3 StarsThe El Gringo of the title stumbles into the hellish Mexican town of El Fronteras with a satchel full of money. The un-named stranger arrives in search of water, lodging and the soonest bus to Acapulco. None of the townsfolk are willing to help the white man for fear of repercussions from the crooked sheriff and his outlaw gang, that runs around committing crimes while wearing skeleton face paint. Not sure how practical that make-up is everyday in the desert heat, I digress. The Gringo (Scott Adkins) finds a sultry bartender willing to offer a room for the night if this mystery guest promises to pay upfront and be gone the following day.
As the narrative unfolds there is a few flashback sequences that explain the back story of how the Gringo came to be stranded in this predicament with $2,000,000.00 dollars. The neat screenplay by Jonathan W. Stokes is a tidy bit of storytelling with not a scene wasted or a cliché missed. Perhaps the best attribute El Gringo has is the fantastic casting choices made by director Eduardo Rodriguez (Stash House). Rising screen idol and martial arts sensation Scott Adkins is a worthy successor to the Van Damme/Seagal mantel and Christian Slater seems to be having a blast in a supporting role as a turncoat DEA agent.
El Gringo is another in the string of films realised by After Dark Films, a subdivision of genre pictures spearheaded by onetime uber-producer Joel Silver. While obviously conceived and delivered on a tight budget, this modest modern-day action-western is a better than average throwback to the grindhouse days by influence of Robert Rodriguez and Sergio Leone. The direction is spot-on for the material and an extended shootout at the mid-point is choreographed and executed as fluidly as anything in the higher profile Bourne pictures. This should be the flick that gets Adkins the attention he deserves from genre fans, now he just needs that big screen break for worldwide exposure, this guy is going to be a big star.
Director: Eduardo Rodriguez
Stars: Scott Adkins, Christian Slater, Yvette Yates