How I Spent My Summer Vacation [aka: Get the Gringo]

"Weak"

How I Spent My Summer Vacation [aka: Get the Gringo] Review


With echoes of everything from Mad Max to Payback, this grungy thriller rampages through Mel Gibson's back catalogue. But all of the swaggering attitude is just too much for a film that has absolutely no point to it.

After a breathless car chase on the US-Mexico border, an outlaw (Gibson) is thrown into a Tijuana prison known as El Pueblito, which is more like a run-down favela than a jail. His criminal mind immediately kicks into gear as he finds ways to survive by causing as much mayhem as possible. Soon he befriends a 10-year-old kid (Hernandez) whose mother (Heredia) is being exploited by the power-mad top-dog prisoner Javi (Gimenez Cacho). And our unnamed protagonist will need to use all of his wits to get out of here alive.

On the other hand, forget wit. The writers and director seem much happier to just have everyone blast each other into oblivion, indulging in a number of hyper-violent shootouts, plus a few grisly grenade explosions. Gibson's anti-hero is essentially an ageing macho thug who inexplicably develops a soft spot for the kid and his mum, so we know exactly where the plot is heading.

Throwing in a nasty little side-trip to San Diego and a gruesome liver transplant doesn't throw us off the scent.

But the lack of originality wouldn't be a problem if there was anything actually going on in the story. The narrative, characters and situations are so thin that we never believe a moment of it. So even if the production design skilfully creates the atmosphere of this squalid prison, and even though the performances aren't bad, there's nothing to hold our interest.

The grizzled Gibson adds a nice world-weary cynicism to the role, even if the character is never much more than a collection of movie cliches. But it's impossible to care whether he lives or dies, to say nothing about whether he gets away with the loot, since there's never the slightest question. And because the character and the movie itself are so joyless, the relentless violence, which is often horrifically misogynistic, quickly wears us out.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Adrian Grunberg

Producer: , , Stacy Perskie

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.