Harold Soyinka finds himself stuck in Mexico being chased by local drug lords and a black ops mercenary after being stabbed in the back by his friend and boss. When his only skills are being a sub-par mild mannered businessman, his survival leads to some hilarious escapades.
Gringo was the ideal light-hearted easy-watching film that we needed this week. We were between films that we were super excited for, which was nice as it lead us to this funny mid-week flick.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect other than it was supposed to be relatively funny, so when we watched it, I was pleasantly surprised. This was the first film I’d seen where David Oyelowo had a leading role and he was perfect. He was the ideal underdog and provided the best comic relief. So the story starts off with Oyelowo’s character working at a powerhouse firm that sells medical marijuana as a pill. He lives a straightforward life whereby he gets up, goes to work, goes home and spends time with his wife. His wife on the other hand, is rinsing him dry with her new business.
After being told he’s flat broke, he goes to speak with his boss, Rusk (Joel Edgerton), who simply tells him that they are all off for a business meeting in Mexico. During the meeting, Soyinka (Oyelowo) is disregarded and degraded by the bosses (Edgerton and Theron), so he is completely oblivious when the cartel are rubbed the wrong way. This is where the hilarity ensues. Not only does Soyinka find out that his bosses are stabbing him in the back, but he also tries to blackmail them in return. Needless to say, the whole exchange is side achingly funny. He is then chased by not one, but two separate organisations and is left bewildered.
The humour throughout is very dark in places but it works so well. A personal favourite is when Soyinka panics and begins to pray for his life. When questioned why, he says ‘what sort of man does not believe in a God,’ and within seconds the gentleman questioning him is hit by a car and thrown into a lake, giving Soyinka the ultimate in instant-karma.
Tldr; If you want a unique, diabolical and funny film one evening, I would recommend this film. Although funny, there is something missing that doesn’t make it stand out past the first viewing – it’s an ideal one-off feature.
For me, Gringo was not quite what I expected and can’t decide whether I’m disappointed or not. Gringo was by no means special or groundbreaking: it does however, have some moments that caught me by surprise, and in the end, has quite a pleasant, and heartwarming conclusion.
Where Gringo falls down, in my opinion, is that it doesn’t feel like it knows what its trying to be. You could place it under ‘comedy’ yet there were very few moments that actually got a laugh from me. Alternatively, you could consider Gringo to be a crime/thriller, but again, that doesn’t feel quite right to me. When there were action scenes it all felt a little weak, almost like the film wasn’t taking itself seriously, hence my somewhat confusion with how best to define it.
All in all, not a bad watch, quite entertaining at times, a little boring in others but definitely worth a watch if you’re free for the evening (and have already seen your share of Game Night, Black Panther, or Tomb Raider).