafted so-bad-it’s-good kind of way. “Machete Kills” is just plain bad in a way that is in no way good.

The story, ah, something about Machete being hired by the president of the U.S. to thwart a plot by the bad guy to blow up the White House with a chintzy-looking missile and ... zzzzz.

What it mainly is is a lame excuse for stunt casting. Charlie Sheen as the president, Mel Gibson as the villain, Cuba Gooding Jr. as an assassin, Lady Gaga as another assassin. If Rodriguez’s intention was to rehab the careers of Gibson, Sheen and Gooding, it doesn’t work. Their performances are perfunctory. As for the Lady, dear, don’t quit your day job.

Soren Andersen:

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