Which came first, the chicken or the egg? In the case of Machete, the Mexploitation picture directed by Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis, it was the trailer, two-plus minutes of B-movie bliss that appeared in the failed 2007 double feature from Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, Grindhouse.
The (then fake) coming attraction introduced Machete (ex-con bit player Danny Trejo), a craggy, tattoo’d former federale who’d been “set up, double-crossed and left for dead!” Proving that less equals more, the feature-length expansion retains Jeff Fahey as plot instigator and Cheech Marin as a gun-toting padre while adding Jessica Alba as a customs agent, Michelle Rodriguez (no relation) as a freedom fighter, Steven Seagal as the drug lord who murdered Machete’s wife, and Robert De Niro (!) as a corrupt senator.
Alas, not even Lindsay Lohan — doing a cartoonish riff on her tabloid persona (is this even possible?) — can bring this rotten egg to a boil.