"Adkins is superb as the tortured hero and has the chops to take centre stage"
Set against the backdrop of the dusty and gritty landscape of Mexico, El Gringo stars the up and coming action hero Scott Adkins, and while the plot bears a paint by numbers approach, certainly reminiscent of others in the genre - there is something fresh and engaging about this feature.
We follow the Man (Adkins), a mysterious figure never once referred to by his real name, as he crosses the American border into Mexico, bullet in his shoulder and a bag full of money. His goal is to retire to Acapulco, however he soon finds that his plan is easier said than done when he passes through the sleepy town of El Fronteras where even the simple act - such as obtaining a glass of water - is far from easy. He has until two o'clock in the afternoon to get the one bus out of town, however he soon becomes the target of gangsters, desperados and even corrupt cops. Cue thrilling gun battles, chases and precise no holds barred, hand to hand combat that'll have you on the edge of your seat.
Following his outing as the villainous support in The Expendables 2 and damaged heroism in Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, Adkins is superb as the tortured hero and has the chops to take centre stage, similarly Christian Slater provides solid support, following Bullet to the Head, he seems to be carving himself a nice little niche.
The plot has similarities to others in the action genre; one man in a small town against all manner of villains, while finding something bigger than himself to fight for, yet the fact that we don't know who he is right from the outset is a smart move by director Eduardo Rodriguez as you never quite know what his motivations (other than retiring to Acapulco) are or why he's been left with a bag of money and a bullet in the shoulder.
Through the clever use of flashbacks these questions are certainly answered succinctly, which coupled with the high octane action is enough to keep audiences guessing while being captivated at the very same time.