12 May 2012 4:03 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

In his personal life Mel Gibson may still be sleeping it off in Hollywood's sin bin, but cinematically he returns here to what he does best, playing a funny, psychopathic, sharp-thinking outsider similar to Riggs the crazy cop he impersonated in the Lethal Weapon pictures. He is, however, very much on the wrong side of the law in How I Spent My Summer Vacation, a criminal loose cannon banged up in "El Pueblito". This city-sized jail of some 6,000 inhabitants, including the families of the prisoners and various hangers-on, was built outside Tijuana as an experiment in humane imprisonment and was closed down in 2002 after becoming a version of hell. The dazzling re-creation of this prison and the way Gibson's man-without-a-name manipulates it makes this variant on the spaghetti western appealing. The near incomprehensible plot involving his dealing with crooked cops and businessman on both sides of the Rio Grande is »

- Philip French

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