Robert Rodriguez is a paradox. He makes extremely violent action movies and he makes extremely saccharine kids’ movies. He doesn’t want to work in the studio system, but you could argue that his output is incredibly studio-friendly: Sequels, spin-offs, comic book adaptations. Over the last decade, Rodriguez has created an infrastructure around himself that would theoretically allow him to make any movie he wants — and in 2011, he really wanted to make Spy Kids 4.
Rodriguez was a pioneer in HD filmmaking and digital backlots and 3-D technology, which also makes him a pioneer in Things Film Lovers Despise. He is a hero of the independent-film movement, and he is sponsored by BlackBerry. He calls himself a “rebel,” but that might just be because he’s an excellent salesman. He is one of the most important Latino filmmakers ever, and the arrival of Machete in the midst of the anti-immigration wave vibed at the time like an outright political statement, but Machete Kills sands down those political hard edges and makes you wonder if they were ever even there in the first place. (If you take Once Upon a Time in Mexico seriously, it appears to be arguing that the way to get rid of drug cartels is to fight them with cooler guns.)
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