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Get The Gringo Movie Review: Mel Gibson's Bad Boy Gets Bilingual

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A sort of shoot 'em up Tarantino style satire by way of Machete, Mel Gibson's homegrown Get The Gringo finds the co-writer, producer and voiceover narrator casting himself as a combo action anti-hero and conman thief. And seemingly at odds with everyone around him, with the strange exceptions of an incarcerated Mexican widow and chain smoking young boy.

Gibson is simply Driver in Get The Gringo, though numerous other handy aliases are spouted long before the credits roll. Driver is first seen eluding the police in a heated car chase along the Mexican border. And decked out in clown attire, following the staging of a multi-million dollar heist against a San Diego mobster.

After crashing the border gate where Driver's loot is commandeered by the Mexican authorities, he's sent to a south of the border penitentiary known as El Pueblito. And a kind of correctional theme park and overcrowded den of multiple vices, boasting everything from guns and drugs to outdoor sex tents and piped in 'torture by mariachi.' And where punishment is primarily doled out via jailbird on jailbird violence.

While scheming to con his way out of the dangerously goofy hellhole when not warding off throngs of anti-gringo incarcerated locals with gleefully sadistic menace on their minds, Driver befriends a nameless ten year old hustler (Kevin Hernandez). Who has been eluding a reigning bad guy on the premises, bent on stealing the kid's liver to replace his own diseased organ.

And in short order, Driver mulls escaping, retrieving the stolen loot re-stolen from him, saving the boy from organ transplant theft, and romancing his kickbutt widowed mom (Dolores Heredia). And not necessarily in that frantic order. While along the way nutty stuff ensues related to co-conspiracy by Skype; bilingual brawling; a metaphorical marshmallow export business; underage organ snatching in reverse; something to do with a Pancho Villa vintage pistol and a shortage of revolutionary bullets; and Mel's really bad imitation of Clint Eastwood from a pay phone.

Helmed by Swedish first timer Adrian Grunberg (assistant director on Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) and filmed around Veracruz and Brownsville, Texas, Get The Gringo was reportedly shot in a former massive prison in Tijuana originally meant to house two thousand inmates. But when it was closed in 2002, was populated with three times as many. Also of note in the credits, in a thank you extended to Homeland Security, whatever that was all about.

Twentieth Century Fox
Rated R
2 stars

Trailer of Get the Gringo:

Prairie Miller is a NY multimedia journalist online, in print and on radio, and on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network's Arts Express. Read more reviews by Prairie Miller. Contact Prairie through NewsBlaze. Read more stories by Prairie Miller.

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