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Get the Gringo

August 23, 2012

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Originally entitled How I Spent My Summer Vacation this film is welcome return to form for the embattled Mel Gibson.  Gibson has a undeniable screen presence that has been shadowed by his recent loud antics. He has mastered the sly thief, paranoid taxi driver, Scottish hero, Mad Australian stunt man and charming ladies man.  Aside from his recent troubles with racism and domestic violence he has proven that he still is a fantastic actor.  He is at his best when he plays the criminal with a wild side that can still find redemption. His comic timing is on point and when he is around anything can happen. You belive he could survive in a Mexican prison, shoot a guy in the eye while holding a gun sideways and catch a grenade mid-air and throw it back at the man who threw the grenade….then survive the explosion.

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Get the Gringo is the story of a career thief who puts his intelligence to use in a Mexican prison in order to get back the stolen money that was stolen from him. The prison becomes a character in itself. It is a slum in which prisoners can live with their families and pay money not to work. It has a life of its own and If you can figure out the system you can thrive while serving time. While in the prison he meets a precocious kid and his hardened yet still beautiful mom. He bonds with the little kid while figuring a way to get out of the prison. What follows is a rare happy ending and a whole lot of blood.

The film uses dark comedy to full effect and shows trademarks of Gibson’s flare for violence (Braveheart, Patriot, Apocolypto, Passion). However, it brings us to a world you’ve never seen and reintroduced us to a familiar Gibson that has been absent throughout his last few zany years. I can never assume what is going on through his mind but I like him not playing a parody of himself. I am worried about him being in the Machete sequel. I don’t think he needs the work so I don’t want to see him exploiting himself due to his public persona.

Get the Gringo is a film about Mel Gibson outsmarting everyone. His sly, mischievous and dangerous persona is welcome after all of his current problems. A full comeback is unlikely but this film shows he still has that Gibson charm. Hopefully, Mel stays away from Hollywood and continues to self finance his own films. This is a welcome predicament because he always produces something different that strays outside the mainstream. Get the Gringo is not for everybody but it is not a totally unpleasant way to spend 90 minutes.

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