Written by / 1/29/2013 / 1 Comment / , , ,

MEL GIBSON IN GET THE GRINGO

year: 2012 cast: Mel Gibson, Kevin Hernandez, Bob Gunton rating: ***
Mel Gibson, remember him? That really good actor most of Hollywood despises... So without using the corny adage “He’s back!” let’s just say there’s half a great ride here for the man to shine once again.

The famous line from STAR WARS describing that seedy port harboring “scum and villainy" has got nothing on a unique Mexican prison Mel’s character, named Driver, is sent after robbing two million bucks and getting caught (after an introductory car chase) across the border: twenty some odd yards on the Mexican side. 

At first he's sent to the type of sardine can jail with men all cramped together. With an abundance of intentionally nerve wracking mariachi music, and Driver’s glib narration, there lacks any real suspense or impending threat behind those dilapidated walls. And yet this ten minute “bridge” also lets the audience know that Driver’s gonna do alright no matter what hell he’s sent to. 

From this typical jail the cons are dispersed into a prison that’s like nothing you’ve ever seen on film. More of a grungy/seedy outdoor mall, the place has just about everything: ranging from ratty taco stands to tattoo parlors to men (and women) shooting heroin in the street. Driver takes to this purgatory with several tricks up his sleeve: the best moments involve him stealing money to pay for cigarettes by any means possible.  

Then he meets a ten-year-old kid named Kid, whose mother and father were sent to the prison years before. Through this character we learn a lot of exposition that carries through the rest of the movie. Without giving too much away, Kid has a blood type and liver that fits the prison's head honcho (also an inmate), living the good life in his own plush quarters – added to that, the cash Driver stole (that he was initially arrested for) is being sought after by a bevy of mobsters on the outside. Sound confusing?

After the prison story runs out of steam, the movie gets too complicated for its own good. Especially when Driver is given limited freedom to kill a crooked mobster...

There are so many powerful people mentioned we hardly even see, the third act of the film (while providing explosive gun fights and Peckinpah inspired slow mo) lacks the claustrophobic, cunning edge of that original prison movie, exceeding the far fetched action film it unfortunately morphs into.

Yet, despite the flaws, Driver is a worthy character that could probably work again – if not on film then a graphic novel or even an R-rated video game. Just make sure it's Mel Gibson's image: Even though he’s noticeably aged and gained a few pounds, there remains a world-weary expression like he’s seen just about everything.
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1 comment:

  1. Sweet! I've been meaning to ask you if you had seen this. I saw this on Netflix. I've always been a huge Mel Gibson fan from the start (yes I was one of two people who actually saw MAD MAX in the movie theater when it was first released - still love that movie).

    Great review sir.

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