It’s difficult to watch any new Mel Gibson film without thinking about his very chequered recent past and with the release of his last film, The Beaver, it would appear that most people chose not to watch it all. However, with the release of his latest attempt to get back into the big time, How I Spent My Summer Vacation, regardless of what you may think of Gibson, it is still apparent that there are few actors in the world today who can carry a film as well as him.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation utilises Gibson’s charms as both an action star and a knowing, mischievous screen presence. It won’t win any prizes for originality but it’s a lean, efficient thriller that like the recent Safe, doesn’t over-reach. The majority of the film takes place in a Mexican jail where it seems that absolutely anything goes and Gibson, who’s sent inside for stealing a considerable amount of money, wastes little time in manipulating the many unsavoury inmates to his whims. The lean, nasty plot has shades of an Elmore Leonard novel as Gibson plays different groups off each other in an attempt to gain his freedom.