A couple of really weird things happened to me today.
The first is I woke up and my right foot wouldn’t work so I’ve been hobbling around like a pathetic circus gimp all day just hoping it would get better – it hasn’t.
Like everyone on the planet I haven’t liked Mel Gibson since Lethal Weapon the first. I went back to look at it on Youtube just to get Chris Tucker‘s schtick with Joe Pesci – so funny – but Gibson’s absurd hair kept getting in the way. In the 15 or 20 years since I’ve built quite an aversion, nay a dislike to him. But heres the thing. I’ve seen all of the other movies on now – except for “The Five Year Engagement” a putrefying prospect if ever there was. So by default Mel Gibson’s latest effort became my movie of choice.
Well this film is just bloody GOOD and while Mel Gibson may be some kind of real-life douche-bag – if the media is even 10% correct – he can still act. He still has gravitas. This film worked for me so lets call that 8 stars out of 10 shall we.
GTG starts off with US border police chasing a couple of bank robbers in clown masks (Gibson + accomplice) over into Mexico. A brief jurisdictional dilemma is resolved and Gibson finds himself in custody in a Mexican prison that is in Gibson’s words “the shittiest mall in the world”. There are no cells, its a bizarre dog-eat-dog-eat-transvestite world offering fairly low odds of survival to someone without friends who kinda stands-out. Despite this, Gibson – career criminal and low-life – starts to flourish and strikes up an unlikely friendship with a 10 year old boy (in there with his mother).
The boy’s drug-dealing father – now dead – was unlucky enough to be a perfect match for the criminal overlord running the prison who needed a liver. Of course, in the way of all criminal overlords running prisons, his partying ways take a toll on the new liver and in turn he takes a new interest in the the previous donors son – Mel’s new best friend.
MEANWHILE a complication has arisen. The money that one M.Gibson stole happened to be from some very nasty characters back state side. And they’re out to get what’s theirs from a range of Mexican ne’er-do-wells on all sides of the criminal justice system.
This film is a blast – great fight scenes, gun battles and plenty of tension. Fantastic cinematography, well paced action, enough odd and funny moments, and the best Mexican villains since El Guapo and Jefe debated the etymology of plethora all those years ago. And through all this I wasn’t distracted by Mel. His character works, he looks the part, he’s human, he’s frail, he’s flawed and he’s aged and it just kinda suits him. Well done Mel.