Gringo Movie Review
The movie “Gringo” finds a way to mix humor into a horrific kidnapping situation. When a timid middle-manager is sent to Mexico to oversee a large corporation laboratory, he gets mistaken for the guy in charge. And when the guy in charge is pulling a fast one on the local drug cartel, then the results might not be so pleasant for that guy. But can the tables be turned on the corporation bosses and the cartel kingpin?
Harold (David Oyelowo) works for that large corporation which manufactures drugs. He is ignorant of many facts around him. His wife Bonnie (Thandie Newton) is having an affair and is going to leave him. His boss Rich (Joel Edgerton) is working side deals with the cartel, and is attempting to cover it up, so he can sell the business to a mega-firm. His partner Elaine (Charlize Theron) is all business, until her trysts with Rich are ending. Then she looks for a way to get even.
Harold goes down to the company lab in Mexico, where a cannabis tablet is being made. When it becomes legal everywhere in the States, then the company will have a gold mine. But Rich has been selling much of the product on the side to the cartel. Harold begins to see where the trail is leading, and he wants out. His wife is leaving him, he is dead broke and the company thinks he is expendable. The cartel wants Harold because they think he is in charge and can make the special tablets.
Harold happens to meet an American girl named Sunny (Amanda Seyfried), who is also in Mexico. Her boyfriend is planning on stealing the tablets and smuggling them back to make drug mule money. Harold is caught between the cartel thugs, and then some amateur thugs, when both try to kidnap him. Rich finally calls his brother Mitch (Sharlto Copley) who an ex-Special Forces guy and can get Harold back home safe. But Harold is not going to trust anyone anymore. Can anyone make it out alive?
“Gringo” takes serious subject and plays it for some laughs. Getting kidnapped in Mexico is not a fun thing. But David Oyelowo plays such a hilarious character that you want to root for the underdog. Joel Edgerton plays a great sleazy businessman in over his head who is courting disaster. Sharlto Copley does a crack-up job with a fairly brief role as Mitch, and he is fun to watch. The rest of cast is also well placed in the roles that they play. Nash Edgerton handles the direction with very few issues, and he keeps the action moving forward at a brisk pace. The action goes from Chicago to Mexico many times, and there are no dull pauses.
The movie takes a pretty good swing at being an action movie with a big dose of comedy. There are many places where it could have been a too dark for comedy, but it pulls it back just in time. The pacing makes it so each scene does not linger too long and become stale. And you even get to enjoy David Oyelowo singing along with “Getting’ Jiggy wit It”. That will warm the heart of any gringo!
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Directed by: Nash Edgerton
Screenplay by: Anthony Tambakis & Matthew Stone
Story by: Matthew Stone
Starring: David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Amanda Seyfried, Thandie Newton, Sharlto Copley
Length: 110 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, violence and sexual content
Genre: Action, Comedy