GET THE GRINGO
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Mel Gibson has had a rough time these past few years. Much of these pains are self-inflicted, of course, but unlike Alec Baldwin, Mel hasn’t weathered the storm so well. And I find that unfair, in an industry where we give child molesters Academy Awards and chronic alcoholic brawlers reality television shows.
I’ll happily admit that I’m a fan of Gibson’s work, going back to his “Mad Max” and “Lethal Weapon” days. But I haven’t been a huge fan of his recent films. “Edge of Darkness” was decent enough, though it lacked any real punch. “The Beaver” was downright awful.
In this respect, “Get the Gringo” was a pleasant surprise. It’s not perfect by any estimation, but it is a hell of a lot of fun to watch, and it shows an aging but still potent Gibson in a gritty action film role.
The movie follows a nameless American criminal who is thrown in a Mexican jail after busting over the border with several duffel bags filled with cash. While he tries to navigate his way through the prison grounds, which has been opened to the families of the criminals and exists more as a miniature city, he tries to also track down his money. During his stay, he meets a young boy who is being kept alive for an organ transplant for the king criminal in the prison.
Over the years, I’ve seen quite a few direct-to-video films, and I often treat them with a kinder approach than I do theatrical features. They’re often working under a constrained budget and schedule, and they are far more disposable as films. While “Get the Gringo” has these elements to it, its star brings a level of quality you don’t expect from this sort of movie. Not only does Gibson lend his A-lister street cred to the cast, his production company also helps deliver a movie that far exceeds your standard direct-to-video quality.
“Get the Gringo” is a gritty film with some grizzled punch. The action sequences are solid, and the cinematography works to add character to the movie. Gibson himself gives a strong performance as a hardened criminal that still has some heart. We haven’t seen this good of a bad guy meant to be good since “Paycheck.” If this is the new Mel Gibson, I’m totally on board.
The Blu-ray comes with a DVD and Digital Copy disc for portable viewing. It also has a music video and the featurette “Get the Gringo: A Look Inside.” Additional features are short “On Set” videos showing the behind-the-scenes of “The Car Chase,” “The Showdown” and “The Raid.”