Get The Gringo (2012)
This is the old school and bad ass yet fun and exhilirating action film this reviewer’s been waiting for. This isn’t Jason Statham kicking people from miles away then shooting them for no reason, no no there’s a plot and characters and everything! Sounds paradoxical reading that in a review for an action film, doesn’t it?
Mel Gibson stars as the protagonist in Get the Gringo, he has no name we can go by. Along with no fingerprints or I.D, he is sent to a Mexican prison after crashing through the border in a failed car chase with the police during a getaway, and by ‘getaway’ I mean Mel Gibson wearing a clown mask along with his accomplice (who’s also wearing a clown mask) in the back seat bleeding to death near a bag full of money (around 2 million bucks worth), It’s one hell of an opening. So, with his money gone he’s now stuck in this prison which is more like a small city for criminals and their families, you can buy food, drinks, drugs, hang with your buddies, it’s all out in the open and his character does all he can to make a quick buck and get the hell out of there and retrieve the 2 million (which corrupt Mexican policeman are keeping an eye on). During his stay and amongst his clever ways in stealing a dollar or two from the locals, he befriends a 10 year old boy who knows about survival in a place like this, from here they quickly become enemies of the big boss in the yard who owns just about everything and everyone. It’s his wits and the young boys street smarts that are gonna get them out and back to the money he stole at the beginning of the film. The rest, as they say, is history.
There’s a hell of a lot more to the plot, but to mention it would be spoiling the fun, and what fun Get the Gringo is.
Now, to address the elephant in the room before continuing, Mel Gibson’s performance is stellar, it’s really something great. He’s known for his troubles these days more than he is his acting, and in this case, it shouldn’t come into question, his performance is his performance, it has nothing to do with his personal life. Please do not skip Get the Gringo due to Gibson’s personal life, you’ll forget about all of that the minute he appears on screen wearing a clown masking and yelling at policemen (which some will say was performed without his knowledge of anyone filming).
Gibson also wrote the screenplay, which may not be anything complex beyond recognition, but it does have a plot and a great number of fantastic one-liners. The characters are also well rounded, we like his character, even without knowing his name. We get to love the 10 year old kid, who’s pivotal to the plot rather than being there just to annoy the protagonist, they’re both smart and have a reason for doing the things they do.
Get the Gringo was directed by Adrian Grunberg, a first time director who also co-wrote the screenplay with Gibson and with the exception of shooting in digital (which is annoyingly noticeable at times) he does a fine job. He doesn’t rely on shaky cam or bad performances amongst the action, everything is of a quality degree and the timing of each line and bit of humour is almost perfect, making Get the Gringo much funnier than half the comedies released recently (The Dictator).
Gibson’s character has a lot of personality, he’s as mentioned, a smart guy and when a line is delivered, it’s a lot funnier than what it could’ve been. His character doesn’t rely on insults and looking cool, he knows what he’s doing and as we see throughout the film, one who has respect, even for a 10 year old boy. He just so happens to be a no bullshit kind of guy, which is always refreshing when it works.
Get the Gringo is that special kind of action film, one with fantastic sequences, a plot, some fun characters and a playful sense of humour that never goes away, You’ll enjoy the hell out of every minute of Get the Gringo, which doesn’t think it’s anything more than what it is, a slick, very old school action comedy. Jason Statham could learn a thing or two… along with how to pull different facial expressions while shooting someone and talking to people. Oh and not every foreigner is a villain, almost everyone in this film is the “bad guy” even the Americans… which always adds a nice balance.
However, with all of this said, there are a few things that don’t work. As mentioned, the film is shot on digital and it shows in a few scenes (not many, but enough to notice). Some of the CGI is noticeable, and could’ve been done without (especially since some of it does look cheap) and the plot does take a cheesy turn with one of the characters having a rare blood disease (an easy way out for film plots as this NEVER happens and builds a bridge for things to take place) but even this is handled better than expected.
Please, do not avoid Get the Gringo because of Mel Gibson, his performance is fantastic and the movie’s even better. You won’t have this much fun from an action film or a comedy in quite a while, so embrace it all you can.