So if your idea of a nostalgic good time is a nonstop action-movie featuring a tight-lipped Mexican day-worker (Trejo) turned vigilante killer, a sleazeball Mexican drug lord (Steven Seagal), an opportunist Texan politician (Robert De Niro), his corrupt behind-the-scenes fixer (Jeff Fahey), a racist businessman (Don Johnson), a chilli-hot female immigration agent (Jessica Alba), a fiery freedom fighter who runs a taco stand (Michelle Rodriguez), a gun-toting padre (Cheech Marin) and an avenging angel in a nun’s outfit (Lindsay Lohan), this will toast your enchilada. The problem is that the overcooked plot tries to shoehorn in a political subtext about illegal ‘wetbacks’ and right-wing politicians and businessmen who exploit the racist backlash they incite.
If you can take Rodriguez’s blood-spattered cartoon violence, half-baked politics and adolescently gratuitous nudity, there are some guilty pleasures to be had. Not least the sight of the crater-faced, heavily tattooed character actor Trejo in his first leading role – at the age of 66. He favours machetes, but Trejo’s exiled ex-cop tries to right wrongs – and avenge the murder of his wife and daughter – with just about any weapon, household object, gardening tool or surgical instrument that comes to hand.