Starring: Mel Gibson, Kevin Hernandez, Dolores Heredia, Peter Stormare
Distributor: Icon Films
Runtime: 95 mins. Reviewed in Jun 2012
Originally titled, How I Spent My Summer Vacation, this would have been completely misleading for those who thought this might be a nice holiday story. Get the Gringo gets to the core of the film at once.
Since his real-life troubles, Mel Gibson has not appeared in many films, only Edge of Darkness and The Beaver (which reminded audience how persuasive an actor Gibson could be). Get the Gringo is familiar Gibson material. He is a tough action loner who has a way with quips and a touch of sentiment despite his criminal behaviour and his proneness to add to body counts.
At first, we are immersed in one of the most squalid Mexican prisons that you could ever hope never to visit let alone be interned in. Gibson is The Driver who is captured on the US-Mexican border after robbing a drug czar from San Diego. Police on both sides of the fence are corrupt. So what hope does The Driver have? Well, he has his wits as well as quite some criminal skills and he does survive the brutality and ugliness of the prison which is set up as a town within its walls with women and children living there. The Driver befriends a tough little type – who has a different story. His rare blood type means that his liver is precious for a transplant for the ruthless overseer of the prison. There are a range of despicable characters and exploiters.
It moves back to more familiar Gibson material when The Driver does a deal and gets out of prison to get rid of the drug czar. At this moment, it seemed that he might really be a cop in deep cover – especially when he sets up quite a con, very smart, to entrap the criminal chief. He is not. But, at that moment, the police decide to raid the prison, the overseer demands his transplant, and Mel, of course, comes to the rescue.
It’s tough, brutal-languaged entertainment for those who like this kind of thing. So, that was how he spent his summer vacation.
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