The one thing you can’t accuse Mel Gibson of is not being persistent. Film circles pretty much acknowledged last year that it was the publics’ perception of his personal life that led to the demise of The Beaver, a film that certainly deserved to do a lot better at the cinema than it actually ended up doing.
But did Mel decide to retire and hide away from publicity? No! Instead he goes away and writes a film that he is to star in and is to be directed by friend, Adrian Grunberg, who has previously worked with Mel in the capacity of an Assistant Director on Edge Of Darkness and Apocalypto. And to his credit Mel knows his strengths, and they are playing a role were he gets to deliver some wise-cracking lines and mix it up with a little bit of action.
In Get The Gringo Mel plays a character simply referred to in the credits as Driver. Driver finds himself in Mexico’s El Pueblito prison after a car chase with American Police results with him (and his cash from a bank job) in the hands of some corrupt Mexican Police.
Driver soon learns though that El Pueblito isn’t your stock-standard prison. It is more a town with a wall around it where the criminals run the joint to the point where they are also armed to the death. Driver soon realises that he isn’t going to get by with his wits alone so he decides to befriend a young boy (Kevin Hernandez) and his mother (Dolores Heredia), but when he learns that the young boy’s life is at risk Driver finds he can’t just stand back and do nothing.
While the Gibson haters may not want to admit it Get The Gringo is actually a fairly decent film that engrosses the audience due to the fact that Gibson’s talent as a screenwriter allows Driver to be likeable despite the character’s criminal activities. Likewise, Gibson is so good in the role that you are willing to overlook his past indiscretions and hope that this talented actor doesn’t end up rotting on an acting scrapheap.
It is actually a breath of fresh-air to see a film like Get The Gringo on the big screen. So often these Mexican-westerns go straight to DVD but you feel that the infusion of crime and suspense here should make this one a success at the box office.
Grunberg certainly embraces the Western genre and while some of the characters come across as a little stereotypical that is more than forgotten by one amazing shoot-out (during which Grunberg really experiments with his shot selection) and some amazing chases through El Pueblito.
Get The Gringo has you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Grunberg creates an air of suspense throughout the film that most directors could only dream about while the Gibson of old resurfaces and shows the whole film world why this talented ‘naughty boy’ deserves to be given another chance.
If you are looking for something a little different (and are willing to put those Mel Gibson prejudices aside) then you certainly won’t be disappointed with Get The Gringo.