Starring: Mel Gibson
Director: Adrian Grunberg
Runtime: 96 minutes
Mel Gibson is back. For once, he isn’t talking to beavers, making antisemitic movies, or driving drunk on the highway proclaiming the world is ruled by a jewish conspiracy. No. He’s back. In a good way. ‘Get The Gringo’, a new action movie starring the 80’s movie hero, is a ‘back-to-basics’ for Gibson. No ulterior motives, no hidden messages. Just an action movie, with a good ‘Ocean’s Eleven’-like plot set in Mexico.
The movie starts out with Gibson (whose real name you never learn. The credits call him ‘driver’) running from the cops with a lot of bags and a dying clown in the backseat of his car. You soon learn the bags contain a reasonable amount of money, and thus you have all the traces of a heist gone wrong. In a desperate attempt to evade the police, Gibson jumps his car over the fence, crossing the border into Mexico.
Not only does his car crash, but the Mexican ‘federales’ are already waiting for him on the other side of the fence. Seeing the amount of money in the car, they decide not to deport the driver back to the USA, but to keep him and take the money themselves. Not a smart move, if I might say so. Where there’s a large amount of money involved, a large quantity of people are attracted to it. Especially if it’s drugs money.
What ensues is a cat-and-mouse game between the Mexican police, the US government, the drugsdealer who had his money stolen in the first place, and the fellow inmates in driver’s prison. Everybody wants the money, and Gibson is smart enough to play them out against each other.
Enough about the story, it’s a good story, somewhat predictable, but there are still some surprises left. You know in advance it’s going to happen, you just don’t know how it’s going to happen. Which is a good thing. In this case, a very good thing, as the writers have almost turned this action-movie into a comedy, a la Ocean’s Eleven. It’s not as good as that film though, although it can run circles around the sequels of said film in terms of quality.
This is Grunberg’s first gig as a director, having made numerous credit-appearances as first-assistent director on movies like ‘Man on Fire’, ‘Collateral’ and more recently, ‘Wall Street 2 (Money Never Sleeps)’. He’s got a lot of experience under his belt, so it is no surprise this first job is a good, refreshing entry in the ‘bait-and-switch’ type of action movies.
My only advice is, go see this film. Though it might not be the best, it is good to see Mel Gibson finally back on the right track. Like most of you, I grew up watching films like Mad Max and Lethal Weapon, and seeing Mel back in action is a satisfying thing indeed.