Mel Gibson has had some trouble in Hollywood as of late, with his public outrages and personal beliefs getting in the way of allowing him to do what he does best, which is to act. Edge of Darkness was his attempt at recapturing that star fame, but audiences just didn’t turn up for the film, which resulted in Gibson going back into his dark corner until starring in the dramatic failure The Beaver. Get the Gringo is Gibson’s response to two failed films and it actually provides for a brisk hour and a half of mindless entertainment. Some of its straight-to-DVD qualities are present, but most of the film is fun and most importantly, Gibson fits right in.
Driver (Mel Gibson) is stealing money from someone important. He attempts to make it over the border into Mexico, but his car gets shot up and he ends up in a hellhole on Earth. The prisons in Mexico are much different than the ones in the US, acting more like their own cities than an actual corrections facility. Driver quickly becomes the residential gringo, sticking to the shadows as he watches the prison work from inside out. He maps out every key players move, which will hopefully allow him to gain some sort of advantage when the time comes to get out.
He runs into a boy that is tied together with the powerful prisoner/boss and on top of that the cops that brought him in show up demanding that he tell them who he stole the money from. Get the Gringo plays all of its cards out in the open, allowing for you to catch almost every twist from a mile away, but in doing so never builds up your hopes. You know exactly what to expect out of this type of bloody crime comedy, but sometimes knowing what’s going to happen works in your benefit.
Gibson’s role is so over-the-top and out of nowhere that you might have a hard time establishing just how far he’s willing to go with his character, but it works. He’s not serious or dramatic, instead wise-cracking and easy going, which is a proper reaction to his most recent two failures, which ended up being a little too dramatic. His character is a reminder that Gibson still knows how to have fun in front of the camera and that, plus the bloody fun shootouts makes Get the Gringo something worth watching eventually.
The hot and sizzling 1080p transfer comes courtesy of Fox and looks pretty strong. The film was shot digitally on Red One cameras, which allows for cheaper budgetary costs and easier filming and not once does that cripple the presentation. The Mexican prison looks dirty and undesirable with filth, sweat and blood filling up the image as Gibson slaughters his way through various locations. The early setting is nice contrast to when Gibson spends a majority of the film in America, in which the colors become a lot more pleasant and cool.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track rips and roars during prison shootouts and tests the base when an explosion takes over. This is another active track from Fox that takes pride in its ability to maintain a strong level of surround effects in the busy and always moving environment of such a populated prison. Dialogue is never a problem and the film contains an equal split of Spanish and English, so subtitles will naturally appear on the bottom of the screen.
Here’s a detailed list of bonus material included on the disc:
- Get the Gringo – A Look Inside (HD): A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, including the location of shooting at an actual prison.
- On Set – The Car Chase (HD): A look at how they filmed the car chase sequence.
- On Set – The Showdown (HD): An interesting look at the shooting sequences and how they choreographed them.
- On Set – The Raid (HD): Probably the best “on set” feature, because it gives us a breakdown of how they achieved the blood-soaked raid sequence.
- El Corrido del Gringo Music Video (HD)
- DVD Copy
- Digital Copy
Get the Gringo might have been a better film if it would have been given a bigger budget and possibly more exposure, but knowing the film’s small roots also helps make it a different experience that isn’t afraid to take the comedy to the next step. Some of the jokes and general story points probably wouldn’t have been able to make it to a theatrical viewing, mostly because people can be so uptight when watching action films like this. Get the Gringo is somehow offensive to some people and those are exactly the kind of people that get all stirred up over a film like Kick-Ass, which has a 13 year-old lead murdering thugs with a knife.
If you’re easily offended than Get the Gringo is something you shouldn’t watch, because Gibson and the rest of the cast do their best to fit the stereotypes, but that’s what makes it worth the viewing. There’s just something fun about watching Gibson return to these roots and become an action star that doesn’t need complicated motives or a deep story to make the character worth watching. Get the Gringo is a simple film, but one that works within its budget and one that does more good than bad.
This review is based on a copy of the Blu-Ray that we received for reviewing purposes.