Mel still raises hell

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH


★ ★ ★■ Di­rec­tor: Adrian Grun­berg ( fea­ture de­but) Star­ring : Mel Gib­son, Peter Stor­mare, Kevin Her­nan­dez, Daniel Gimenez Ca­cho, Dolores Here­dia.

Sat­is­fac­tory Mel con­tent THE mo­ment Mel Gib­son’s pri­vate life went public, his ca­reer went ka­put.

The man is ei­ther too proud or too de­luded to re­alise the star­dom he once en­joyed will not be com­ing back.

Un­for­tu­nately, with so many peo­ple hav­ing writ­ten off Gib­son for good, it mat­ters lit­tle that his new movie, Get the

Gringo, is the best thing he’s been near for many a year.

Those view­ers open- minded enough to have not closed the door for­ever to Mel’s tal­ent will be re­warded with a lively, un­con­ven­tional and en­dear­ingly er­ratic ac­tion thriller.

In Get the Gringo, Gib­son plays a char­ac­ter known only as ‘‘ Driver’’. ( Yes, film buffs, thats the same han­dle Ryan Gosling traded un­der in Drive. All sim­i­lar­i­ties end there, I can as­sure you.)

A for­mer elite mil­i­tary sniper who later be­came an elite crook, Driver is cur­rently be­ing held in cus­tody in a Mex­i­can jail.

Not just any jail, mind you. This is Ti­juana’s in­fa­mous El Pue­blito prison, home to the mean­est, mus­ta­chioed hom­bres south of the bor­der.

At the height of its no­to­ri­ety – the Mex­i­can gov­ern­ment shut­tered the joint in 2002 – El Pue­blito was more a city unto it­self than a mere cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity.

Friends and fam­ily of in­mates were free to come and go at will. Or even live there if they wanted.

Pris­on­ers were able to run their own busi­nesses, and carry their own firearms. As long as they were do­ing the time, any sub­se­quent crime was nei­ther here nor there.

The film­mak­ers lav­ish so much ef­fort on vividly recre­at­ing the bizarre world of El Pue­blito, that the at­mos­phere con­jured here – dan­ger­ous, colour­ful, busy – over­whelms in a win­ning way.

In­side this hive of ac­tiv­ity, Gib­son is free to pro­voke the may­hem de­manded by Get

the Gringo’s od­dball story. This he does very ef­fi­ciently in­deed. As the only non- Mex­i­can res­i­dent of El Pue­blito, Driver is a mov­ing tar­get 24/ 7.

The other in­mates do not like him. The prison au­thor­i­ties loathe him. And some for­mer as­so­ciates who have just learnt of Driver’s where­abouts are on their way to kill him.

It is ba­sic ( and of­ten bru­tal) stuff for the most part in Get the Gringo, with only the oc­ca­sional dark comic aside to re­lieve the ten­sion at hand.

All ac­tion scenes are con­ducted quite im­pres­sively, with a wild shoot- out in­side the con­fines of El Pue­blito rank­ing as the ab­so­lute stand out.

Though Get the Gringo will be per­ceived as a low- rent of­fer­ing be­cause of its un­apolo­get­i­cally pulpy vibe, it is very much a B- movie ex­e­cuted with A- grade pre­ci­sion.

So look out, Ja­son Statham. Mel Gib­son just might be af­ter your job.

DRIV­ING FORCE: Mel Gib­son is back in fine form in ac­tion thriller Get the Gringo, the best film he’s starred in for sev­eral years.

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