Last Tuesday Ain’t It Cool News held an advance screener of Get the Gringo, Mel Gibson’s latest movie (sic) in 10 cities across the United States. Self-financed and released by Mel’s Icon Productions, Gringo is bucking all traditional routes of launch and will be released on Direct TV Video On Demand on May 1st. My colleague Thoughtblocking and I had the privilege (sic) of attending the screener for FOH and bring to you this report.
The theater was filled with 25 people (as a generous guess) including an elderly couple who I am sure don’t even know what Ain’t It Cool News is, a die hard Gibson fan (who probably has an Air America poster above his bunk bed) sitting directly in front of us, and a smattering of others who I would imagine just walked into the wrong theater. While waiting for the film to start,poorly edited “live feed” clips played on the screen of the Austin, TX theater where people were eagerly awaiting the arrival of Mel for the screening. Between live feed clips of the rather tame crowd, we had the honor of watching the Get the Gringo trailer (yes, the trailer of the film we were there to watch) at least a half dozen times.
To the best of my understanding, Get the Gringo involves an unnamed protagonist (played by Mel Gibson), a kind of con-man/criminal/charmer way past his prime, who gets arrested on the wrong side of the US/Mexican border while trying to transport some large sum of questionably obtained money. He finds himself stuck in what apparently passes as “prison” in Mexico: a kind of shantytown, run by various unsavory types who underestimate the incredible cunning, skill, and blind luck of Every Character Ever Played by Mel Gibson. Eventually, the prison setting – the movie’s only remotely effective storytelling device – changes and the loosely-held together bits and scraps of the film fall completely apart.
Get the Gringo has no internal logic. Motivations of characters waiver shot by shot, and it’s pretty clear early on that whoever was responsible for this film had no idea where to take it. Unnecessary and excessive narration keep us at arm’s length from any isolation or suspense that being in such a setting could provide. A scrappy 9 year old boy follows Gibson’s character around throughout the film, showing up as a convenient plot device whenever one is needed (and yet, he still doesn’t come close to knocking out every plot hole). We’re told that he learned English from Sesame Street; particularly interesting, since his profanity, slang, and witticisms are top-notch (maybe they play a different version of Sesame Street in Mexico?).
The beginning of the end involves Mel Gibson in some kind of shoot-out in the prison, where he catches a flying grenade midair and tosses it back to the disposable goon who threw it at him. You can guess what’s next: exploding Mexican bits. In a way, it’s symbolic, as whatever shaky foundation the film held on to essentially explodes at that precise moment, and Gringo reveals itself unabashedly as the B film that it is.
40 minutes in, it’s pretty obvious why Mel Gibson has not been able to obtain any sort of box office relevancy as an actor in the last 10 years. The premise here was shockingly serviceable, but the execution was predictably lackluster. Maybe next time, Mel.
Score – 3.0/10
Post by: Cal & Thoughtblocking