The recently released film Machete may be an ultraviolent Mexploitation flick, but here at I-Con it has some educational value. At the risk of spoiling what little plot this film has, it is the story of a Mexican Federale with a penchant for machetes who find himself in the United States as an illegal day laborer after a drug lord kills his family. Then, using a massive human smuggling and support network predictably named The Network, he ends up exacting revenge for being set up for an assasination attempt.
What can we learn from a movie where Danny Trejo dismembers dozens to promote immigration reform? Well, one aspect of the film was actually pretty realistic. Stephen Segal guest stars as a powerful drug lord that at first seems to be pure cinema: he carries around a samuai sword, controls the police and even American politicians, has an army of thugs with plenty of firepower, and ruthlessly kills whoever he chooses.
But in actuality, the only thing that may be exagerated here is having a Senator in his pocket, though cartels are believed to infiltrate US border officials. The cartels really do exert a lot of influence on the Mexican police, as evidenced by the recent firing of 10% of the federal police force for failing lie detector of drug tests. They really are well armed, taking equipment straight from the police, army, special forces, and foreign smugglers, and are just as brutal, with mass graves, decapitations, and dead women and children making the news daily. And they do seem to be this crazy, with absurd nicknames like shorty, cult-like religious justification, and narco-rap theme songs.
Another instructive element is The Network. Illegals are everywhere, and so it The Network- they are in taco trucks, hospitals, restaurants, and auto shops, and can all communicate covertly. They possess Information Access Superiority as they gather intelligence by being your gardener, mechanic, or doctor, but you probably don't know The Network exists and, in professions like day laborers, they are ignored and invisible to most. It's also self sustaining, as they smuggle more aliens who then become parts of The Network themselves, and repay the favor when they have the means. The Network can then be suddenly mobilized into an army of Hispanic caricatures and beautiful, heavily armed ladies. This exemplifies brilliant Human Network Operations and reminds me of the strategy used by the French in Algeria to wreak havoc on insurgents by disguising informants as manual laborers in areas sympathetic to the FLN.