Rental Picks: Get the Gringo & The Lone Ranger

TedSaydalavongBanner

Get The Gringo

GetTheGringo_Poster

Remember when Mel Gibson was the king of the box office? Back in the late 80s, 90s and early 2000s, seems like every film he starred in were box office hits. After he starred in the big hit Signs back in 2002, he actually agreed to return as Max in George Miller’s Fury Road (it’s been renamed to Mad Max: Fury Road); if I remember correctly the film was scheduled to come out in the summer of 2004 but when the second Iraq War happened, the film was cancelled. They wanted to shoot the film in the middle east and of course with the war, it’s not possible. Then we all know what happened to his career after he directed The Passion of the Christ, even though I don’t agree with what he said in his personal life, I still think he’s a great talent.

A car chase opens the movie, a getaway driver (Mel Gibson) and a wounded accomplice are fleeing the American police and heading towards the Mexican border. The car crashes through the border fence and Gibson’s character was taken into the custody of the Mexican police, his accomplice died after the clash. Gibson’s character name was never mentioned throughout the movie, he’s only been called by everyone in the movie as The Gringo. After a night in a jail cell, The Gringo was transferred to El Pueblito prison under false charges, there he found out that the prison actually looks like a ghetto town rather than a real prison. Males, females and even young children are all being kept in this so called prison. Being that he’s the only Caucasian in the prison, he realized he has to figured out how to stay alive and escape the place. He was able to study the ins and outs of the prison and later met a kid (Kevin Hernandez) who’s living with his incarcerated mother. The Gringo and the kid formed an unlikely friendship and he also found out that the prison is being run by a powerful crime lord Javi (Daniel Gimenez Cacho). He then came up with a plan that will get him, the kid and his mom out of prison.

GetTheGringoStills

This being a low budget production, most of the movie took place in the prison setting. First-time director Adrian Grunberg was able to keep the pace moving and staged some cool shootout sequences. Being that he was a second unit director on some of Gibson’s previous work and other well know films, he didn’t really established the look of his first gig as a director. That’s not a knock on Grunberg though, the look and feel of this movie reminded me of Michael Mann’s recent flicks such as Collateral and Miami Vice, as typical with a lot of action movies in the last few years, this one was shot in digital and there were too many scenes that looked like home video to me. Sometime it takes me out of the story when I see scenes that looked like someone used a consumer camcorder to record the scene, I wish some director would use some kind of effects in post production to give the movie a more cinematic look to it. Both Gibson and Grunberg co-wrote the script along with Stacy Perskie, they didn’t really come up with anything new for this kind of genre. It tends to get predictable but kept my interest and I was entertained, the movie kind of reminded me of Payback, a very good thriller from 1999.

Gibson is pretty much the star of the movie and I thought he’s terrific in the role. Again, I don’t agree on what he said in his personal life but I think he’s one of the few aging movie stars who’s still giving 100% in his performance, Tom Cruise being the other one. I can’t say the same for some other brand name stars, yes I’m referring to Bruce Willis and Robert De Niro, those two seems to just take whatever role the studio offered them.

Despite it being predictable and has that home video look to it, Get The Gringo was a good action thriller that will satisfy both fans of Gibson and the genre. It’s on sale for cheap on DVD/Bluray or you can stream it on Netflix. I think if you’re in the mood for a good thriller, this one will be worth your time.


threereels


The Lone Ranger

TheLoneRangerPoster

After reading negative reviews after another I didn’t intend to see this movie but my girlfriend and I couldn’t figure out what to do one Friday night, so we decided to check it out. We saw it at one of the most popular movie theaters in MN and there were only 5 people in the seats, including us and this was a Friday night! Apparently the negative reviews scared off a lot of people. Fortunately, the movie wasn’t as bad as most people made it out to be.

The film starts out with a prologue, took place at a San Francisco sideshow in 1933. A young boy who adores The Lone Ranger radio series ran into an old Native American Tonto (Johnny Depp), Tonto sees the boy and start calling him Kemosabe, seeing the boy with the mask on, Tonto thought the boy was his old pal The Lone Ranger. The boy was curious as to why this old man started calling him by that name and so Tonto decided to tell him the story about the masked man and his sidekick. The film then flashes back years later when we meet a lawyer named John Reid (Armie Hammer), he’s on a train and going to visit his brother who’s a lawman Dan Reid (James Badge Dale). However his train ended up being hijacked by a few outlaws who are trying to free their leader Butch Cavendish (William Fitchtner). Here we’re also introduced to a young Tonto, when chaos ensued, both Tonto and Reid tried to stop Cavendish from escaping but were unsuccessful.

LoneRanger_Stills1

Shortly after, Dan deputizes his brother, allowing him to join in the hunt to bring Cavendish back to justice, but tragedy strikes as their group is ambushed and left for dead. Tonto comes to the scene and saw bodies everywhere, he decided to bury all the lawmen but then John woke up, so Tonto believed he’s been brought back to life by the higher power. John swears to take revenge on Butch for the murder of his brother and decides to team up with Tonto, who is trying to take his own revenge for another tragic event from several years ago. Their adventure will put them up against not only the violent gang of outlaws, but also against a scheming railroad man, Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson), who is attempting to amass a great fortune with his plan. There’s also a subplot about the romance between John and his widowed sister-in-law Rebecca Reid (Ruth Wilson) that didn’t really pan out that well.

What worked for me were the great visual effects and action scenes, especially the big climax sequence involving trains was pretty well thought out and exciting, you can tell where all those millions of dollars went to. Director Gore Verbinski and his cinematographer really wanted to capture the look of Sergio Leone’s western films of the 60s and I thought they were quite successful at it. As mentioned earlier, the action scenes were pretty great to watch, you can tell Verbinski and his crew probably spent weeks or months prepping each sequence. Wish they spent more time on the actual plot of the film though.

A few things that I thought didn’t work. First the film tonal shift just felt out of place, it didn’t know if it wants to be a comedy action or dark and edgy action/western. There would be one scene where you’ll laugh and then another where you see people getting slaughtered. By combining all these elements into a film, it just didn’t blend well for me. Also, by trying to tell origin stories of both of the leads didn’t really work either. I mean the film’s called The Lone Ranger and they should’ve just focus the story on him, Tonto’s a sidekick so why not leave his origin for later films? I understand when you have a big star like Depp in that role, you have to make him the main lead. They should’ve just called the film Tonto and The Lone Ranger. Lastly, the bloated run-time was just inexcusable, about 20 to 30 minutes of the film could’ve been edited out.

LoneRanger_Stills2

Performances wise, I thought Johnny Depp was good as Tonto, he’s basically playing Jack Sparrow again here. I was bit disappointed with Armie Hammer though, I always liked him as an actor but I found him to be lackluster here. I wonder it’s because he’s second fiddle to Depp, he’s been told not to over shadow the bigger star? Whatever it was I just thought he didn’t really sell me as the action hero. Both Fictner and Wilkinson were great as usual since they’ve played villains in other films before. I’m still not sure why Helena Bonham Carter agreed to appear in this movie, her role was so small and didn’t really have much to do, maybe she did it as a favor to Depp since they’re good friends. Ruth Wilson was pretty decent as the damsel in distress.

Even though I thought the plot didn’t work and the film was way too long, I didn’t hate it. I actually enjoyed it for the most part but I’m a sucker for western so it’s an easy sell for me. With a better script that focuses more on The Lone Ranger and shorter run-time, the film could’ve been a fun summer ride. Since the film is officially a massive flop for Disney, we probably won’t see any more adventures of The Lone Ranger and Tonto.

twoandahalfreels

TedSPic


What do you think of Get the Gringo and The Lone Ranger? 

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “Rental Picks: Get the Gringo & The Lone Ranger

  1. I still really like Mel Gibson as an actor. Any sane person knows what he said and did was unquestionably wrong. That said, there are certain things Hollywood just won’t forgive and other things they seem to give free passes to. I also think that certain groups in Hollywood turned on him when he made “Passion”. I say all of that because it’s a shame he’s not making big movies anymore because I usually always liked his stuff.

    It does sound like you liked The Lone Ranger a little better than I did. I had several problems with this movie and you hit on most of them. The egregiously long running time, Hammer’s lost and wooden performance, the crazy shifts in tone, the numerous dull spots. It’s a movie that I’m still willing to give another look but I’m just in no hurry to do it.

    1. Ted S.

      Oh yeah, many powerful people in Hollywood weren’t too happy with him after he made The Passion of The Christ. I mean the only studio was willing to distribute the movie was Newmarket Films, a small indie studio. Of course when the film made a ton of cash the box office, Fox was more than willing to distribute the release of the film on home video. But yeah Gibson’s downfall was because of The Passion of the Christ. One thing for sure is he’s laughing all the way to the bank since financed the entire film himself and pocketed about $400mil!

      I enjoyed Lone Ranger mostly for the visual feast but yeah it’s way too long and the uneven tone were huge problems. I haven’t seen it since it opened in July so if/when I see it again, I might have a different opinion.

  2. I’m one of the defenders of The Lone Ranger, I thought it was entertaining as heck and while I know what you mean about he tonal shifts, that does happen in a lot of films these days and we may be programmed To just accept that. The big action set pieces with the trains were spectacular. Get the Gringo was a slick piece of action sleaze that also entertained. I think Gibson gave us his usual smarter than the other guy performance.

    1. Ted S.

      Yeah, a lot of films came out before Lone Ranger also suffered the same tone shift. A good example was Hancock, it tried to be both a serious superhero flick and a comedy, it didn’t work for me but many people seemed to enjoyed it.

      I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed Get The Gringo and Gibson was great always.

  3. Hi Ted, great reviews here. I still might give The Lone Ranger a watch but man the running time really is too long. I think more people might’ve given it a shot if it were under 2 hrs. Get the Gringo sounds all right, though I’m not that fond of the story though I still like Gibson too and he sure makes a believable one-man hero.

    1. Ted S.

      I know, Lone Ranger is way too long but give it a shot, you might like it. I don’t know if you’re a fan of The Pilates of the Carribean or not but it’s similar those films.

      If you like Payback, you’ll enjoy Get The Gringo. It’s a good action thriller that didn’t take itself too seriously. Too many action movies today seems to think they can run for an Oscar or something since so many of them took itself way too seriously.

    1. Ted S.

      Yeah I never take any actors seriously because they’re entertainers to me, whatever they say or do in their personal life, I don’t give a rat’s ass about them. As long their work entertains me, I don’t have problems with them. And yes Gibson is a bit nutty.

  4. Nice work, Ted! I didn’t find Get The Gringo to be as “home video” visually as you did, but it’s a top notch little thriller that had plenty of twists and turns in it. And count me as one of those who didn’t mind the Lone Ranger, even though it was fatally overlong and filled with too much story for a single film. When that famous theme cranks up, man I had chills.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Rodney.

      I’m a bit snobbish when it comes to how certain movies look, I understand that most movies today are shot digitally but I always feel that when you make a movie, it should take you to another world and when it looks like a home video, I just feel like I’m watching someone’s vacation trip instead of a movie.

      Yeah that big climatic action finally in The Lone Ranger was pretty cool.

  5. …have we all simply fallen out with Mel Gibson. Can he ever regain the status he once had. I don’t think so. I even find myself watching past favorites like Lethal Weapon with a slight distaste in my mouth. However, perhaps Get The Gringo is sort of film to kick away the pretension and get him back doing the things we once loved him for.

    1. Ted S.

      Yeah same here, it’s hard to watch his films without thinking about what he said in real life. I don’t think he’ll ever regain his status as the star power he once held but it’s nice to see he’s still giving 100% in his performance. Give Get The Gringo a watch if you haven’t seen it yet, I think it’s called “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” outside of the US.

  6. I was so surprised by Get the Gringo. I thought it was very fun, slightly fresh, and packed with just enough action to make me like Gibson again. Definitely fitting of your score, however. As for The Lone Ranger, I was surprised as well, yes, but still dragged on a bit too much during the non-action sequences.

  7. Pingback: The Flix List: Five Movies Suffering From Identity Crisis

Join the conversation by leaving a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s