Mel Gibson's American career that his latest film, GET THE GRINGO (formerly carrying the cheekier title, How I Spent My Summer Vacation) was released theatrically all around the world -- in nearly 40 countries, Argentina to the Ukraine. Here in the USA, however, it went straight to video: first to VOD, then to DVD/Blu-ray, and now you can stream, as I did, it via Netflix. You should -- if, that is, you enjoy smart, fast-moving action with a with violent, occasionally gory, black-comedy bent.
Adrian Grünberg, shown at left (Mr. Gibson also had a hand in the screenplay and as a producer), the film starts with a bang and seldom lets up until its 90 minutes have come to an end. (Yes, there are six more minutes of credits, but with no outtakes nor surprises therein, you can rise from the couch, once that screen goes black and the names start rolling....) Mr. Grünberg's career includes assistant directing or acting as second unit director on films from Amores Perros and Perdita Durango (in his native Mexico) to the much-better-than-expected Collateral Damage, Master and Commander and The Limits of Control, not to mention several Gibson-directed movies. He's clearly learned a lot on the job, and it all shows up in this, his first solo directing job.
Carandiru, anyone?) look at least a little more enticing.
Bond movies, and Grünberg's visuals are often smart and detailed in small ways that keep us ever alert and watchful, in exactly the manner one needs to be while in prison. Gibson himself, below, is as good here as he has been since Conspiracy Theory, in which the actor was wound tight to just about perfection. Here, he's loose, relaxed, and about as far from the pomposity of garbage like The Patriot or Signs as would seem possible.
Clint Eastwood (well, his monker and a nice impersonation of his voice), resulting in an enjoyable bit of violent, explosive action.
Peter Gerety (below) and Patrick Bauchau (shown at bottom). The film's finale is one of those everything-at-once barrages of shoot-out and coincidence that the director manages fast enough for us to forgive our quibbles. And if there is one single line that might outlast this movie's own life span, I vote for "Put it back," which resonates here as never before. The film's final, violent joke, having to do with a particular name, is the best of them all.
Icon Production, is available now on DVD, Blu-ray and streaming.