Mel Gibson has faced Australia, Scotland during a war against the English, Jerusalem during the death of Christ, the American Revolution, the Vietnam War, the latter days of the Mayans, rural Pennsylvania during an alien invasion and one awesomely messed up dystopian future, but never has he faced a challenge quite like a bad part of Mexico. Well, in all fairness, Mexico has never really faced a challenge quite like Mel Gibson, and as far as most Americans know, Mexico didn't. Yeah, this film is hardly the talk of the town, though it's being somewhat obscure might very well be intentional, because it's about Mel Gibson as some kind of crazy brute going around and killing him some Mexicans in a film whose tagline reads, "The odds are against him. So is everyone else." Yeah, this film sounds like it's probably not the best thing for Gibson's reputation, which is a shame, because, hey, I still like the guy just fine, even though he has flown way off the handle with that Aussie-tude and being spoiled... alcoholic, bipolar, a super traditionalist Catholic, emigrant to a different country at 12, father of eight and middle child of eleven to a WWII veteran who seems to be even nuttier. Wow, yeah, I'm really dubious that Gibson's actually a racist, largely because you'd be amazed at what plenty of perfectly reasonable and immensely less flawed people will boast behind closed doors, so even if Gibson's the non-actual-racist I presume he really is, he's still, for all accounts, damaged to where I can see him saying even crazier stuff that never even made it on tape, though don't quote me on that, because I don't want some of that aforementioned Aussie-tude. Well, I can definately tell you something about Mel Gibson that I'm certainly certain about: he's still an awesome actor, and while he's not quite the mind-blower in this film that he was in last year's "The Beaver", this is still Gibson getting back to the classic role of a flawed, tough buck with no time to care about what people think or to choose his words carefully as he finds himself tossed into the wrong place at the wrong time. Shoot, looking at the description of the titular nameless gringo and the description of Gibson nowadays, no wonder Gibson still knows this role so well, though if all of this talent hasn't gotten the public to give him a bit of a break, then lord knows that it's not going to drown out this film's flaws.
The film opens up with Mel Gibson's nameless character, in a clown costume and make-up, hauling like lightning in a car to the Mexican border, with the cops on his tail, his shot accomplice in the backseat with a big bag of freshly stolen money and Ten Years After's "50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain" kicking somewhere through all of the man-tastic noise, and at that point, you may as well set fire to your man cards - even if you're a woman - if you're not sold and expecting some consistent thrills, only to find momentum drop way down shortly thereafter, as this film is nothing if not all over the place with pace. The film's pacing is uneven, having those kind of spikes in intensity, only to quickly drop down to a limp, with levels of dialogue prevalence, editing tightness and so on and so forth contradicting itself at too many turns, though if there's anything consistent about much of the pacing during the body, then it's some varying degree of surprising slowness, if not all-out dullness. After the opening, editing becomes baby-tooth loose to make room for nothing but nothing and dialogue becomes sparse to make room for a definately charismatic, yet limply written narration by Mel Gibson that provides superfluous insight into nothing but nothing. This type of "story"telling falls back into play here and there throughout the film, yet is nonetheless perhaps at its worst during the early acts, which lose you quite quickly after its awesome hook, and once the dialogue gets to be much more prevalent and Gibson's narration momentarily dissipates without a trace, the film wins you back, though not too much, as things remain rather quiet, repetitious, draggy and all around slow, certainly not to the point where you give up on the film, yet decidedly to the point of leaving the film to dull out and the viewer to fall out if his or her attention strays away even for a moment. It gets to the point where you look back and find that, even with all of the spots that do wake you up, the film is more often too slow for its own good, as well as sometimes too uneven in pacing for you to feel the intensity in the air as much as you probably should, though that might just be because we get too used to the film being so slow for such a long time. Now, the film's dull spots aren't quite a prevalent as I'm making them sound, and when the high points do hit the scene, they hit pretty hard, yet there's no denying that the film is, in fact, slow, and much more often than not, or at least often enough for the film to lose too much steam all too often, until it ultimately sputters out as too slow in too many spots to be, as a whole, all that above average. That being said, this film hits about as much as it misses, with some hits being stronger than the misses, and while that's not quite enough to pump this film above decent, it's enough to make for some pretty commendable high points, as well as consistent strengths that keep you going until those high points.
Mel Gibson's, Stacy Perskie's and director Adrian Grunberg's screenplay is flawed, with bloated spots of filler that slow things down quite a bit, yet is, on the whole, actually fairly sharp, avoiding many potential tropes and cliches through some interesting and reasonably unique concepts, as well as a bit of audacious and intriguing realism and grit that manages to enhance the intense areas of the story, while not standing out so much that it drowns out such fluffier writing aspects as razor-sharp dialogue that may not quite snap enough to fully dilute the slow spots, yet certainly livens the film up with cleverness. This snappy dialogue certainly goes complimented by Steven Rosenblum's editing, which may be loose when it comes to stringing scenes together, thus leaving filler to spill in, as I went on and on about in the first paragraph, yet really delivers when it comes to the details of a single scene by itself, snapping back and forth between cuts in a clever and lively fashion that catches your attention much more often than not and spices up both dialogue and, when it finally comes into play, action, which, like the dialogue, has plenty of sharpness in the action to spice up. I've already mentioned this film's opening car chase sequence, which sure did make for a sharp hook and cool action sequence, though not the only one, for although it takes a while for this film to bring back the action, when bullets and whatnot start flying, the clever editing and action concepts make for some thrilling brawls, while the aforementioned hardcore realism, heavy yet not too gratuitous violence and quite a bit of bite to the substance gives the action some weight, thus making for some compelling consequence that helps in defining the film, when it's not being kept going by its fluffier spots and, of course, the charisma of Mel Gibson, who may be given little to do, as far true acting material is concerned, yet delivers as well as he typically does when he does find material to play up. There is a very brief, yet pretty strong, memorable and almost definitive sequence at about the fifty-minute mark in which Mel Gibson's nameless character finds himself held at gunpoint by our antagonist, only to talk his way out a bullet to the brain by reminding said antagonist of how he managed to survive through the hardcore action sequence that preceded this moment, which Gibson carries by delivering on intensely raw emotion and unexpected vulnerability that leaves that kind of classic "Hero Talks His Way Out of Death" sequence to take a turn for the more realistic, and for the better, as it conveys the compelling vulnerable depth of our nameless protagonists and leaves consequence to take a boost that rarely, if every falls from the then on. However, consequence goes more often than not sustained from then on, all but entirely because that was the moment where fun and games ended and things got especially serious, as Gibson's material never again reaches past, or even to that point, which runs mere seconds, yet those seconds really do spice up Gibson's performances, which had prior and since been built primarily around charisma, which is just fine with me. No matter how much many people don't really care to admit it nowadays, Gibson is still a worthy talent, or if nothing else, a potent onscreen charmer, as he reminds us with the striking charisma and slick line delivery that makes him an engaging lead for this film, which may not ask Gibson to do too much more than just deliver on charisma to lead strong, yet doesn't really need to. Again, this film isn't quite 2011's "The Beaver", neither as all that powerful of an acting piece for Mel Gibson, nor all that rewarding of a film by its own right, yet when it's all said and done, it's worth checking out, even if it does underwhelm a bit.
Overall, the film's pacing gets to be uneven, yet tends to float around some varying degree of slowness, which ranges from too disengagingly steady for its own good to actually fairly dull, and with there not quite being enough to compensate for the film's being more considerably slow and somewhat bland than not, the final product, as a whole, stands as improvable, yet still keeps you going through thick and thin with a generally strong screenplay that boasts mostly clever story structuring, sharp dialogue and gripping realism and grit, complimented by well-crafted and hardcore action sequences - somewhat underused though, they may be -, as well as by Mel Gibson's thoroughly charismatic performances, thus leaving "Get the Gringo" to ultimately stand as a somewhat underwhelming effort, yet one that strikes enough high notes for you to walk away having enjoyed yourself more often than not.
2.5/5 - Fair