NOTE: This is a review of a film on Netflix.
After robbing a bank, an unnamed man (Mel Gibson) is arrested by the Mexican Police and sent to El Pueblito prison.
Get the Gringo marks Mel Gibson’s return to action films after his near blacklisting in Hollywood due to his racist ranting and subsequent girlfriend abuse. While that is material for a gossip column, which I will not subscribe to, it has been too long since we have seen Mel Gibson in an action film. It is nice to have him back in his element, but it pains me to say the film itself is not particularly good. While it is not terrible, I found it a chore to watch and didn’t find it as witty, relevant, funny, or entertaining as I expected it to be.
Normally, I would go into the plot of a film here in a little more detail. I am not going to do that in this case. The problem being that the film is overstuffed with plot lines involving a prison that is more like a city slum, heroin vendor shops included, a 10 year old chain smoker, a criminal mastermind running the prison, the criminal mastermind needing the chain smoking kid for his liver, and of course, a lot of money that was stolen from Mel Gibson’s unnamed character by the Mexican police which actually belongs to a San Diego crime boss. As you can see, trying to describe all of that in even a couple paragraphs would be a chore and I probably wouldn’t do justice to the intricacies of the plot. Needless to say, you have to pay very close attention to the film to pick up everything that is going on. While they do manage to mostly stay on Gibson’s character, I couldn’t help but wonder why he needed to include so much in the plot. Sure, he is the catalyst for all the action, but I feel that the film would have been much better had they picked one or two plot points and stuck with them. This film was just stuffed with needless elements that seemed like they were cobbled in here from other films that weren’t being made.
Written by Gibson and directed by Adrian Grunberg, Get the Gringo is something of a disappointment. I certainly expected more out of a film written by Gibson. After all, the man did The Passion of the Christ, Apolycalypto, and Braveheart. While he didn’t write all of those, he does know how to make a great film, even if I do find Braveheart highly overrated.
The one redeeming quality of this film is Gibson himself. He seemed to be channeling a combination of Martin Riggs from the Lethal Weapon series and Max Rockatansky from the Mad Max films with a little bit of his character from Payback thrown in for good measure. In other words, he is the typical anti-hero, and that is a character type that Gibson does VERY well.
While I can’t recommend this film, I can say that it was very nice to see Mel Gibson on the screen again. Despite his personal difficulties and beliefs, the man is a good actor. What an actor does or says on their own time is their business. How they think and believe isn’t mine. What is my concern is their body of work and Gibson deserves to be in more films. This film proves that fact. While the film may not be the greatest, it is sort of worth seeing for Mel Gibson alone. Welcome back, Mel, and I hope to see more of you on screen soon!
** out of ****