How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Undated Film Still Handout from How I Spent My Summer Vacation. Pictured: Mel Gibson (Driver) and Kevin Hernandez (Kid). See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Lionsgate. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.
Undated Film Still Handout from How I Spent My Summer Vacation. Pictured: Mel Gibson (Driver) and Kevin Hernandez (Kid). See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Lionsgate. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (15 – Dir: Adrian Grunberg – Stars: Mel Gibson, Kevin Hernandez, Delores Here

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Gibson is a Gringo on the run from US police after stealing a couple of million dollars from a San Diego gangster. He catapults his car over the Mexican border only to land inside the notorious prison cum slum city of El Puebilito. That’s when his troubles really start.

It’s a hellish mix of corruption, violence and human degradation, but far from sinking into the cesspit this Gringo shows he’s a match for any of the many nasties in there. To maintain his sanity he forms an unlikely friendship with a threatened lad and his mum.

Summer Vacation sees Gibson back on form as the gritty survivor with the plan to bring the whole stinking edifice crashing down.

8/10

Casino Jack (15 - Dir: George Hickenlooper - Stars: Kevin Spacey, Barry Pepper)

Jack Abromoff was a top Washington lobbyist brought down when his rampant deal making contravened even the scarcely applied anti-lobbying legislation meant to prevent the selling of influence in the US political capital.

By then he’d cheated several Indians tribes out of millions of dollars and fallen foul of various insider trading laws.

Spacey is perfect as the slick, hardnosed but charismatic fixer. What lets the otherwise entertaining film down is a sense of anti-climax in that Abromoff now seems like a minor league player compared with some of the billion dollar fraudsters who emerged later.

7/10

Elevator (15 – Dir: Stig Svendsen – Stars: Christopher Backus, Anita Briem, John Getz)

Hollywood’s fixation with elevators continues. It must be something to do with the limited overheads.

This one is on Wall Street and bills itself as “what Devil should have been,” a reference to the strange M Night Shyamalan film when Old Nic himself (just in case you haven’t seen it) turns out to be trapped mid-ride.

Elevator’s baddy is an investment banker, which may amount to the same thing. The plot has corporate greed and racism in an oddly humorous mix swirling around an act of revenge.

6/10