While I occasionally get some entertainment value out of celebrity news and revelations celebs are not all nice people, I generally keep their off-screen exploits off my radar. Mel Gibson is a good example of that. The guy has made a real mess of his personal life, but put him on the screen (or behind the camera) and he remains a talented and charismatic personality. He has only begun getting back on the screen, with less than a handful of appearances since 2002's Signs, but with Get the Gringo (previously titled How I Spent My Summer Vacation), he shows that he still has a little bit of the old school charisma in him.
Get the Gringo gives us a touch of the badass, tough guy type of character we haven't seen from Gibson since 1999's Payback. As a matter of fact, this would probably play well as the back half to a Gibson double feature paired with the Brian Helgeland film. As it stands, Get the Gringo feels one step removed from the 1970s era of gritty action dramas. It would be right at home among the films of Walter Hill (The Warriors) and Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch), with perhaps a hint of Akira Kurosawa (Yojimbo) mixed in for good measure. Granted, this is not quite in the same league, but you can see the influences.
The movie follows a man simply known as the Driver (Mel Gibson). Actually, I am not sure he is actually called by that name within the movie. It is used in the subtitles, and when pressed for a name, he does not seem interested in telling the truth.
The first time we see him is as he races like a madman through what looks like the arid desert of Arizona or New Mexico. He is wearing a clown mask with a similarly masked, but bleeding, partner in the back seat... bleeding over a big bag of money. They are heading for the Mexican border while being relentlessly pursued by the police.