“Get the Gringo,” which is ingloriously debuting on pay satellite channels instead of actual, you know, theaters, opens in a fury of action – Gibson (wearing a rubbery clown mask; like Ryan Gosling his character is credited simply as “Driver”) is making a high-speed getaway towards the Mexican border. His partner (also wearing a clown mask) is shot, a bag full of money open in the backseat, blowing hundred dollar bills into the arid Texas heat, state troopers hot on his trail. He finally crashes through the border, and when the Mexican authorities show up, they say that the Americans can have him. “You can deal with the paperwork,” one of the Mexican patrolman says, ready to toss him back over the border. Then the Mexicans look in the backseat, see the money, and decide they’d rather have Mel for themselves (his partner is dead and, as we all know, there’s nothing funny about a dead clown).
You see, the kid has a rare and specific blood type and the aging kingpin of the prison, Javi (Daniel Gimenez Cacho) needs a liver transplant, so he keeps the kid alive and protected until he can harvest his vital organs. Because, really, what’s a prison crime movie without a little organ harvesting? Gibson is also under the gun from his former boss, Frank (Peter Stormare, who looks almost exactly like the European version of Daniel Gimenez Cacho, or maybe it's the other way around - confusing!), who is wondering where, exactly, the money went, and corruption on the other side of the fence via disreputable lawyers and cops.
There’s certainly the question of whether or not anyone will see “Get the Gringo.” Not only is its satellite exclusivity limiting, but people seem to be generally turned off by Gibson, at least since his personal life started overriding his cinematic endeavors. In a way, though, “Get the Gringo” is an admission of sorts – like his masterpiece “Apocalypto” – it’s a star who is saying, “Listen, this is who I am – it’s ugly and violent and hateful and homophobic and misogynistic, but it’s me and you’re going to have to deal with that.” And while it’s hard to forgive or excuse Gibson and his actions over the past few years, it is refreshing when an artist speaks through his craft like this. Maybe being a borderline psychotic wasn’t something that held him back but made him produce things like the gloriously hallucinogenic “Apocalypto” (and, to a lesser degree, the filthy “Get the Gringo”). It’s an interesting and problematic idea, but one that holds a certain amount of water. People might not find it all that pleasurable, but “Get the Gringo” is, refreshingly, 100% Mel. [B+]
"Get The Gringo" will be available on DirectTV starting May 1st.