MOVIE REVIEW: “Get the Gringo” stars Mel Gibson (Mad Max, Braveheart), Kevin Balmore (The Sitter, Surviving Jack), Delores Heredia (Gitanas, Vantage Point), Daniel Gimenez Cacho (The Promise, Snow White ), Jesus Ochoa (Man on Fire, H.O.M.E.), Peter Gerety (War of the Worlds , Inside Man), Roberto Sosa (The Matador, Man on Fire), and Peter Stormare (Fargo , 22 Jump Street). It is directed by Adrian Grunberg, who also wrote it with Mel Gibson and Stacy Perskie. When a career criminal (Gibson) is taken to a prison in Mexico, he soon discovers that it is no ordinary facility. The prison acts as a growing community with families, shops, and a way to make a living. However, it is one particular family that the criminal takes interest in, as they are in danger and he is willing to protect them and escape at any means possible.
Over the course of a year, I’ve been growing a deep admiration for Mel Gibson as a filmmaker. “Hacksaw Ridge” did better than I expected, and “Braveheart” and “The Passion of the Christ” were truly exceptional. It only made sense for me to fuel the Gibson tank with another review. “Get the Gringo” was one of those bargain rack blu-rays I picked up a while back, having never heard of nor expected it to be great. The story seemed interesting though, and for three dollars what could I possibly lose? Honestly, this picture is a complex piece to figure out. Not in the sense of its story, but in its packaging. The direction of this feature was different from what I’m attuned to, and how the plot unfolds can become chaotic. Heck, the story in general is a dirty slop-fest. It’s odd, bold, and completely out there. What the crap is “Get the Gringo”? Well, let me tell you. Gibson plays a convict sentenced to a Mexican prison that acts like some sort of city, where families can be raised and lives can be fulfilled, even though they’re entrapped by a fenced perimeter. Drama ensues as Gibson decides to protect a family from a man who apparently has a lot of strings pulled for him in and out of the prison. Things get crazy, with many gun fights, chase sequences, and hand-to-hand combats taking precedence of the screen. From the get-go, I was hooked with this movie. It opened to a car chase, with Gibson and his partner in crime dressed as clowns carrying stolen cash in hopes of reaching the border. The directing was fast and the dialogue was quippy and comedic. My face lit up because it was something I’ve never quite seen before, and oddly enough I enjoyed it. Something about seeing Gibson complain about his dying partner spewing blood all over their money grabbed my attention. It was from that moment on that the directing eased back, opting for a more controlled approach to how the rest of the story would play out. This was strange because it felt like the beginning was directed by a completely different person. I guess it was necessary though; otherwise the rest of the story would suffer the same fate all Robert Rodriguez films do, where weird direction absorbs the story to a point of lunacy. For some reason, most movies I’ve seen that take place in Mexico or have Hispanic influences boast the same vibe of saturated colors and a sense of being fake. This could be due to their budgets or their severe want to have a green screen. “Get the Gringo” rarely ever had a green screen, considering how most of it takes place within a prison. Getting back to the story, I thought that overall it was alright. Understanding how the prison operated proved to be more interesting than Gibson’s dilemma, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t have good moments. There’s plenty of scenes where Gibson shines, albeit they come in sprinkles. Really, the only thing we have to hold out for with him is his willingness to help a family in need. He could be nice, or he could just love the kid’s mom he is trying to help. Either way, that’s the drive of the story, and at times it can get blown way out of proportion. Heck, most of this flick is overblown. The whole concept of the prison is insane to think about, and by the time we reach the end, Gibson and his co-stars are doing things that I couldn’t imagine happening in real life. If they do, I need a serious reality check. I mean, is the system so crooked that inmates can have surgeries, run little shops, and move in and out of a prison at their own free will? It seemed too brash, especially whenever they stress that the inmates still can’t escape (if you could do all of that stuff, why not leave?). Some plot devices ask for clarity, and I’m sure the writers were not seeking to answer many questions when traversing through this beaten path. The performances were alright for what they were, and the cinematography was pretty good. What really gave the push for this film was its originality and direction. It was something new to me, and I’ll admit to having enjoyed my viewing experience. The plot did run out of steam towards the end, but otherwise I was entertained. It’s certainly not for everyone as it has its own style, but for me I will say I had a good time. It’s not Gibson’s best, however it’s not the worst either. FINAL SCORE: 77%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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