El Gringo (2012)
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One of many straight to DVD films that Scott Adkins has churned out in between the odd big movie. This film seems to have gone down a few routes here, firstly its clearly a nod to classic Clint Eastwood 'the man with no name' films, there is a strong Mexican style spaghetti western vibe here. Secondly its clearly a Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez wannabe flick, the editing and general style is obvious. Thirdly it could be seen as a film project by Adkins to try and prove he's up and ready for a role in the next violent Tarantino/Rodriguez flick, cast me! cast me! And lastly it might just be a simple homage to all of the above, but I doubt that, riding on the coattails probably.
In all honesty its not a bad film but its not good either. We spend the first ten minutes of the film watching Adkins trying to get a drink of water from all the local oddballs in town. Then we spend another ten minutes or so watching this really annoying young girl trying to steal Adkins bag of cash. This happens not once but numerous times, its annoying, time wasting, for Christ's sake just look after your flippin' bag dude!
Most of the film is forgettable except for one gun battle sequence slap bang in the middle. I can't deny I was impressed with this, it was awesome! spectacular in its bloody bullets to the head violence. A touch of kickboxing from Adkins but mainly a rollicking gun fest as he pops bullets in a stream of bad guys whilst running around tight squalid alleyways. It is a real adrenaline rush I kid you not, lots of bloody squibs and absurdity as he takes out blokes with a shotgun that are well out of range I'm sure. The whole sequence plays out like a Call of Duty online game actually, visually it has that frantic wham-bam feel plus Adkins goes around picking up weapons from guys he's just taken out, one after another.
The other CoD inspiration if you ask me is that all the bad guys have this gangland war paint on their faces in the form of a simple skull motif. Their faces are white with black around the eyes and cheekbones giving that CoD: Ghosts appearance. The main bad guy looks the best of course, he also looks like a young Raul Julia too.
It is a bit of a shameful artistic and stylistic rip off from various other sources but it still manages to hold together. Adkins isn't the best actor on the block by any means but he's a good action star as we know and his fights get more impressive with each film. The finale to this film is pretty damn awful I won't lie, it builds up to something massive but ends up a wet squib, very disappointing. Other than that I recommend watching for the gun battle midway through, its worth it, just try not to have an epileptic fit with all the flashy quick fire cuts and editing.
It`s Desperado meets No Country For Old Men. A sizzling, awesome and explosive blast filled with style, wit, suspense, grittiness and spectacular gunfights that will blow you out of your seat. A wickedly entertaining and hard-boiled blast from start to finish. A red-hot, blisteringly cool and exhilarating action-packed thriller. It`s strong, capable and seriously bad ass. Scott Adkins is terrific, he has the charisma, skills and extremely piercing stair that make him the ideal action hero with the like of Jason Statham and Bruce Willis. Adkins is raw and sensational, he just gets better. Christian Slater is terrific. Director, Eduardo Rodriguez crafts a fun, bloody and utterly fearless action movie that delivers the goods with its compelling story and strong characters. A full-throttle and adrenaline-charged action thrill-ride that's fast, brutally funny and has a high body count. A stylistic and intense western on steroids.
Now I notice two things wrong with this movie before watching it. The first was that there was no Mel Gibson on the cover. My second problem was the name Scott Adkins, who I last saw in the very poorly made movie simply titled Ninja.
El Gringo is about a man with no name (really original) crossing into Mexico with a bag of full of money (not at all similar to that Mel Gibson movie) and it's up to him save a town run by criminals (once again, highly original). So in the first fifteen minutes of our gritty movie the main character focus is to, find a glass of water. This unfortunately becomes a recurring joke in the movie which is really unfunny and the movie even ends with a joke about buying a glass of water before the credits roll. So our main characters walks into a bar and we're introduce to a lovely bartender, or I should say we're introduce to her chest since that where cameraman main focus is at. This bartender becomes his love interest despite the fact they barely share any personal details about themselves to each other in the very few scenes they share. So after some more forgettable dialogue and acting we get to see good old Scott kicking some ass with his Martial Art skills. Which the movie never bother to explain how he got, are we just suppose to assume every Mexican cop is highly trained in the skills of Martial Art. Moving on, the next thing our gritty movie has our character doing is, looking for a bus out of town. Wow, finding a glass water and looking for a bus out of town sure sounds like events that would keep anyone at the edge of their seat.
So through very poor exposition we learn the criminals want Scott's bag so they can just give it to someone else and come up with a genius plan to get his bag by, making Scott miss his bus. What else did this studio make, Dragon Eyes, well it step up in terms of intelligence. So the criminals tried to make Scott miss his bus, but little did they know they were messing with THE Scott Adkins who previously had killed dozen of ninjas in Ninja and literally kills around fifty people in less than five minutes in one action scene. It is disappointing that the later action scenes aren't as violent since Scott Adkins is fun to watch in action mode and is one of the more entertaining American Martial Artist. So after getting shot two times the bartender tends to his wounds while our hero face gets time with her chest. The bartender decides to cover his wounds with, her bra and underwear. Does anyone in this studio even read their own scripts before making these movies? During all that "intense" excitement we have Christian Slater looking for Scott all the while giving a very poor performance. Aside from the fact he barely got any development and screen time I was completely "shock" to find out he working with the criminals the whole time. Now for some reason people in Mexico keep turning black and white whenever they come close to death, I got no idea what the director was smoking when he chose to do this.
Another problem you'll notice is that certain characters get their own titles cards despite the fact they serve little purpose to the movie. Moving on, Christian Slater finds Scott and puts him in prison. Little did Christian Slater and the other criminals know is that Scott replaced a window with bars with another window with bars that can easily come off and Scott Adkins just happened to know the exact prison the criminals would take him if he ever got captured. This movie plot has more holes than SpongeBob SquarePants. Eventually Scott get his bag from Slater in a boring car chase, which to the movie credit is not as bad as Scott fighting a criminal who keeps picking up his hat every time it's knocked off his head. So we see some criminals burning down Scott love interest bar and Scott just happens to get their at the right time despite driving all the way to the border to retrieve his bag and having no working car after his car chase. So the people decide to surround Scott not because he killed dozen of criminals and made the town a slightly safer place, but because he giving them money. So he saves his love interest with no big exciting climax and saves the town, the end. Which despite it poor writing it did make me laugh and I did enjoy Scott Adkins even with his bad acting. It has some solid action, but a poor plot might make you quit watching before getting to them.
El Gringo might be terribly written, horribly acted, with poor direction, but it's a step up from Scott other efforts. It's a dumb action movie with allot of noticeable plot holes and solid action scenes so there's certainly an audience for this kind of mess. Though the majority would want to checkout the well receive Get the Gringo with Mel Gibson over this poor man version any day.
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