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Sunday, July 22, 2012

GET THE GRINGO (2012) - Review

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Starring : Mel Gibson, Kevin Hernandez, Dolores Heredia, Peter Stormare, Dean Norris, Bob Gunton.

Director : Adrian Grunberg.

Screenplay : Mel Gibson, Adrian Grunberg, Stacy Perskie

Running Time: 96 min.

Rated : R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some drug use and sexual material

Read the Review after the jump.

What it's about : A hardened criminal (Gibson) is captured by the Mexican authorities while trying to escape with 2 million dollars and a dead accomplice. The cops hold on to the cash and throw the Gringo in the most surreal prison you've ever seen outside of "Prison Break" Season 3. Forced to survive in the harshest conditions, he befriends a tenacious 10-year-old boy who will eventually become the key element of his plan to escape and get his money back.


The Good : Mad Mel can still play badasses. Gibson doesn't opt for the manic over-the-top "Lethal Weapon" performance, going instead for the cool, calculated "Payback" career criminal looking to get back what was stolen from him and survive by cleverly manipulating his enemies. The Gringo is Gibson doing what he does best and it's his performance that holds the movie's sometimes outrageously pulpy story from derailing. The action scenes are fun and well staged, although there's not a lot of it. You won't find any overblown set pieces here, but I was pleasantly surprised by the movie's production values. The prison feels authentic, particularly since it's based on the infamous "El Pueblito" prison in Tijuana, and provides a fitting backdrop for the Gringo's grim exploits. There's also plenty of violence here to appease fans of R-rated flicks and some of it will actually catch you off guard at times. But it's not all carnage, and the movie ultimately strikes a nice balance between gritty and crowd-pleasing.

The Bad : Once you get into the atmosphere and conclude that you're enjoying it, there's not much that will seem out of place. If there's anything "bad" about the movie, I could say it's the the thinness of the story. Characters are simple caricatures and the bad guys are generic and not very intimidating. Everything gets wrapped up so improbably neat that you might have a problem believing it. The Gringo gets away from most situations too easily, taking away much of the tension that the movie could have really benefitted from. And, the voiceover narration felt completely pointless. I know it's customary for noir protagonists to talk to us from behind the scenes, but the Gringo doesn't really have much to say, except crack a few jokes that aren't even particularly funny. The voiceover lines you've heard in the trailer aren't even in the movie.

Conclusion : "Get the Gringo" is simple, fun, violent escapist entertainment featuring one of Mel Gibson's patented badass performances. He's not meant to be likable, but he grows on us regardless of his cynical criminal behavior. That's what Gibson does best. The movie doesn't break the mold in terms of filmmaking and you won't have a lot to discuss afterwards, but it's fun while it lasts and much better than I expected from a movie that never made it into theaters.





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