Now before you guys pull out the pitchforks and swear off this site, (again), I want you to hear me out. The title of this post pretty simply explains the gist, but let’s scratch at the surface to see what’s buried under there. Mel Gibson is not a favorable person with the overall general public. The guy has issues with folks of other races and cultures which aren’t easy to ignore, nor should they.
That said I somewhat admit that I miss his presence. It’s extremely difficult to disregard the fact that the guy is idiotic with what he says, in and out of public, at times but I miss the Mel I knew before all that. Before the drama. Before the tirades and slur spewing I remember that Gibson was a likeable presence on film and participated in a bunch of my favorite films from the 80’s and 90’s. So I watched his latest film that was provided to me courtesy of Fox and I want to let you know that a lot of the charm and entertaining wisecracks were back with this film. This wasn’t a thought provoking movie or Oscar contending film, it was more of a homage to who he was before kinda like what I’m expecting to see from Schwarzenegger in “The Last Stand”. It’s his “coming out” film and it’s a fun one at that.
Get the Gringo was originally titled “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” which, I thought, was a perfect analogy for his hiatus. The guy went and rested and now he’s back. His narration of a “letter” to his mother is something that’s a constant presence within the film and he guides you throughout his unbelievable adventure within a Mexican prison. Gibson plays “Driver” which is any nondescript schmuck that Gibson or any other action star has played within the last 5 years. He’s likeable, like an anti-hero. He’s not neccesarily a good guy but he just happens to do good things when they coincide with his plans.
The film is full of faults. There’s story is downright absurd with situations arising that just suck out all level of belief from the moment and make you force yourself to press the “brain off” button while watching. I don’t want to get too spoiler-ish but let’s just say that there’s a scene in which someone chooses to have organ transplant surgery during a prison raid in order to steal the organ from the illegitimate child that he non-raised in prison with a female resident. Read that sentence again. Sure, knowing things like that happen in the film beforehand can easily dissuade you from bothering, but I protest that the return of the ‘Gib’ made these outrageous ideas entertaining to watch. I could have easily imagine someone like Jason Statham taking on a role like this, rather than Gibson, but Mel takes on the role and makes it his own. He’s so comfortable in the role that you can get the impression that he didn’t even bother to rehearse his lines and just showed up on set already conditioned for what’s expected. He’s a pro and he’d done this kinda stuff a million times before. He just seemed so acclimated to the expectations that his performance seemed ‘effortless’.
The film introduces you to a world within a city prison in which illegal commerce is an everyday part of life. “Driver” inadvertently winds up a inmate/resident in this environment and begins his crazy adventure of systematically wreaking havoc and up-heaving those in “power”. It’s a fine enough film, not the best or most remarkable, but it was a quaint little tale that provided to perfect scenarios to remind me of thing things that I liked about Gibson. The movie didn’t release in theaters and ended up as a VOD and straight to video release which I suspect is a result of his poor public image. I wouldn’t expect this movie to compete with The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises, but it’s sad that someone who had great potential as a contender with films of that stature has fallen so low.
He’s got a history. He’s said some things that are unforgivable and CANNOT be disregarded… but even with that said I miss the Mel Gibson prior to the scandal that gave us quality entertainment like the Lethal Weapon series, Braveheart, The Patriot, and even “What Women Want”. I miss that guy. He was fun and FUNNY. He was a “man’s man” with a sensitive side and because of all that “I Miss Mel Gibson”.