In celebration of the release of Machete on Blue-Ray and DVD, we thought we’d list a few of our favorite Danny Trejo roles. The guy is prolific to say the least. According to his IMDB page homeboy has been in 201 films since 1983. It’s hard to pick just five, but we’ll try.
The character he plays in Spy Kids is also named Machete Cortez but he is a lot cuddlier than the ex-federale who would later have that name. In this one he is the titular Spy Kids‘ uncle who invents useful gadgets for them to fight bad guys. He’s like a cholo Q from the James Bond movies.
He is so creepy in Con-Air. He plays a serial rapist named Johnny-23 so called because of the number of women he’s raped, although as he tells the mulleted Nick Cage “It should be more like 600”. He has 23 hearts tattooed on his arm for each of “His bitches”. Yikes. Funny story: In a previous lifetime we had the chance to interview Trejo prior to the theatrical release of Machete. One of our friends insisted that we ask him, “In 1997, your character was Johnny-23. What number would your character be 15 years later?”
In Once Upon A Time In Mexico, Danny plays a hired thug named Cucuy who works alongside weirdo CIA agent Johnny Depp. In this role, Danny pulls off strange combinations of emotions in his characters. In the case of the clip below, he’s both menacing and funny. Trejo’s definitely a Mexi-can and not a Mexi-can’t in this one.
You know what’s a good movie? Heat. It’s arguably Michael Mann’s best film. You know who else is really good in it? Danny Trejo. In the film he plays the aptly named Trejo (try harder, Hollywood writers!), one of the bank robbers in Robert DeNiro’s heist gone wrong. Like in most of his roles, Danny dies at the end. Then again (SPOILER ALERT!), so does everyone else in this movie. His performance is tough but real. Perfect example of this is the scene in which he and his wife are about to get killed. Just because a vato is tough, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have feelings, homes. He gives the character the depth that a regular actor might have played as a two dimentional stereotype.
He doesn’t say anything and he doesn’t need to in this classic Robert Rodriguez film. With a girdle full of cross shaped throwing daggers and a badass señorita tattoo on his chest, Navajas kicks asses and takes names…check that…he just kicks ass and doesn’t give a crap about names. He fills pretty boy Antonio Banderas full of knives before taking out a car of cartel thugs in a bulletproof limo. In our estimation, the scene in which he stands atop the limo throwing knives inside via the sun roof is the pinnacle of badassery.