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General Musings, Reviews

How I Spent My Summer Vacation Review

Recent times have not been kind to Mel Gibson as it appears everybody he comes into contact with for some reason wants record his voice saying something that should be kept in private. However this is not a gossip blog and as it stands the last time I checked Mel Gibson was a damn fine actor who has a knack for starring in extremely watch-able films…sorry what is this ‘What Women Want’ you speak of? Anyhow in what is only his third film appearance since 2010 does Mel Gibson continue his acting revival with another good film? Read on…

‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’ (otherwise known in the U.S. as Get The Gringo and hereby referred to as Summer Vacation) follows the exploits of a robber and thief (Mel Gibson), who never lets it known what his real name is, as he tries to escape across the border into Mexico after his latest job. However Gibson is not alone as he is relentlessly pursued by authorities trying to prevent him crossing the border and unknown to him he is also being tracked by Mexican authorities. After getting across the border he is taken in by crooked Mexican police who discover Gibson’s stolen money and send him to a prison like no other, where family and friends can see and spend time with their incarcerated relatives for a price. The prison is ruthless and for the one white guy things may just get harder, luckily for Gibson he befriends a young cunning kid (Kevin Hernandez) who knows his way around and is protected by the prisons ruling prisoners for a very special reason. Gibson does not plan on staying and will do anything to get out, get his money and save the kid he has befriended.

Cool guys don’t look at explosi….wait there is no explosion
There are several positives that can be attributed to ‘Summer Vacation’ but the most significant has to be the acting. Gibson steps out of the good guy role into the anti-hero and loveable rogue with ease and excellence and demonstrates a side to him not often seen, though he has skills and toughness he is also not as physically strong as his peers in the film and with this on show it makes his character likeable and leaves you able to relate to him to an extent. Though just stealing the show ahead of him is the performance by young Kevin Hernandez whom most will have seen once before as Rodrigo in ‘The Sitter’, Hernandez has the ability to match up to a powerhouse actor like Mel Gibson and demonstrate a maturity not often seen by young performers, hopefully this will not be the last we see of this young talent. 
Shoot out…Mexican prison style
Acting aside the story of the film is very good and stretches farther than the simple break out of prison routine, for Gibson exit from this hell is more complicated than he thinks and he must play the game and get involved with many a character to manufacture his way out. Had the film contained more dry witty comedy and been longer one could be mistaken for thinking it was a Coen brother film with the numerous relative story paths that closely entwine with the main story. With many plot points at hand the director has done a good job of keeping them relative and interesting making them essential to the progression of the film.
Despite these positive elements ‘Summer Vacation’ does slip a little in a few minor areas, the prison as rich and interesting as it appears does not come across as real which for quite a gritty and realistic looking film distances the viewer somewhat to the events that are taking place. In addition to this what impacts the overall enjoyment of the film is that it never steps up into a higher gear, there feels like there is little threat to the main characters and the eventual outcome and there could have been a little more action sprinkled into the film. However the fresh look and lack of Hollywood glamour do this film massive favours as it stand out above prison pish like ‘The Last Castle’.
Show stealers
For some reason recently people have viewed the current career of Mel Gibson as heading down the Nicolas Cage path of starring in any film to get a quick buck which turns out to be pretty rubbish. This is just not the case as mentioned already its only his third film since 2010 and the other two are ‘Edge of Darkness’ and ‘The Beaver’, both respectable films with even more respectable performances from the leading man. When it comes to ‘Summer Vacation’ we are given a good film with a unique take on the prison genre that is funny, serious and despite not getting into fifth gear is still a very enjoyable film. It would be foolish to count out Gibson as an actor or director and I sincerely hope to see more of him in the future.

About Snooty Usher Dan

Favourite Film: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) Worst Film: The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007) Guilty Pleasure: Step Up 2: The Streets (The dancing is awesome ok.....)



  1. Pingback: TV Film Of The Week – 4th March | The Snooty Ushers - March 4, 2016

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