May 08, 2012

Get the Gringo - Regal Union Square

Mike: Erica hates clowns, and the trailer for Mel Gibson's latest, Get the Gringo (formerly How I Spent My Summer Vacation, a title I liked better), showed Mel in a clown mask. So I knew I was going to have to watch this by myself. I first heard about it a few years ago and was excited to see it. After all that Mel has been through lately, I wasn't taken that much by surprise that this was skipping theaters in favor of a VOD release, albeit an unprecedented on at that with DirecTV.

Ain't It Cool News partnered with Gibson to have a special screening in ten cities, with a live Q&A with Gibson immediately following the presentation. In order to win a ticket I had to write about my favorite Mel Gibson movie, and was very happy to find out that I ended up with a ticket. I was very excited about seeing the movie.

The screening was at the Regal in Union Square - a theater I've been to many times but not very often in the last few years, as AMC gets most of my business now. So it was pretty nice to be back here. I was hoping the show would be in one of the auditoriums with a balcony, but unfortunately it was in a regular room. There was a special screening of The Raven going on at the same time and a huge crowd showed up for that. I got there super early, fearing I might not get in, but it ended up being only 2/3rds full. I was relieved that the usual gang of free ticket folks weren't there - they always make events like these in NYC a nightmare in and not worth your time, but my guess is that writing about their favorite Mel Gibson movie was too much effort.

Anyway, the movie finally started at 8 PM. It was nice to see Gibson back on the big screen again with another bad ass character. And right off the bat, he's a real bad ass. The old Mel Gibson we used to love so much. As the film progresses, he softens a bit, and that was my main problem. I understand that a character needs to have an arc, but here it just wasn't at all plausible. The Gibson at the beginning of the movie is far too different from the one you see at the end.

The production values were good. I could see the post-production budget being a bit limited - the effects aren't as polished as I'm used to seeing on the big screen. But the film has a slight direct-to-video feel to it, and it has nothing to do with the way it looks. It's because of the dialogue. Get the Gringo tries very hard to be clever and to deliver as many memorable one-liners as possible. Sometimes it succeeds, but too often it feels forced or out of place.

I can't really complain, though. I wanted to see Mel Gibson in another action movie, and that's what we get. There's plenty of craziness to make the movie enjoyable and worth watching - especially for just $10 on VOD - but the film misses its mark with the dialogue and by turning Mel Gibson from a hard ass into a softie.


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