How I Spent My Summer Vacation (15)

Adrian Grunberg, 96mins. Starring: Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare

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The Independent Culture

Mel Gibson, taking time out from a busy schedule of arrests, court appearances and voicemail rants, rolls back the years to play one of his nutty antiheroes in this violent down-Mexico-way thriller.

As a nameless getaway driver, Gibson crashes through the border wall and into a Mexican prison that's more like a chaotic shanty town – or, as he calls it, "the world's shittiest mall". Living on his wits, he befriends a young waif (Kevin Hernandez) and his mother only to land himself in a plot involving forced organ transplants, gang warfare and stolen booty from his last bank job.

Though directed by Adrian Grunberg, the film tracks the bloody footsteps of Gibson's recent work (The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto) in its obsession with brutal torture scenes – there's even one featured on Skype, for that homely feel.

With nods to Bill Murray and Clint Eastwood the mood is less baleful than it sounds, but the plot makes so little sense and Gibson's veneer of charm feels so brittle that your only concern is how soon this particular vacation will be over.