Danny Trejo is back in Machete Kills. This time, the president (Carlos Estevez, better known as Charlie Sheen), has called him in to stop a warlord (Mel Gibson) who has his sights on the White House – missile sights, that is. Michelle Rodriguez is back as the eye patch wearing Luz and Lady Gaga also makes an appearance alongside Amber Heard and Sofia Vergara in a film that’s as outrageous and explosive as the first.

One of the most prolific character actors out there, Danny Trejo spent 11 years of his life in and out of prison. The former drug addict completed a 12 step rehab program and while speaking at a Cocaine Anonymous meeting, he encountered a young man who later turned to him for support. Trejo met him on set at the filming of Runaway Train and was hired on the spot as an extra. The work lead to his hiring as a boxing trainer for actors and when the director Andrey Konchalovskiy saw him, he offered him a role in the film, launching his acting career.

Trejo churns out films on a regular basis, usually making at least four a year. Here’s a selection of some of his best movies.

Spy Kids

Trejo usually appears in more adult films, but believe it or not, the character of Machete first made an outing in 2001’s Spy Kids as the older brother of Gregorio Cortez (Antonio Banderas). It tells the story of a seemingly perfectly normal family. However, Carmen (Alexa Vega) and her brother, Juni (Daryl Sabara) are unaware that their parents are actually former international spies. Originally assigned to terminate each other, Gregorio and Ingrid (Carla Gugino) fell in love instead, marrying and having children together.

When Gregorio and Ingrid are kidnapped, Carmen and Juni set out to rescue them and uncover the truth about their family. Along the way, they visit their Uncle Machete (Trejo), who initially refuses to help his younger brother, who he resents, only to have a change of heart later.

Spy Kids was a hit with adults and children alike. It is an intelligent, fun film that doesn’t rely on lazy slapstick humour to win laughs and stresses the importance of families without falling into saccharine sweetness. The franchise continues to be popular, with a fifth film in the series due out next year.

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