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Under the Radar DVD of the Week: 'Get the Gringo'

Dennis King Published: July 16, 2012

This week, the oddest DVD to appear on release lists is:

“Get the Gringo”

After his recent history of tawdry personal troubles and terrible publicity, Mel Gibson’s movie career is at its lowest ebb. So with the gritty and aggressively sordid action film “Get the Gringo” (due out on DVD Tuesday), the Oscar-winning actor appears to be returning to his grungy “Mad Max” roots.

Gibson’s off-screen troubles have dominated his press in recent years – after a high ride on his popular “Lethal Weapon” franchise, his Academy Award-winning “Braveheart” and his controversial “The Passion of the Christ.” He made a halting effort at getting back to what he does best on screen – tough, stark action material – with 2010’s  “Edge of Darkness,” but although he was very good that film went nowhere.

“Get the Gringo” seems yet another measure of how Gibson’s star has faded. It casts him as a down-and-out career criminal named Driver who pulls off the heist of a lifetime, only to see it all go wrong when he winds up in a hardcore Mexican prison known as “El Pueblito.” In a struggle to survive, he has to tackle snarling goons and a ruthless drug lord, fend off seedy, corrupt cops and befriend a savvy 10-year-old street urchin who harbors a few dire secrets of his own.

Although the film was produced under the giant umbrella of 20th Century Fox, it completely bypassed U.S. theatrical distribution and instead had what little exposure it has gotten from Direct TV and Video on Demand releases. Still, there are hints of the wily old Gibson in this darkly comic crime saga that plays on the actor’s somewhat sordid, disreputable status as a hard, defiant outsider. That seems to fit Gibson’s recent public persona to a T.

“Get the Gringo” is rated R (for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some drug use and sexual material) and runs 96 minutes. It’s being released by 20th Century Fox.

- Dennis King