Title: Get the Gringo

MPAA Rating: R

Directed by: Adrian Grunberg

Written by: Mel Gibson, Adrian Grunberg

Starring: Mel Gibson, Kevin Hernandez, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Dolores Heredia

Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review by: Matt Peters

A fair warning to those with phobias, the opening scene of this film features clowns. It’s not just a quick look at clowns, no. This is a prolonged chase featuring Mel Gibson wearing a full on clown mask. Some may take this as a sign that he’s got a sense of humor about his recent behavior. Others may view this as a clear sign that it’s all downhill from here.

As the title and cast list would lead you to believe, the film does in fact take place in Mexico. Gibson’s character, who is never specifically named, hops the border to escape US law enforcement after stealing from a crime lord.

The majority of the dialogue is internal as Mel Gibson quips to himself. This does eventually change after Kevin Hernandez — who some may remember as Rodrigo from The Sitter — is introduced. This character continues the trend of missing names, and is only ever referred to as “kid.” From here, the film brings viewers along with Gibson as he tries to escape his current prison.

Speaking of the prison, it’s like a shanty town more than a jail. People come and go as they please between tattoo studios, heroin distributors, and food stands. To paraphrase Mel’s character, it’s like the worst mall in the world. Unfortunately, this doesn’t serve to establish the setting in a concrete way, and makes any chance of escape seem hollow.

Gringo is supposedly a caper, but doesn’t ever communicate a real sense of urgency. In many ways, it hearkens back to the Lethal Weapon series and Payback in as much that it rains bullets, but Gibson never really seems to be in any danger. In a way, it’s good to see him return to form.

There’s no argument that Get the Gringo is action-packed from beginning to end. In fact, based on the production values, it’s obvious that this film was intended for the big screen, but the decision was made to go with direct-to-DVD. A smart choice, as the film is a decent, entertaining distraction, but far from the blockbusters that Gibson was once famous for.

For more info, foxconnect.com

Pads & Panels received a press copy of the DVD courtesy of the studio for review purposes.