Back in 2012, a movie was made with Mel Gibson called Get the Gringo, and as action movies go it’s not too bad. To be honest, it even came out to great reviews, but it’s not something that you’ll likely hear a lot about. The story is pretty interesting, to be honest, and the dialogue is easy to follow and definitely fits the movie in a very noticeable manner. Seeing Gibson going back to being the loner, the outsider, and someone that knows how to think around corners to survive and to get one up on those around him is kind of nice since in this movie he’s a career criminal who becomes known simply as The Gringo, hence the title of the movie. But when the movie opens up, we see the Gringo and his partner in crime, who’s already dead, fleeing the police as they drive right through the border fence before the Gringo is picked up by a couple of corrupt Mexican police officers. Taking the money and cremating his dead partner, the cops place the Gringo in a prison that’s more like a functional ghetto than an institution, but is still a place where the people are still prisoners to some degree.
In effect, the prison is run by a crime family with a man named Javi at the very top, as he caters to the police, the prison guards, and is essentially capable of coming and going as he pleases. But when the Gringo begins to do what he does best, which is take note of who he can rob and who’s in charge, he invites a great deal of trouble on himself when he talks to a kid that has designs on killing Javi. Convincing the kid not to do this, the Gringo eventually finds out that Javi has a failing liver and the kid is the only viable donor. Javi killed the kid’s father in an attempt to perform a transplant, but obviously, it didn’t work.
On top of all this, the man that the Gringo stole the money from comes looking for it and ends up finding the two corrupt cops, who have been burning through it while partying and having a good time but are tortured and eventually killed as Javi’s men, alerted to the cash by the Gringo, kill the men sent by the mob boss as well. In retaliation, the mob boss sends a group of assassins into the prison, which starts a firefight that ends only when the assassins are dead. From that point on the Gringo is in Javi’s good graces, but his plan is to keep the kid safe, meaning that the gamble he takes to get rid of the mob boss for Javi, while successful, was a big risk. Upon enacting the next part of his plan and learning that Javi has planned for the transplant, the Gringo makes his way back into the prison to save the kid and his mother, and in the process kills Javi and anyone else that he needs to in order to get out, with his cash, the kid, and the kid’s mother. From there they go to retrieve the stolen money that the cops didn’t get before disappearing.
There’s a bit more to it, but the main point is that the Gringo, after being captured and essentially robbed of the money that he stole, ends up making a plan that’s both risky and dangerous and could have gotten him killed or worse. The plan isn’t that difficult, but understanding all of it does require a viewer to pay attention since otherwise they’ll get what’s going on in a broad sense but otherwise it might be kind of confusing as to why some people are killing others and why so many people are angry at the Gringo. Mel Gibson as a villain trying to get back what he feels is his has been done before, and the part of getting revenge on someone that did him dirty is kind of a perk that such movies enjoy and definitely employ to great effect. Something about Gibson being the villain is kind of interesting since it gives him a lot more leeway to just go nuts and have fun with the character.
Some might want to say that he had the chance to do this with the character of Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon movies, but this is definitely different since Riggs still had morals and a code of ethics to live by. The Gringo is the kind of guy that does have a heart and does enjoy his morality when it suits him, but otherwise, he’s also the type of guy that is glad to see people get what’s coming to them when it’s deserved. That kind of attitude really worked in this movie.