How I spent my Summer Vacation
Things aren’t going too great with Mel Gibson. After Shyamalan’s “Signs” from 2002 the man has only done Edge of Darkness and also that dates from two years ago. Now we seem him in “How I Spent my Summer Vacation”, a movie that didn’t even make it to the big screen and depending on the country you live it even gets released under a different title (it’s also known as “Kill the Gringo” and “Get the Gringo”).
In Get the Gringo, which he co-wrote, Gibson plays Driver/Gringo, a criminal who after a car chase ends on Mexican turf where he gets locked up by the corrupt authorities in a local prison after they’ve robbed him from a bag containing a few million dollars.
Gringo quickly finds out that the prison isn’t your ordinary jail. The inhabitants made some sort of mini-village in it, live there with their family and kids, and there are even some shops present. This revolutionary concept in theory is lead by the prison director, but in reality it’s crime boss Javi who makes things run. In this very weird and dangerous environment Gringo not only needs to survive but also find a way to escape and get his money back from the cops that took it.
The story as such isn’t all that spectacular but the original setting makes up for a lot and Gibson is once again doing his thing very well. His “confused professor-pose works to keep him alive while he puts together all kinds of schemes to get his money back, and the bond he makes with a ten year old boy and his mother adds an emotional driver that gives the movie some additional depth.
Just like Edge of Darkness Kill the Gringo is a tale of revenge, but this time added with the typical comedy we know from Gibson’s glory days as action hero (Lethal Weapon) and it works. The strange setting, the cast, the acting, … it’s all good and as result you get to see a fun and exciting thriller that may not wander around in your memory for long but does manage to entertain for an hour and a half.
Technically we can’t complain either. The image is stylized to bring forth a hot atmosphere and there’s also a thin layer of grain present to emphasize the grimmness of the prison. The black levels could be better, the colors are a bit off due to the manipulated image, and we even have a soft scene here and there, but overall things do look decent. Qua sound we can say that the focus is mostly on the front and not only for dialogue. The rear speakers hardly get any action and this only for some background noise and a few effects. The subwoofer does get its piece of the action and supports explosions as well as music with some bass.