‘Get the Gringo’ Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated November 26th, 2014 at 7:35 pm,

Get the Gringo Reveiw Starring Mel Gibson and Kevin Hernandez Get the Gringo Review

Gibson – for all his offscreen controversy – still has his star-quality charisma, and Grunberg is a worth protege for the Oscar-winning writer/actor/director.

In Get the Gringo Mel Gibson plays a no-good veteran crook (credited as “Driver”), who winds up in a Mexican prison after literally crashing the border while making his escape from the cops. That unhappy arrival is compounded by the fact that the millions in cash that Driver stole from a notorious crime boss is immediately lifted off him by some corrupt Federales.

Driver finds himself as the only ‘gringo’ (white man) in the Mexican prison town known as “El Pueblito,” where anything goes (except for escape) and crooks like Javi (Daniel Giménez Cacho) and his enforcer brother Caracas (Jesús Ochoa) run the show. Driver quickly acclimates himself to his new surroundings – pulling of assaults, arson, and much petty theft – until things get complicated when runs across a small boy (Kevin Hernandez) who is keeping a vengeful eye on Javi.

Driver and the boy recognize each other as kindred spirits and strike a bond. That alliance comes with consequences, as Driver soon finds himself sucked into a situation with cops and crooks from both sides of the border all looking to put the hurt on him – and his young friend. Backed against the wall, Driver has to use a lot of smarts and little bit of good ol’ fashioned gunplay to get himself out of prison alive, save the boy – and of course, recover his lost cash.

Daniel Gimenez Cacho and Jesus Ochoa in Get the Gringo  Get the Gringo Review

Daniel Gimenez Cacho and Jesus Ochoa are the bad guys in ‘Get the Gringo’

If Get the Gringo sounds a lot like the 1999 Gibson-starring crime drama Payback, it’s because it is a lot like that film… only set in Mexico. From the narrative approach (dry, sarcastic, voice-over narration) to the character composition (brutal but likable career crook), to the general path of the plot… let’s just say that if you were a fan of Payback, you’ll be a fan of Get the Gringo as well. That is, if you don’t mind an abundance of Spanish-language dialogue and English subtitles.

The film was co-written by Gibson (probably accounts for the character similarities), first-time screenwriter Stacy Perskie and director/co-writer Adrian Grunberg, who has collaborated with Gibson on both Apocalypto and Edge of Darkness. The story is a pretty straightforward revenge tale, but is elevated due to the uniqueness and vividness of the world that Grunberg captures in the film. Penal colonies aren’t a new concept in movies (though you usually find them in the sci-fi genre), but “El Pueblito” becomes a somewhat fascinating place once you warm to it, and there is plenty of tension, black humor, and action to keep things engaging. While Grunberg admittedly is still coming into his own in terms of cinematic construction, this is a solid first effort on a feature film.

Big Shootout in Get the Gringo Get the Gringo Review

Gibson is a pro at playing the slightly-unhinged tough guy (see: Lethal WeaponEdge of DarknessPayback) and his man-with-no-name manages to be pretty charismatic while being totally morally bankrupt. Not an easy trick to pull off. Veteran actors Daniel Giménez Cacho and Jesús Ochoa make for great villains – Cacho playing the stylish-but-monstrous boss man, and Ochoa playing a ruthless but soft-spoken thug. Character actors like Bob Gunton (24) Peter Gerety (The Wire), Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), Scott Cohen (Pan Am) and Peter Stormare (Fargo) all play the slimy types from both sides of the border that Driver must battle, con, and kill. Adding to the impressive lineup is young actor Kevin Hernandez, who has managed to be a standout in both this film and last year’s comedy The Sitter. The characters in the film are all lively and entertaining, but are admittedly familiar (but still enjoyable) crime movie archetypes.

There is a fair amount of action in Get the Gringo (several old west-style shootouts), but most of the film consists of Gibson’s character conning and manipulating his way through the Mexican underworld, often in amusing and clever ways. The finale of the film is especially satisfying (and a bit thrilling) in this regard, as Driver handles his mounting problems in pretty much the most direct and destructive way one can. Lovers of hard-boiled crime-capers are going to be suitably satisfied.

Mel Gibson as Driver in Get the Gringo Get the Gringo Review

Mel Gibson as Driver in ‘Get the Gringo’

In an interesting twist, Gibson is foregoing the theater system and releasing Get the Gringo on Video On Demand services in the U.S. Taking that into account, the movie is certainly worth a rental as it will provide a suitable good time for fans of Gibson, and/or fans of tales from the underworld. (NOTE: I would probably shave a half-star if we were talking about a theatrical release.) Gibson – for all his offscreen controversy – still has his star-quality charisma, and Grunberg is a worth protege for the Oscar-winning writer/actor/director.

Get the Gringo is now available on Video On Demand services (in the U.S.). Check with your cable provider. The film is Rated R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some drug use and sexual material.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

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  1. Good looking out Kofi, I didn’t know this was available. I’ll order it since I like Mel….

  2. Looking forward to seeing it. Waiting for his planned viking epic, too…

  3. I love anything with Mel Gibson. Most of my favorite movies either have him in it or he made like Braveheart and Passion of the Christ

  4. I want to see this n

  5. Me too

  6. This is getting a theatrical release over here in the UK (where it still goes by ‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’)next week. Guess where I’ll be?


  7. Stop hating on Mel Gibson. This movie was amazing on many different levels. You don’t have to feel like you’re supporting Mel by seeing this movie. This is just a great movie and more worthy of your 2 hours of time than every movie out in the theaters, including The Avengers.

    • Thanks Mel!

  8. If you get the chance to see this its much recommended. Its like his film Randsom in mexico full of action and well worth seeing.
    Mel is back to his best

    • +1

  9. Hubby & I watched this last night. Both really enjoyed it. It’s like Payback (one of my favorites of Mel’s) set in Mexico. I don’t care what he’s allegedly done or said off camera, he’s still a really good filmmaker and actor. Definitely worth a look.

  10. its on in Savoy in Dublin..Mel on acinema screen is Always value..going to check it out tmrw!

  11. This movie was so much fun to watch, I was thoroughly entertained. Good to see all his personal crap isn’t slowing down Mel Gibson, the man’s an artist. Since when are artists obligated to be politically correct?

    -Oh yeah, when this country became overly sensitive and feminized! -Good ‘ol USofA.

  12. Glad Mel is back !
    Movie was really good,just wish all people could stop hating him,and he could make more movies again !

    Recommended !

  13. Looks like a great movie.

  14. Mel Gibson should’ve retired years ago…

  15. We just saw this movie on the big screen in Bosnia (with Croatian subtitles — to add to the language challenge). Mel does well but — definitely a dark movie, very violent. Not for the faint of heart.

  16. WTG Mel – Straight to DVD – thanks for not making us wait the two weeks for DVD after it would have gone to theaters!

  17. “gringo” actually refers to a person of us citizenship of the white race. If the person is white but not a US citizen then he is not a gringo.

  18. it was a great film sidequel to payback. i loved everything about it. the plot, the characters, the ending. better than edge of darkness. they should make a sequel to this and to payback. bring mel gibson for the expendables 3.

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