HTS Moderator , Reviewer
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9006[/img]Title: Get The Gringo
Starring: Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare, Dean Norris, Dolores Heredia
Directed by: Adrian Grunberg
Written by: Mel Gibson, Adrian Grunberg
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 95 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: July 17th, 2012
HTS Overall Score:80.5
The last several years have not been kind to Mel Gibson. The only time that he’s really been in the media has been for all the wrong reasons: drunken anti-Semitic ramblings, DUI’s, screaming drunken rages over a woman. Not exactly the type of things that endear one to his fans. Gone are the days of Brave Heart and Lethal Weapon, where just the name “Mel Gibson” alone was a guaranteed box office win. His last outing with Jodie Foster, “The Beaver”, while excellent, underperformed at the box office. This time, 20th Century Fox decided that they were going to release “Get the Gringo” directly to pay-per-view and a variety of cable channels, along with a limited 10 screen theatrical release for one day, to try and recoup their meager 20 million dollar budget. I went into the film expecting Mel to have completely given up hope and regress into the pattern that so many former stars fall into - barely managing to give a mechanical performance, staring stupidly at the camera just begging for the director to yell “Cut”. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Mel, for all is faults, is STILL an amazing actor.
The film starts out with a nameless Mel Gibson, credited only with the moniker of “Driver”, and a wounded partner fleeing the Police in a heated car chase near the Mexican border. In a last ditch effort to escape, Driver crashes through border fence and totals the vehicle in the process. There, two corrupt Federale officers pick him and his now dead partner up and send him to the slammer, (while keeping the 2 million dollars they found in the back seat, of course). Now, Driver is not sent to any Tijuana prison mind you; he’s sent to “El Pueblito”, a famed historical prison that is more like an imprisoned village rather than your stereotypical hell hole. We have children running through the street (apparently, if you have money you can pay to have your family come live with you), taco shops, drug dealers on the corner, the local mafia and their own housing market, so to speak.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9008[/img]Driver may be in a Mexican prison and the only white boy in sight, but he is a survivor. First thing he does is figure out a way to make some money and find a way to get in good graces with the local prison boss, Javvi (Daniel Giménez Cacho). Along the way he befriends a young kid, credited simply as “Kid” (Kevin Hernandez), who has a grudge against Javvi. Apparently Javvi is dying of kidney failure and the Kid appears to be the only prisoner with Javvi’s same rare blood type. As you can guess, the Kid doesn’t want to be a blood donor, and his mother would prefer her son’s liver stay in his body. Driver forms a rather rough fatherly bond with the young boy and promises to help him kill Javvi at the same time he plans to get out of dodge with the rest of the money that the corrupt federale’s stole off of him at the start of the film. Now, it gets hinky when we find out that the money Driver had on his possession was stolen from a crime lord in the States named Frank (Peter Stormare), and Frank wants his money back. Well, that means that Driver now has to get his money back from the cops, kill Javvi, get out of prison and get away from Frank’s men so he can hit the Mexican beaches and enjoy what’s left of his summer.
As I said earlier, whether you agree with Mel Gibson’s lifestyle choices or not, you have to admit that he is a very good actor. Had I not known that “Get the Gringo” was victim to a rather unique release, I would never have guessed it. For a measly 20 million dollar budget, Adrian Grunberg and Mel Gibson squeezed every last penny out. Acting wise, Mel still has it. Driver is a worn out, grizzled and saddle sore career man (much like Gibson himself) who’s been kicked, beaten and left for dead, yet still comes out on top. Personally, I think Mel Gibson is at a stage where he can laugh at his mistakes and keep on going, and I think that “Get the Gringo” was his stage to express that. While it’s not going to win the academy awards this year, “Get the Gringo” is an excellent throwback to gritty days of the early 90’s when Mel was doing such work as “Payback”. I think that “Gringo” is an honorary sequel to “Payback” in all reality. The same gritty character as Porter, snapping wisecracks left and right, shooting anyone that gets in his way, all the while hiding that soft spot in his heart from just about everyone. Overall, I enjoyed “Get the Gringo” and have to give Mel Gibson a big thumbs up for not just giving up and drifting off into the same stupor that other stars such as Cuba Gooding Jr. and Val Kilmer have done.
Rated R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some drug use and sexual material
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9010[/img]Being that "Get the Gringo" is shot with the famous digital RED cameras, 20th Century Fox provides us with an exceptional picture with a near flawless encode. Colors are bright and detail is excellent. We can see every line and wrinkle on Mel Gibson's weathered face along with every razor burn from that morning's shaving mistakes. Clarity is bright and not marred by any encoding flaws that I could see, and being that it's a digital image, there is a distinct lack of film grain and the picture is so razor sharp you almost can feel the grime and sweat clinging to your skin. I kept a careful eye on the dark scenes, being that digital cameras tend to introduce digital noise into the picture when shooting in the dark. Surprisingly enough, there is also a distinct lack of digital noise in those scenes, as well. I have to give kudos to Fox for not adding any unnecessary tinkering to the film either. Happily for us, the encoding team decided to keep their hands off the DNR knob and the picture is devoid of any nasties like DNR, Haloing, or Edge Enhancement. Blacks are deep and inky for the most part, but do tend to push a tad towards grey in deep shadow scenes (limitations of digital cameras). For a $20 million budget, I was expecting to see some corners cut with the cameras, but it looks like Adrian Grunberg did a good job at getting the best equipment he could for his limited budget.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9007[/img]As with the picture, the audio in "Get the Gringo" is sure to please us aq/pq enthusiasts. The track starts aggressive right off the bat with a border car chase and doesn't let up until the very end. Gunshots whiz by the ear making great use of the surrounds, grenades explode and wake your subwoofer from its slumber to deliver the goods. Even simple things like the whipping sound a post makes as a car whizzes by at high speed are replicated with spot on accuracy and full use of our speakers. Dynamic range is spot on, when a gunshot goes off you feel it in your gut, but when Driver is talking in a whisper to the Kid, the track subdues itself to accommodate the the change in mood. All of this is matched with a Hispanic score that keeps audience feeling like this is a down and dirty Mexican slum prison. While the low end is handled very well, we're not going to be witness to any LFE usage as in Transformers 3 or Underworld 4, but rather an aggressive track that nicely balances the feel of a wild gunfight with the more subdued feel of a prison drama. Overall, its an excellent track that has no major flaws to bring the score down.
• Get the Gringo - A Look Inside
• On Set - The Car Chase
• On Set - The Showdown
• On Set - The Raid
• "El Corrido del Gringo" Music Video
• Cry, Scream, Breathe (best buy exclusive version)
• Story & Design (best buy exclusive version)
• El Pueblito (best buy exclusive version)
“Get the Gringo” answers one question. Is Mel Gibson a has been? The answer is definitely NO. While he may never rise to the same status as he once held in Hollywood, Mel still has his fans and still has the drive to succeed. With great audio and even better video scores along with that same 90’s popcorn movie feel, “Get the Gringo” is absolutely fantastic for a night of entertainment where we get to see one of Hollywood’s fallen icons do what he does best. Entertain.
Recommendation: Watch It