‘Get the Gringo’ is Mel Gibson’s latest chance at career redemption. With his personal life taking a battering and movie output almost dormant his recent reputation has been less than fantastic. He seems to have become persona non grata to audiences although he does well in his new film. Mirroring his famous ‘Lethal Weapon’ role it’s full of tough action and spicy dialogue with Gibson’s presence looming large.
Sent to a Mexican prison after stealing from a crime lord, Gringo (Mel Gibson) settles into his new lodgings. While exploring the huge facility he meets a young boy ear-marked to donate his liver to a fearsome drug baron. Determined to protect him and to retrieve a stash of previously stolen money, Gringo attempts a prison-break. What follows unleashes a quagmire of violence rarely seen with everyone vying for vengeance.
Directed with gritty intensity by Adrian Grunberg ‘Get the Gringo’ is a tightly woven action film. That doesn’t mean it’s a mindless ‘shoot ‘em up’ as it examines prison politics and the strange hierarchy prisoners adhere to. Mixing in an outsider with Gringo’s presence, the stage is set for a deadly game of brinkmanship. With his street-smarts his most powerful weapon, Gringo’s abilities come in handy with his persona deftly shifting between hero and villain.
Portraying his anti-heroic role with skill, Gibson displays some traits unseen since his break-out Hollywood days. He works well with a fine cast with his co-written screenplay allowing the tension and occasional humour to naturally surface. Much may be made about some of the violence although this uncompromising quality succeeds in conveying the harsh justice meted out in a fortress-like prison having its own set of rules.
While Mel Gibson may have a long way to go in re-establishing his career, ‘Get the Gringo’ is a good start. Effectively using his talents, it’s a solid movie full of the rapid fire scenarios in which he gained fame.
Rating out of 10: 7