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Film Review by Kam Williams


Naive Nerd Abandoned by Boss in Mexico in Madcap Action Comedy

Nerdy Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) is a loyal employee at Promethium Pharmaceuticals who has been patiently waiting for his chance to share in the success from its lucrative sales of medical marijuana in pill form. Unfortunately, the naive Nigerian immigrant is unaware that the Chicago-based company’s CEO, Richard Rusk (Joel Edgerton), has no intention of ever giving him a cut in the profits.

Instead, Richard just fills his head with promises of a lavish lifestyle like he’s seen on rap videos. Furthermore, Harold also has no idea that his backstabbing boss is having an affair with his wife, Bonnie (Thandie Newton). Further complicating matters is the fact that Richard is in a committed relationship with his business partner, Elaine (Charlize Theron).

The plot thickens when Harold has to fly with them to Mexico to supposedly set up a factory. Truth be told, the real purpose of the trip is to break off relations with a powerful drug cartel run by the ruthless Juan Miguel Villegas (Carlos Corona).

You see, Richard wants to go legit and stop selling pills on the black market. Of course, Villegas is unhappy with this development, so it isn’t long before all hell breaks loose. When the dust settles, Richard and Elaine make a break for the States while we find Harold calling company headquarters to say he’s been kidnapped and being held for a $5 million ransom.

Thus unfolds Gringo a madcap action comedy directed by Nash Edgerton. Nash assembled an impressive cast which included his brother, Joel, Oscar-winner Charlize Theron (for Monster), David Oyelowo, Thandie Newton, Sharlto Copley, Amanda Seyfried, Alan Ruck (Cameron in Ferris Bueller) and Paris Jackson (Michael’s daughter).

Regrettably, the film’s intriguing premise gives way to an overplotted adventure with far too many characters and sidebars. Are we supposed to care about the young couple (Seyfried and Harry Treadaway) who cross Harold’s path south of the border? How about Richard’s brother, Mitch (Copley) a former soldier of fortune coaxed out of retirement to search for Harold?

There’s never a dull moment, though never a deep one either, for the duration of this hyperbolic homage to incessant overstimulation.

Very Good (2.5 stars)

Rated R for sexuality, violence and pervasive profanity

In English, Spanish and French with subtitles

Running time: 110 minutes

Production Studios: Picrow / Denver and Delilah Productions/ Blue-Tongue Films

Distributor: Amazon Studios / STX Entertainment


To see a trailer for Gringo, visit:

About Kam Williams 155 Articles
Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications around the world. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, the African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee and Rotten Tomatoes. In addition to a BA in Black Studies from Cornell, he has an MA in English from Brown, an MBA from The Wharton School, and a JD from Boston University.

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