Ex-convict and character actor Danny Trejo has come a long way since playing bit roles as prison inmates and gang members. The Mexican-American hood gone good still plays thugs, but now he's finally got top billing, starring in Machete, the pulpy exploitation shoot-'em-up directed by longtime amigo Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis. Trejo plays a badass betrayed Federale caught up in a conspiracy that will determine the fate of the Mexican border and illegal laborers. Oh yeah, he also gets busy with Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, and Complex cover girl Lindsay Lohan. Salute! With Trejo on top right now, we wanted to celebrate all the small roles that made him such a cool motherfucker in the first place. All right now, enough with the talkin' and mushy stuff. Check out Danny Trejo's best bit parts...
NAVAJAS IN DESPERADO (1995)
Thug type: Hitman
Badass moment: Kills El Mariachi's friend Buscemi (Steve Buscemi) and a bunch of cartel goons with throwing knives.
Complex says: Actions speak louder than words, which is good when you have no lines. Several throwing knives to the face will tend to clean the earwax out of a motherfucker.
TREJO IN HEAT (1995)
Thug type: Ex-con/bank robber/getaway driver
Badass moment: Shot and left for dead, his wife raped and murdered, he begs his partner in crime Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro), whom he was forced to betray, to mercy-kill him.
Complex says: With past experience in the game, Trejo was also an "armed-robbery consultant" for this heist film. Can you say most gangster IMDB page ever?
RAZOR CHARLIE IN FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996)
Thug type: Biker bartender/vampire
Badass moment: Transforms from a surly bartender into a surly motherfucking vampire!
Complex says: You might pause Trejo for being on the receiving end of Sex Machine's crotch cannon. If you wanted to be forced to wrap your lips around his crotch cannon, that is.
POACHER IN ANACONDA (1997)
Thug type: Animal poacher
Badass moment: Gets eaten by a giant anaconda—before the opening credits!
Complex says: Hey, you're not a non-white actor working in Hollywood until you're the first person killed in a horror film.
JOHNNY "JOHNNY 23" BACA IN CON AIR (1997)
Thug type: Prisoner
Badass moment: His arm, upon which tattoos keep track of his rape convictions, is severed in a plane crash.
Complex says: "Johnny 23" for his 23 rape convictions? Ah, the old lascivious Latino stereotype. Horrible, but at least it's not a count of how many hubcaps he's stolen.
COLLINS IN THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS (1998)
Thug type: Hitman
Badass moment: Has a climactic fire escape shootout with fellow hitman John Lee (Chow Yun-fat).
Complex says: "Checkmate" is a great one-liner to drop before somebody's shit gets blown loose, but Trejo probably shouldn't be using it when the shit being blown loose is his own. Guess he's a checkers man.
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