You have to give it up for movie where people cheer when the projector gets jammed and the fucker gets burned…South African critics, you gotta love ‘em.
How I spent my Summer Vacation, also known as Get the Gringo (guessing that outside of the US, they like to make the alternative titles as irrelevant to the plot as possible), has Mel Gibson returning to his action routes. The “Driver” – an accomplished thief – gets thrown in prison after he crosses the Mexican border. Nobody escapes from this jail, but this gringo must do so and reclaim the stolen money that was confiscated from him.
Summer Vacation’s chief area of shittyness is how completely forgettable the characters are – the filmmakers attempt to build an air of mystery around all the cast, too bad all the characters lack any and all depth. The main character is worst of the lot and like the proverbial bad apple, he just spoils the bunch. Adrian Grunberg spends an entire movie trying to convince the audience that there is some payoff for withdrawing key historical elements behind the Gringo, but by the end of the film, I was so completely frustrated that when the punchline hit, it was more like stepping in a turd and attempting to scrub it off in vein – the odour lingers, and everyone suffers.
The last good films I can recall Gibson in were the Mad Max series (yes crucify me, I’m not the biggest fan of Braveheart) – his character in Mad Max was genuinely a mystery, and I didn’t care because he was a character archetype and if they wanted to let loose on some of his history, I would welcome it, necessary or not. Summer Vacation is a dull action movie that thinks itself to be clever and stylish, but it isn’t and never provides any evidence to the contrary. Why should I care about this movie, when it’s obvious that they didn’t give a damn about it at all.
If ever there were one image that could describe this movie, this is it.
I guess action junkies or Mel Gibson devotees, don’t expect to be wowed by it though – it scrapes the bare minimum of the cinematic medium and barely manages to get away with it.
The Bottom Line
How I spent my Summer Vacation is a brainless action movie that tries to be smart – the smart thing would be to develop interesting characters around a jail break plot that isn’t sleep inducing in its lack of creativity. This could have been more, it’s nice to see Gibson back in the saddle, but considering that he wrote this excrement, it proves that he just couldn’t give a damn about providing a good challenge for his dwindling talent.