on 1 June 2012
Mel Gibson is on form as a 'career criminal' in this action movie (a.k.a Get the Gringo) set in a Mexican prison. He's a naughty lad, our lad with no name and no finger prints, and is doing time for stealing over $2 million but the police did thank him for contributing to the police fund. The prison is more like a ghetto with the inmates carrying guns, doing drugs, and there are plenty of women around, and children. But no one can get out. One child, a boy of 9 (or 10), is special. Why? Because he has the same blood type as the King Honcho in the prison and the King Honcho needs a liver transplant.
Our Mel's certainly getting a lived-in look - I think they call it character - but he's still great on screen. This was co-written and produced by him. Actually, I think he is a great director too - see Apocalypto (2006).
The humour in this movie had me cracking up with laughter but if you are a bit, well, prissy, you have to be warned that the language is strong and the violence hard-hitting. The little Mexican boy is magic. Children, don't act like this at home!
on 28 October 2012
Not to be confused with the rotten 1997 Rom-com of the same name, this is a decent action/adventure movie with Mel Gibson reminding us why he was once the biggest male film star in the world - oozing roguish charm and wild charisma; the supporting cast, including Kevin Hernandez as a semi-feral kid, and Dolores Heredia as the kid's mother are decent too, and the film is a high-octane experience from blistering start to slippery finish.
However, this is a very cynical movie, and there is a lot of dubious morality, with Mel's character finding closure, but at the expense of innocent bystanders who are carelessly sacrificed by his amoral crook - this is of course the nature of the beast in this context, I was just disturbed by the casual killing and general smugness exhibited by a character who is clearly supposed to have the audience on his side. A sign of the times? I don't know.
on 3 September 2012
Basically blacklisted by Hollywood for his reprehensible anti-Semitic utterances, Mel Gibson has decided to continue his movie career without the support of the major film studios (this movie was not released theatrically in the United States). In Get the Gringo, this has resulted in a film with an over the top, not holds barred violence that would almost certainly have been toned down if released by a major studio.
Gibson is an American (his real name is never given in the film) who is captured by the Mexican police when he is fleeing American authorities in a car chase along the border. With two million dollars in the car. He is send to El Pueblito, a prison that seems more like a third world slum market hellhole than a place of incarceration. The prisoners live among their families in slum housing conditions, and there is a big square inside with market stands. Of course not every prisoner is equal - basically the prison is run by the top gangster Javi, the prison warden being an employee of him. While learning who's on top of whom, he makes two friends in the jail, a ten year old boy - to whom he gives a cigarette (the kind of scene unlikely to be released by a major studio) and his mother. He learns the little boy has a very important personal grudge against Javi, which helps him plot his next moves. I'm not going to tell more about the plot, but it involves very violent goings-on, including an over the top Peckimpah-style shootout in the prison plaza.
Some might criticize Gibson for making Mexico looks very bad - though nothing here shows the brutality of the present drug war there - yet the American characters are not very good either (the most likable characters in the film are Mexican, the 10 year old boy and his mother).
For its style and good storytelling (the director is Adrian Grunberg, in his movie debut; Grunberg and Gibson co-wrote), I recommend this - though it is obviously not for everyone.
on 18 October 2012
This script and storyline is right up Mel Gibson's street. He's perfect for the role as a wily old goat whose experience and cunning helps him cope with the tough rigours of life in a Mexican prison. In fact not just cope, but out manoeuvre the hardest of Hispanic and Gringo crimbos.
Perhaps it all falls together a little too neatly towards the end, but this is nevertheless a a fully engaging story and, in my opinion, one of Gibson's best performances to date.
on 13 August 2014
GET THE GRINGO aka HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION (The UK title and US working title) starts out on the US side of the Mexican border with a nameless driver (Mel Gibson), his mortally wounded accomplice and 2 million dollars of stolen cash being pursued by cops. Seeing no other way out, the driver crashes his car through the border fence, where two corrupt Mexican cops are already waiting. The two Mexican cops Vasquez (Mario Zaragoza) and Romero (Gerardo Teracena) are about to hand the driver over to the US authorities but when they find the cash they decide to bag it for themselves and arrest him themselves.
The driver is incarcerated in the El Pueblito prison under false charges. As the only American inmate he becomes known as "The Gringo" and El Pueblito turns out quite differently from what he expected: the "prison" is a ghetto in which the prisoners are left pretty much on their own.
With the help of an unnamed kid (Kevin Hernandez), who lives in El Pueblito with his incarcerated mother and is protected by the criminals, the Gringo learns about how the prison functions and who the big names are.
Later, when Gringo stops the boy's assassination attempt on Javi (Daniel Giménez Cacho), the gang boss of the No. 1 crime family in El Pueblito, he finds out why the kid is protected: Javi has a failing liver, and the kid is the only viable match. Gringo intends to help the boy at any cost...
GET THE GRINGO is a solid action-thriller with a great performance by Gibson who co-wrote and co-produced the film. While nowhere near as good as Gibson's classics, the first two MAD MAX movies or the LETHAL WEAPON series, GET THE GRINGO is certainly better than most of his more recent movies.
It is pretty much the same style action-thriller as PAYBACK, even the characters are similar and it has the same type of humor. This isn't bad at all, it is a good role for Gibson.
The story is as unrealistic as can be - I don't mean the level of corruption shown here, that IS realistic - but it still is a very entertaining gangster movie with a rather interesting setting.
The cast - mainly Mexicans - is fairly good and convincing, of course Gibson is great, so are Kevin Hernandez as the kid and Dolores Heredia as his mother.
Director Adrian Grunberg, whose debut GET THE GRINGO is, did a great job: well paced and well shot, especially the shoot-outs are very well done.
What keeps me from giving it a "full" 4 stars, but rather a 3.5 is the last third of the movie which just seemed to me like it was rushed and drops the realism bar even further.
Still it definitely is worth watching, especially if you like Gibson's more villainous roles.
Reviewed version: 2012 Lionsgate UK Rental version*
Feature running time: 93 mins. (uncut)
Rating: R (MPAA) / 15 (BBFC)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 / 16x9
Audio: English 5.1
Extras: None (rental copy)
Region: 2 (locked)
* The reviewed version is the rental copy. Extras, audio tracks and subtitles may vary from the retail version!
on 9 January 2013
How I spent my summer vacation (Get the Gringo).
Bought this film from Amazon, and well, it's a cracker! Set in a Mexican jail with a brooding Gibson as the leading man the film starts fast and interesting and just gets better. Basic premise is a bad guy (anti-hero) has to lose everything to win (a sorta Midnight Express meets Payback). Cannot believe this went straight to DVD! The lightweights at Hollywood have got to be mad! This is a class film, well acted and filmed. Good stunts a plenty, well played out fight scenes, snappy dialogue and has the only actor in the world who could pull this off with anything near authenticity - including the Clint Eastwood impersonation!
Like Mel Gibson or hate him, you can't deny this film showcases his awesome talent and so if you buy it you won't be disappointed.
Hope he makes more of these, I won't be swayed by the PC paranoid media machine, as far as I'm concerned he's being punished for being human, but ultimately it's the fee paying public that are being punished because a film of this calibre (and lets face it they are few and far between) are not making the rounds of the cinemas - So Hollywood, be careful what you wish for!
I love a film that's feels not only different but gives the viewer something to cheer for as well as enjoy. That's exactly what I got from this latest Mel Gibson title which to be honest I had a lot of fun with. It's got some great twists, the acting is reasonable and I loved the dodgy anti-hero he played here that really stole the show.
Add to this a solid script backed up with typical Gibson humour purveying throughout and when added to some slick shots, some good editing and a whole host of action really gave me a title that I enjoyed from the beginning opening sequence to the final scene.
on 5 May 2013
I watched this film with a great deal of anticipation and although it wasn't first rate, it reminded me just how much I'd missed Mel Gibson. In spite of his personal woes, he still has that star quality so lacking in some of today's so-called stars. He has a good range but Mad wise-cracking Mel is always a safe bet. This deserved to be so much bigger than it was and certainly would have been if it weren't for the recent problems Mel Gibson has had. It's easy to kick a man when he's down but let's remember what made him so damn watchable in the first place.
The film itself reminded me of Way of the Gun in its tone, in other words it was quite violent and perhaps because I'm growing older now, this has less appeal than it perhaps used to. Yes, it could have been better and yes, there were echoes of Payback, which was a superior, if equally violent film. It was entertaining though and more than anything it was vintage Gibson. Welcome back, Mel and keep them coming!
on 4 March 2014
Yes the man did bad a couple of years ago, but we are here because we love movies, not because we like to gossip about people to make ourselves feel better, are we?..
If you yearn for the days of Mad Max, Payback, with a little bit of Lethal and Bird on a Wire thrown in, Mel is your man.
Mel has gone right back to basics with this movie. Six years ago he had the world at this feet, directing solid movies and so on. But he's gone right back to his Galipolli era with this hark back to the seventies.
Gibson plays 'Driver', arrested in Mexico. There is some plot regarding money that the policia have taken from him, which belongs to someone else, and more and more.
While Gibson is fighting his demons, he befriends a nine year old boy, because the prison he is in allows families to be together, but he finds out that this boys father was killed by the big wig, who is only keeping him alive for his liver....
It's difficult at times, with the complex narrative, but Gibson makes the film insanely watchable, and the eighties/seventies throwback feel of the film is just right.
It won't re-surge his career, but I don't think he cares much, he's doing this to show people he's still got it, he's funny and charming in this, and it's the closest you've seen him as Riggs in over fifteen years.
on 13 August 2015
Mel Gibson is back, more mature, hurt and failed, cinical and apparently detached from emotions and drama, but still a cosmic avenger that now is even smarter and less out of control than before. This film, whose british title (the american one was quite common) is enough itself to give it 4 stars, is a cool, realistic and at the same time very playful south of the border crime noir under the sun. Mel is getting older (like his partner used to say in Lethal Weapon) and wiser, but not less lethal. He almost refused any belonging to his homeland and now he is a rejected outsider hiding and convicted in mexico, where people, ad they say, are not more outlaw than the yankees, but certainly less hypocritical and puritan. And here is where you can find the deep value and keaning of this film: a total opposition to current hollywood spand american standard, replaced by a will for survival that Mel embodies from beginning to end, showing all his experienced and skilled talent in getting in amd out of trouble without showing off, but with the wise and even more effective ability of an illusionist, an almost invisible guy who sneaks in and out of the scene, steal your wallet or blow up your house, saving energy and almost effortessly, and you don't even notice him. And that is what I call style