By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
Hey, Mel Gibson has another action-thriller out! Wait, you didn’t know that? It’s not playing at your local theater, you say? Well, that’s hardly a surprise, as it’s only available On Demand. Yes, this is where Mel Gibson’ s career is at now.
This just doesn’t seem right
I don’t imagine you need a recap of how he got here, but it still surprises me how efficiently he destroyed an A-List career irrespective of the quality of his work. I can’t really think of a parallel, but I can’t feel too sorry for him, either. Who I do feel sorry for is first-time director Adrian Grunberg, who must have been ecstatic when he got Gibson on board for what then looked like a sure-fire wide release film. And honestly, in a world where nondescript Jason Statham thriller #37 plays in 2,500 theaters, this film should have gotten that. Well, better luck next time…
Get the Gringo stars Gibson as an ex-sniper and career criminal who narrowly evades police and escapes toMexico… only to get thrown into Mexican prison, because that’s what happens whne you smash through a border fence with a trunk full of stolen cash. Mexican prison turns out to be rather unique: a fully functioning small town that just happens to be escape proof and full of criminals. Gibson soon befriends a young boy and his mother and sets to work helping them out of a particularly dangerous situation, trying to escape, and getting his cash back.
Which unfortunately doesn’t leave any time to brew any hot dog flavored pruno…
Make no mistake, Mel Gibson is still a hell of an entertainer. He’s perfect for this role, and the hint of craziness in his eyes, intentional or not, only helps. He can kick ass and wisecrack while he’s doing it without breaking a sweat, and he finds a strangely ideal partner in Kevin Hernandez, who plays the chain-smoking, overly precocious nine year old badass in much the same way that he did in another woman he stole- The Sitter. If he’s already being typecast, I guess there are worse labels than “Miniature Danny Trejo.”
He’s a bit behind in the tattoos department, though
The rest of the acting is solid as well, particularly the cartel bigshot/villain played by Daniel Gimenez Cacho, who you might recognize from the excellent, Coen Bros-esque Deep Crimson. Shit, even Peter Stormare manages to be just a little over the top. The production values are surprisingly good, and if they were using squibs instead of CGI blood (it’s thankfully hard to tell), stunningly so. Grunberg has some room to grow, but he shows some real promise and style, and several of the action sequences are among the best I’ve seen this year.
This is still a rookie film, which is obvious from the start. The voiceover and cutting of the opening sequence is trying too hard to be clever, and instead comes off as a pale imitation of the more accomplished Ritchies and Tarantinos of the world. The film finds its feet soon after, but an early beer will help get you there.
When you consider the mix of eye-catching action, a great soundtrack, and entertaining acting, all in a unique setting most folks don’t know anything about, there’s not too much to dislike about this film. Also, there’s about zero chance of it happening, but I’d definitely watch Gibson’s character in action again.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time you hear “gringo”
Take a Drink: whenever someone smokes or bums one
Take a Drink: whenever Kevin Hernandez does something inappropriately precocious
Take a Drink: for every arterial spurt
Drink a Shot: any time Gibson talking about women gets uncomfortable