Film review: Not even Lady Gaga can save Machete Kills

Robert Rodriguez, 110mins. Starring: Danny Trejo, Alexa Vega, Mel Gibson, Lady Gaga (15)

The latest Machete yarn begins and ends with enormous zest. The problem is the 108 minutes in between.

Rodriguez first conceived Machete as a "fake" trailer inserted into Grindhouse, his 2007 double-feature with Quentin Tarantino. At feature length in a sequel, the in-joke quickly runs flat.

Not even the presence of such notorious pop cultural figures as Mel Gibson (a mad scientist who seems to be on leave from Austin Powers) and Lady Gaga (a shape shifting, truck driving assassin) do much to energize matters as Danny Trejo's deadpan Mexican vigilante hero dutifully, and slightly wearily, decapitates, shoots or lops the limbs off almost everyone he encounters.

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