By Jason Delgado
Film can provide a window into the human soul in a way that no other medium does. Words can be beautiful (or destructive), and they paint a picture, but the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is amplified when those pictures are moving at twenty-four frames per second.
Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo answers an immensely important question on life that people continue to heatedly debate, ever since the dawn of the law of man. Can the so-called “worst of us,” (aka the criminals, murderers, drug addicts, etc.) be rehabilitated and redeemed? The answer to that question is yes, because Danny did it.
I didn’t know the story of Danny Trejo’s personal life before this documentary, and I won’t go into many details on the Machete star, so as to not spoil the movie, but It is truly amazing, like the man himself. I can tell you that in the brief time that I met Trejo in person, he gave off a gentle soul-like vibe, which is almost unfathomable, considering how his early life played out.
The film does a good job of showing how a rough environment shaped Danny Trejo’s life, like it does for so many others who grow up around addiction and poverty. It’s a sobering thought to ponder that countless people in life are typecast because of the way they look, just as Trejo was for decades in many of his roles as the tough, scary inmate #1, before he finally broke out as Machete.
In a day and age where the death penalty is still around, and there is so much strife going on in our country (and around the world) we need to let love in to replace the hate. Trejo did that, and completed the ultimate redemption story in the process, by way of kindness and constantly giving back to the people who could use it the most.
I give Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo five out of five hot sauce packets. The Punisher is wrong; even the most hardened criminals deserve a second chance, and some even become a Mexican-American screen icon in the process.
Inmate #1 is available now on Digital retailers including Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play, Xbox, Playstation Video, Amazon Video and more.