Monday, 15 April 2013


“In a state where corruption abounds, laws must be very numerous.” - Tacitus

We watched another of the mindless, pure entertainment, action movie genre last weekend. This was in reaction to a movie we had watched the previous day, which was rather tough going and which did not do much to put us in a joyful state of mind. This latter film was “Into the Wild”, all the more sad as it was a true story. It was of a similar type of survival tale as “The Grey”, which I reviewed last week. It was a dire and melancholy story of the rigours of trying to survive in an inhospitable wilderness. Unlike “The Grey” where the wannabe survivors are victims of an airplane accident, “Into the Wild” was the story of a young man who in his rebellious, antiestablishment frame of mind takes a road trip, ending up in the uninhabited wilds of Alaska near Fairbanks to find himself and liberate his soul from the consumer society that has nurtured him. A depressing movie overall, although well-acted, well-produced and well-scripted. It obviously struck a chord with the viewing public as it has been rated 8.2/10 on the popularity meter.

Now for the main topic of this review, another typical Hollywood dick flick showcasing the macho man talents of the leading man who takes on both Mexican and US crooks. It was the 2012 Adrian Grunberg movie “Get the Gringo” starring Mel Gibson, Kevin Hernandez and Daniel Giménez Cacho. The plot is simple and depends mainly on action to carry it forward, and the characterisation is sparse, while the moral of the story is rather ambiguous – there is no bad without a touch of good and vice versa. The script is the brainchild of the main lead, the director and one more ring-in: Mel Gibson, Adrian Grunberg and Stacy Perskie.

The movie opens with Driver (Mel Gibson) and his mortally wounded partner in clown costumes speeding down a US highway close to the Mexican border with the police hot on their heels. Having no other option as the cops close in on him, Driver ploughs his car through the border fence, and Mexican police arrest him. The Texas police try to negotiate with the Mexicans to hand over Driver, but the corrupt Mexican police eyeing the bags full of cash in the car do not hand over Driver. The Mexican police keep the cash and put Driver in gaol, which is more like a little village, complete with hangers-on, women, kids, shops, drugs and corruption, all overseen by the criminal kingpin Javi (Daniel Gimenez Cacho). Driver becomes friends with a tough 10-year-old kid (Kevin Hernandez) who is plotting to take revenge on Javi, who killed his father.

Driver soon has to deal with Frank (Peter Stormare) from whom he robbed $4 million, and who despatches professional killers to take back the cash that Driver stole and which is now in the hands of the two corrupt Mexican cops. As Driver gains the confidence of the kid and his mother (Dolores Heredia), he learns why the prison kingpin gives the kid and his mum preferential treatment. The kid has a liver compatible with Javi’s rare blood type, and Javi needs a new liver. Driver strikes a deal with Javi to exit the prison and kill Frank (who is now after Javi) but he also has to go back to the prison in time to save the child, before Javi takes his liver.

Mel Gibson had a dry period in the movies for about 8 years before this film, contributed to no doubt by all the negative media attention given to his rants, which did not win him any friends. Nevertheless, this movie is the type that Gibson fans associate with the actor and as an action/thriller type of heist and payback movie, this ticks all the right boxes. Now that I have mentioned payback, this film resembles the earlier 1999 Gibson film “Payback”.

This is not a great film, but then again it doesn’t pretend to be anything else except that which it is. As an action film needs to it depends a lot on the lead actor, and Gibson handles the role well. The story is simple, and depends on the action to carry it forward. It is violent and has several sequences that show the corrupt, crime-filled underbelly of both US and Mexico. Driver is redeemed by his interest in the kid and his determination to save him from Javi. The kid’s mother is the romantic interest. It was pure mindless entertainment and as such it does its job well.

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