Get the Gringo should be subtitled ‘Porter heads South’, as there is no way known that this isn’t a quasi-sequel to Payback, a little known Mel Gibson film from the 90s that is nonetheless his best effort since Braveheart.
Get the Gringo shares the nasty edge and grim tone, and is all the better for it. It’s a pity for Mr Gibson that he has had a couple of ‘colourful moments’ over the past decade which have left audiences cold on all things Mel.
Get the Gringo opens with a clown car chase… and by that I mean a car full of clowns – unfortunately not one of those adorable little cars chock full of 37 clowns. This one holds but 2 clowns, in full makeup, and one of them is bleeding. A lot.
When the chase comes to its conclusion the clown car practically straddles the US/Mexican border, only with more on the Mexican side – and the discovery of a huge bag of money – the Mexican police decides it’s their collar. The Mexican police seem very efficient in their handling of the case, there are fewer forms, no trials, and as it turns out, no evidence remains…
Gibson plays the driver of the clown car and he is never named in the film – so I will call him Porter.
Porter ends up in a facility that is more a reasonably secure community than a prison. Non-prisoners wander in and out of the gates daily, bringing alcohol and supplies for those that can afford it or their incarcerated family members, and hookers, drugs and practically anything you can name are freely available.
Porter befriends a young boy in the facility who is constantly trying to cadge his cigarettes (it says a lot about the film’s tone that he occasionally gets his wish and lights up with no judgment), eventually learning that the kid is a protected species, as an especially well connected inmate needs his liver. He is a walking, talking, smoking five foot tall unwilling organ donor, constantly waiting for a call he hopes to never receive.
Porter comes to realise that this kid may be his key out of the facility, that or he decides he might want to bang the kid’s single Mum.
Meanwhile Porter’s illicit cash is being spent and handed out on the outside like condoms on an NBA roadtrip, with the corrupt cops even dropping in to gloat and see if they might have some more, and another equally crooked American trying to uncover info as to where the money might be so that he can get it for himself.
Apparently Mexico isn’t as *cough* ethical and *sputter* law abiding as the good old *choke* United States of America.
So Porter puts into motion a plan to essentially fuck the lot of ‘em, regain his cash and find his freedom, a far more elaborate plan than you would think necessary but an entertaining one nonetheless.
The film is gritty and grimy, no-one learns any lessons – least of all the kid – and the cast sure haven’t been selected for their fresh faced looks. There are no TV stars or starlets spreading their wings here.
Mel Gibson might be the wrong guy to share a couple of bottles of vodka with. He is definitely not the guy you want dating your sister. But for an hour and a half every few years he can provide an amusing and entertaining distraction as the baddest good guy in cinema.
Final Rating – 7 / 10. A nice companion piece to Payback (which was a slightly better film). Get the Gringo might not be memorable or have staying power, but it is a welcome alternative to all those ‘happy’ films with all those ‘lessons’ and ‘morals’.