'El Gringo' Review By John M

Pure Action Fun
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
After Dark Films was founded back in I believe 2006, and its main focus was on horror, and created its own annual horror film festival. From what I hear the company became quite popular with horror fans. To be honest I haven't seen any of their horror films. Anyway after their early successes After Dark decided to branch out with the help of Lionsgate and SCFY it created After Dark Originals and After Dark Action, which brings us to El Gringo. One of its slew of action films it made that came out this year that include Dragon Eyes, Philly Kid, Stash House and Transit, but El Gringo was the only one that caught my attention after seeing the trailer. The trailer looked like a fun and entertaining low budget action film. I've never been afraid of direct to video or now DVD films, and many times they're better than many of the films released in the theater and El Gringo is one of those films.

El Gringo follows the adventure of a DEA agent only known as Gringo/The Man (Scott Adkins). You never get his real name and it works. The story isn't complicated as Gringo as he pulls up on a desert road and pops the truck and we found a wounded man bound in his truck. He asks the man where the nearest town is, and then blows up the car with the man in it carrying a bag full of money. Gringo heads into Mexico and finds his way to El Fronteras which is controlled by a local drug cartel who don't like tourists in their town and all the Gringo wants is to get out of the town. Things get complicated when his boss Lieutenant West (Christian Slater) comes looking for his missing DEA agents. Like I said the story is really simple and easy to follow, but also a good story that is entertaining mixing humor, with the drama and loads of action.

With the tiny budget of around seven million dollars and simple plot there aren't a lot of actors in the film and I'm sure the only one viewers will recognize is Christian Slater. Slater has found a way to keep his acting career going in direct to DVD films, and he does really well in them. He does a good job in his role as West. Is he a great actor no, but he is a good one who I think deserves more mainstream work. He'll get that in Stallone's 2013 Bullet to the Head. The star of El Gringo is Scott Adkins someone you've probably seen a lot but didn't know it. He's a martial arts expert and has worked with the Hong Kong directors like Yuen Wo Ping, Jackie Chan and Cory Yuen. He's also found work in England with their soaps. He played the masked Deadpool in Wolverine and working with actions stars like Jason Statham, Jet Li and Jean-Claude Van Damme. You can see why he's perfect to star in an action film, but I believe this was his first staring film role, and he does a great job perfectly blending his humor and serious lines. He's also charismatic and has a presence. To be honest I think he's a better actor then Jason Statham and from this film I'd say he's equal to or a better action star. Hopefully Scott will get more roles in future action films. With the small cast there aren't too many more people to talk about. There is the beautiful Yvette Yates as Anna. She does a good job as the bar owner who decides to help Gringo. She's a pretty good actress, but she truly is a beautiful woman.

Of course what is the highlight of El Gringo is the action. I know what you might be thinking how good could the action be with just a seven million dollar budget, but I think to now a day's film makers rely too much on CGI and special effects, and sometimes can look really fake. El Gringo doesn't have that benefit with its budget, and the director Eduardo Rodriguez. The action is gritty and close has realism to as the gun battles go on in the small town. There is realism to the film to as the many of the extra's performed their own stunts, and of course there is Scott Adkins the martial arts expert who does a superb job showing off his abilities.

After Dark Films did a great job with El Gringo which is a great pure action film with a simple yet decent story along with great action that is better than many of the films I've seen that are released in theaters, and hopefully a birth of an action star in Scott Adkins. I know some people might be hesitant with this direct to DVD film with a very small budget and very few known actors, but give it a chance. You don't want to miss out on a great pure action film.

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Comments (12)

  1. Kevin v Duuglas-Ittu

    ...forgot to put the Adkins title in: Undisputed 3: Redemption, sequel to Undisputed 2. He was in both, but was the star of 3.

    2 years agoby @Kevin-v-Duuglas-IttuFlag

  2. Kevin v Duuglas-Ittu

    Re: "You can see why he's perfect to star in an action film, but I believe this was his first staring film role"

    It was easy to miss because it is something of a cult film, but Adkins actually was the lead in one of the best B grade action Martial Arts films ever. His character "Boyka" - a Russian prison fighter reprised from the villain role in Undisputed 2, is as memorable a martial arts hero as there might have ever been. A movie not to be missed: You can see the trailer here: www [dot] youtube [dot] com [slash] watch?v=5tTduaZZI-s or just search for it - The biggest surprise is perhaps that he did not become a star after this 2010 instant classic.

    2 years agoby @Kevin-v-Duuglas-IttuFlag

  3. The Cryptkeeper: Resurrected

    @skywise There are actually 2 Blockbuster's around me, surprisingly. There's one about a 5-10 minute walk, or under a minute drive from my dad's residence. Then another about the same distance at my mom's house! Somewhat surprising. But I know the further away Blockbusters went out of business. Ones that were a 10 minute or so drive.

    2 years agoby @cryptFlag

  4. skywise

    @john-m I also used to work at Hollywood. Your right that the buisness model was changing for the industry. But I think netflix was the real killer since it appeared 1997. Along with all those other things you mentioned. Your point is well taken.

    2 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  5. John M

    @skywise: Just so you know out I was wrong at least here in Portland. Blockbuster doesn't have a deal with Safeway. They have a deal with Rite Aid and is in only 3 location, which is good a good business decision. If they want to compete with the likes of Redbox and Netflix they need to put the video stands in major retail and grocery outlets like Redbox does out here with Fred Meyer, 7-Eleven and Mcdonalds. Those three chains get major business, which means more rentals and money for Redbox. Hollywood Video and Blockbuster were way behind in the times causing Hollywood to go under and Blockbuster has been slow to adapt. I don't see them lasting another five years unless they get their video stands in more locations and actually tries to compete with Redbox. If you want to find one the best bet is go online to their site and do a location search by your zip code. That's what I did.

    As for Blockbuster I always preferred Hollywood. They had more titles, better prices and your could rent films for longer. I was sad to see my local one be shut down in 2008 if I remember correctly. It was just eight blocks from my apartment.

    Video stores didn't go under because of the economy. They going under because of the way we watch films and convince of box video stores. We download more films for free now. Then there is Netflix and lastly is Redbox. Redbox is way more convenient for people who don't have cars or are just stopping by a 7-Eleven, McDonalds or Fred Meyer. You can rent films and do your shopping plus films are cheaper then they were at Hollywood and Blockbuster starting out at just $1 and now just $1.50. If you return it in one day that's a great deal. That's what's killed Hollywood and is killing Blockbuster along with them not being able to catch up with the time and not the economy.

    2 years agoby @john-mFlag

  6. skywise

    @john-m I hate losing the big retail movie rentals chains because you can go to redbox but the choices are so limited. You are much less likely to see foregin movies or independent films whereas Blockbuster had all those. Sometimes I would just browse while working there and see movies that grabbed my attention and were often good that were not wide release movies.

    I know we have netflix and all but I miss going to a location and browsing.

    If it IS safeway, we dont have that in Houston anymore and I have never seen a BB "redbox" vender anywhere.

    Because of my history with the company i would love to see that happen in my area.

    It was strange because before i left for Afghanistan this last time, the economy was in great shape and all was well. However....sometime during that year it all went to sh*t and upon returning to the states soooo much had changed. So many long running buisnesses had gone under and the rental industy was in shambles.

    Odd what a single year can do to an economy.

    2 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  7. John M

    @skywise: Thank you I'm glad you liked my review, and El Gringo is a great pure action film. Kind of like a shout out to the simple yet entertaining action films of the 1970's.

    Now as for Blockbuster. It's not out of business. It's still hanging on with stores I think now only in the big markets. I believe now they have machines like Redbox and have a deal with Safeway to have them put them in their stores. It may not be Safeway, but I know they have agreements with some big stores like Redbox has deals with 7-Eleven and out here in Portland, Or a deal with Fred Meyer. I'm sure all Blockbuster stores will be out of business in a few years as it switches to the Redbox type of store and I think that will then be the death of the large movie rental companies, but there will always be small mom and pop video rental places out there.

    2 years agoby @john-mFlag

  8. skywise

    @john-m Great review. I was very curious about this movie. I love the indie style films...that are gpood. Like Drive for instance and I knew nothing about that movie going in and was pleasently surprised. I have heard very litle about this film as well so looking forward to checking it out.

    @crypt I thought Blockbuster went out of buisness as far as retail stores go...or are you talking about their new method of delivering movies? Here in Houston every single BB has been closed which makes me a litle sad since I was an assistant MGR for several years.

    2 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  9. The Cryptkeeper: Resurrected

    @john-m Oh, ok. I don't have On Demand right now. And I don't know how to (or like to) do the downloading thing, so I'll wait for Blockbuster to get it in. Shouldn't be too long, if it's On Demand.

    2 years agoby @cryptFlag

  10. John M

    @crypt: Thank you glad you liked the review. As far as I know it's not out on DVD. I watch by the illegal route downloading it for free, and I think that's the best way right now unless have video on demand, which I believe it's available.

    2 years agoby @john-mFlag

  11. The Cryptkeeper: Resurrected

    @john-m Great review; I think I might try to find this one somewhere to view, it sounds good.

    As you might have guessed, I have seen every AfterDark Horrorfest film, in all 4 years it has. Overall, I'd say its a great little series the company has going.

    Anyhow, great review man.

    2 years agoby @cryptFlag