Get the Gringo [Blu-ray] [US Import]
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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!
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
With Blood Father looming in the background and the trailer looking rather good I decided to go back slightly and start watching other Mel Gibson greatness, starting with How I... Read morePublished 4 days ago by DAN H.
Fantastic film, love it, good one to add to my Mel Gibson films collection.Published 1 month ago by MR A.