Gringo – Well, Its a Movie

Rating (3 out of 5)
Rating (2.5 out of 5) – Changed 1/21/2019

Here is another movie that tries to makes themselves out be next ensemble Guy Ritchiesque film.  While this was better than others I have seen, it lacked pizzaz.

Gringo follows Harold (David Oyelowo) who is a straight laced manager at a pharamacetuicals company whose leaders Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Elaine (Charlize Theron) are both horrible people, and are only out for themselves.  The 3 of them go to a plant in Mexico, where they make a new Cannabis pill.  The local drug lord wants the formula for the Cannabis pill, and the formula is in a safe, that only Harold can open.  There are a series of adventures, as Harold understands what his bosses motives are, what his wife has been doing, and he decides if he should continue to be good hard working man or a bad man.

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What I Liked:   The main character was likeable.  The scene where Harold and Sunny (Amanda Seyfried) meet and she nurses him was a nice moment.  The discussion about what kind of person he wants to be is part of the character I enjoyed.

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I also enjoyed when Harold was making the ransom call to his headquarters to get ransom money for himself.  The two young Mexicans in the background making noise and listening as he made the call.  Then when Harold burned the cigarette into his arm to make the phone call realistic, was quite funny.

Mitch (Sharlto Copley) was an interesting character to add, as a reformed mercenary who wanted to get money to help the people in Haiti.  Mitch’s struggle whether to become a killer again or not was an interesting wrinkle.

Harold is told 3 little factoids in the movie.  Each factoid is a way of someone conveying an expectation set to Harold.  I like how they did that, and that two of the factoids involved gorillas.

What I Didn’t Like:  The bad guys were clearly bad, and the good guys were good.  If I compare this to a Snatch or similar type movie, most of the characters in Snatch had likable traits, even if they are a villain, except for the main villain.  Outside of Sunny and Harold, everyone seems to be evil, and weren’t funny, or colorful in anyway.

The two main villains, Richard and Elaine were one dimensional characters.  I am okay with them being evil, what I didn’t like was how they were evil.  While I am sure there are people like this, I believe that if it had their dark side been revealed more subtilely the characters would have been more interesting, and maybe we would have been happy with the end for Elaine.   For example, hide Richard’s horribleness a little more, until he reads the insurance agreement, then reveal what he has been planning.  Using the flashback method might have worked well as well.

While I understand why Sunny was in the movie, I thought her and her boyfriend were a weak element.  They could have replaced Sunny with a plant secretary or even used Paris Jackson’s character as a good/bad guy who provides Harold with some Zen mysticism.  The other way was to have a more concise connection with Sunny and Harold and a little less Richard and Elaine.

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This was just an adequate movie.  I believe what was really missing from this movie was the humor or whimsy of the adventure.  This was more serious, which tends to drag a movie down.

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