Saturday, August 18, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Get the Gringo (2012) **½

R, 96 min.
Director: Adrian Grünberg
Writers: Mel Gibson, Adrian Grünberg, Stacy Perskie
Starring: Mel Gibson, Kevin Hernandez, Dolores Heredia, Peter Gerety, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Peter Stromare, Bob Gunton, Scott Cohen, Patrick Bauchau, Dean Norris

Mel Gibson’s “Get the Gringo” is a strange action movie. It appears to be shot on digital video. Most of the cast is Hispanic, and there may be enough Spanish spoken to qualify it as a foreign language film. Gibson plays an unusual antihero. And, most of the action takes place in a Mexican prison. It’s no surprise that the gringo of the title that must be got is Gibson.

The plot is interesting enough. It takes turns that are unexpected, but the overall atmosphere of the film seems a little off. Some of its delivery is a little awkward. Gibson, however, is in typically charming action hero form.

Gibson plays a criminal on the run from the law and other criminals. He crosses the boarder to Mexico only to be nabbed by two dirty cops who steal his loot and have him thrown into a prison that is run by the prisoners and is a good place for someone to disappear. Gibson is too savvy for the criminal infrastructure of the prison, however. He befriends a boy who helps him to understand and manipulate the system.

This whole movie has the feel of desperation about it. That really doesn’t hurt it so much, but is an observation I feel I must make considering Gibson’s recent personal troubles. The production seems to be designed to keep him employed by avoiding the Hollywood system that probably has little interest in employing the embroiled actor at this point. It was not released theatrically, but debuted exclusively on pay per view outlets this past spring. It was a fairly big hit as a PPV and paid streamer, and is now available on physical home video formats. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s unusual enough that it won’t appeal to Gibson’s entire wide base of fans.

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