Director: Adrian Grunberg,
Writers: Adrian Grunberg, Mel Gibson, and Stacy Perskie
Cast: Mel Gibson, Peter Stomare, Dean Norris, Kevin Hernandez, Dolores Heredia, Daniel Giménez Cacho, and Gerardo Taracena
Rated: R (violence, language)
Film is distributed by 20th Century Fox | IMDb/trailer
First-time director Adrian Grunberg partners with action veteran Mel Gibson on this Mexico-set crime thriller which stars Gibson as an American career criminal who finds himself doing hard time in an outrageously-corrupt Mexican prison. Once I saw the first trailer for this film, I knew it was going to be an interesting, albeit fun, and wild ride.
Ok, I have to start by admitting I needed to look up the word Gringo prior to writing this review. I’ve heard the term before, and in the context I’ve heard it in it has always seemed derogatory. Gibson’s character is the Gringo, or white foreigner in a Spanish-speaking place. From his arrival into the shady prison, it’s clear he’s unwelcome. Looks can be deceiving though, as we soon learn that the gringo wields certain skills that improve his chances of survival in the pen.
Driver, as Gibson’s character is credited (he goes by a few names in the film), lands in jail after driving off with what we are led to believe is at least two million dollars. The corrupt Mexican officials take advantage of their find and leave Driver to the sharks in jail. As it turns out however, the stolen money belonged to some very high-powered individuals who want it back. To top things off, the jail houses one particular inmate who runs the show behind the scenes who may cause trouble for Driver.
While in prison, Driver befriends a young boy living with his jailed mother (entire families can live in this jail…I was as shocked as you are). The kid (Kevin Hernandez) reminds Driver of himself a bit, and the two help each other out. The boy and his mother (Dolores Heredia) also have a few secrets that tie them to the prison’s kingpin Javi (Daniel Giménez Cacho). While the Driver is a loner who from the get-go just wants to leave with his money, he is drawn to the mother and son and finds himself getting stuck into a much stickier situation.
Get the Gringo met my expectations and more. I knew that it would contain over-the-top scenarios, wild action and good amounts of humor. It delivered those things, and even exceeded my expectations in some respects. Say what you will about the man’s personal affairs, but Mel Gibson woos and entertains, especially in these types of action roles. His character is a badass with an ironic sense of humor. The action scenes are exciting, often shocking, and definitely prevalent. I was in disbelief about the whole prison situation, but that only added to the quirkiness of the picture.
I knew this would be a fun flick and it certainly was. The story was surprisingly clever and had a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. Grunberg impresses with his first feature, adding a gritty and energetic style. Combined with Gibson’s charisma, adrenaline-filled action, and enough sub-plots to keep you from pulling your hair out in boredom, Get the Gringo is sure to be the sleeper action flick of the year.