Mel Gibson, it has to be said, has lost his way a little recently. I’m not just talking about his personal life, in which he has very much lost his way, but in his movies too in my opinion.
Personally I think Mel is at his best when he’s playing the low-down, dirty, underdog out for revenge or with one thing on his mind. He played that role brilliantly in 1999’s Payback and here, in Get The Gringo, he plays it again.
Get The Gringo sees career criminal Gibson, simply known as ‘The Driver’, get caught and sent to a prison in Mexico. Here he goes about learning the ways of the prison with the aid of a young boy who is ‘special’ to the baddest bad guy who’s running the prison.
Director Adrian Grunberg has been an assistant director more times than I’ve had hot dinners and on some large films too and in Mexico, so you can bet that he knows his stuff and he helps with the writing of the film along with Mel himself and Stacy Perskie.
Grunberg does an excellent job and in my humble opinion keeps things fast paced and fun even when he slows down a ‘Mexican stand-off’ style shooting in the prison, it’s still glorious to watch. He manages to pull it off without it feeling gimmicky or tacky.
For his part Gibson is in the role that I think he’s best at: the wise-man who’s been through the ringer a few times and is imparting his wisdom on those around whilst single-mindedly going after his goal and he plays it brilliantly.
Kevin Hernandez plays the kid who’s helping Gibson in prison and other than Peter Stormare and Bob Gunton the rest of the cast are relatively unknown. This certainly isn’t a bad thing if anything it helps with the air of a stranger being in a foreign prison.
If you’re looking for a fun, well written, well acted film and don’t mind seeing a few beatings and a bit of blood (from the outset…as they’d say on TV) then Get The Gringo would be an excellent choice.
BTW Hollywood – the film title ‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’ makes a lot more sense for the final scene so why change it??