Following the unsurprising nosedive of his last-ditch shot at sympathy and redemption, ‘The Beaver’, it seems Mel Gibson has decided to accept his position as hate figure No 1 and, if possible, turn it to his advantage. The tale of an American crook (Gibson) who ends up in a Mexican jail, ‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’ is ugly, misanthropic and filled with racist stereotypes. It’s also superbly constructed, pithily scripted and absurdly entertaining. When Gibson’s gringo – who remains unnamed for much of the movie – is shipped off to El Pueblito, he finds a world of junkies, hookers and psychotic gangsters from which there is supposedly no escape. Pairing up with a plucky kid (Kevin Hernandez) with a dark secret, he proceeds to turn this third-world hellscape upside down. There’s no escaping the fact that this is a nasty, vicious little film – the climax is startlingly unpleasant. But with its sharp dialogue, beautifully streamlined story and fistful of surprises, the Mel haters are going to have to find another brickbat for now.