Sunday, May 13, 2012

El Gringo (2012)

Directed by Eduardo Rodriguez
Starring Scott Adkins and Yvette Yates
Runtime 102min. - Rated R

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

"El Gringo" is available On-Demand through Vudu, Itunes, and Amazon. Links at bottom.

Here's some things that every filmmaker should avoid. When a distinguishing viewer sees these things, they instantly lose a measure of respect for the film.
  • A character walks away from a huge explosion without ever looking back.
  • When stealing a car, the thief finds keys over the sun visor
  • A woman tends to a mans wounds and it leads to sex
  • The protagonist takes out multiple machine-gun armed villains with just a pistol
  • Villains with machine guns who can't hit a still target.
  • A villain gets the drop on a hero, but the gun jams
  • A car has trouble starting but fires up just before the hero gets hurt
  • Someone uses a bullet to light a fire. (Especially painful to Mythbusters fans)
  • A protagonist shoos away a dog unsucessfully, and the dog follows them everywhere
  • All melee weapons make "swooshing" sounds when swung, bats/knives/swords/fists
I could go on and on, but you get the point. These are all classic action movie cliches.

"El Gringo" contains every one of these incidents and then some. The explosion scene actually happens in the first 5 minutes. I knew at that moment that I was in for some cheesiness. Then our hero begins to overheat in the desert so he pisses on some cloth and ties it around his head to help keep him cool. Though I was instantly reminded of Bear Grylls, the scene caused my expectations to fall even further. Strangely enough, he had just been told that his destination was only a 15 minute walk. Somehow he almost dies of dehydration during that period. Unless his directions were a lie, but that's never mentioned.

The plot is about a guy who's attempting to travel to Acapulco carrying a gym bag stuffed with $2 million. Shockingly, the locals take interest in the gym bag, especially the criminal element. The gang that's after him wears white skeleton make up on their face. It's sort of a "Dia De Los Muertos" style. For some reason the idea of organized criminals waking up every morning and staring in the mirror, making sure their makeup is just right, amuses me.

The plot really isn't important to the film at all. This is a shoot-em-up and doesn't pretend to be anything else. For every minute of diaglogue there's five minutes of violence. That wouldn't bother me too much if it were carefully choreographed. Instead the directors uses the rapid-cut queasy cam style made popular in the "Bourne" movies. A style which I hate with a passion. There's also lots of explosions for those who like that sort of thing.

Christian Slater is in the film, but don't let that fool you. His role is just barely long enough to not be considered a cameo. Besides, he hasn't exactly been lighting up the silver screen in recent years.

A movie like this needs a very attractive damsel in distress. "El Gringo" can put a check mark in that category. Yvette Yates is not only extremely sexy, but she definitely had the best performance in the film. I'm not familiar with all of her work, but she seems to have a very bright future in my opinion.

There's some positive notes to consider. The editing, unlike the plot, has some unique attributes. When fading in and out of flashbacks, the scenes strobe with frames from both timelines. I actually found it insanely annoying, but I applaud the ingenuity. There's also a couple of moments when a character accepts their own death and they desaturate to black and white while the rest of the frame remains in color. It's actually pretty effective.

"El Gringo" is certainly not a great film. It may not even be a good film, but it does have some entertainment value. Part of that value is it's price and availability. It's available on Amazon and Vudu for $5.99. Oddly, the ITUNES price is $6.99. A fact that I found out after I purchased the ITUNES rental. Either way that's pretty good for a newly released film that you can watch at your leisure.

FOOTNOTES: "Stash House" starring Dolph Lundgren shares a director and production company. It was released simultaneously with "El Gringo" by AfterDark Films, for the same price.

Also, this is the second movie I've seen this week on V.O.D with the word "Gringo" in the title. The other one is "Get The Gringo" starring Mel Gibson. A better film.

Watch It Now:


  1. I refuse to watch a Mel Gibson film after the things he has done and said.

    1. I spoke to Mel Gibson recently and he said he refuses to read your comments.