Michelle Rodriguez has literally fought her way to stardom, starting with Karyn Kusama's boxing drama Girlfight. Rodriguez came away with an Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance and the start of a unique career as one of Hollywood's action heroines. In the past ten years, Rodriguez has driven with The Fast and the Furious, fought zombies in Resident Evil, rode the waves in Blue Crush, got Lost, and piloted one of James Cameron's futuristic ships in Avatar.

Rodriguez's latest role as Luz in Robert Rodriguez's Machete takes the action star to a whole new level of kicking ass. Deep in the heart of Texas, Luz runs a taco truck that feeds the local day laborers home-style food, comfort, and hope for a better future -- as well information about jobs, how to get papers, or even cash in a pinch. Luz's alter ego is Shé, a revolutionary, gun-totin' mama who runs an underground network that helps immigrants once they've crossed the border into the Texas. Luz ends up being a much-needed friend to Machete (Danny Trejo), a former Federales who escaped a Mexican drug lord by the skin of his teeth and keeps finding himself in increasingly messy situations on the Texan side of the border. He's got a machete, but Luz has got, well, a lot more than a taco truck on her side.

Rodriguez took some time out of her busy day to talk to Cinematical about self-stereotyping, playing with politics in Machete, and the outer space kind of aliens she'll be fighting in Battle: Los Angeles.