John Mathews (Dwayne Johnson) receives a startling phone call from ex-wife Sylvie Collins (Melina Kanakaredes) that their son Jason (Rafi Gavron) has been arrested. After being placed in a sting operation by his “best friend” and charged for the distribution of narcotics, Jason is facing a minimum of ten years in prison.
Despite their rocky father/son relationship after John and Sylvie’s divorce, John goes to all extremes to get Jason out of prison in the hope of bettering their relationship and finally proving himself as a father.
Taking the situation into his own hands, John uses his connections through his construction business to get in contact with local US attorney Joanne Keegan (Susan Sarandon) who is using an anti-drug campaign to boost her votes to get elected to Congress. After a few meetings John finally convinces Joanne to let him go undercover, at his own risk, to arrest the sought-after drug dealers in exchange for the release of his son.
John seeks the help of ex-convict employee Daniel James (Jon Bernthal), risking not only their lives but also their families to succeed and survive in the drug cartel world.
Director Ric Roman Waugh’s emotional thriller will keep you pushing for not only the success of John’s undertakings, but for the struggling relationship between him and his son. Dwayne Johnson becomes the “good guy with a gun,” and gives a remarkably strong performance, far removed from the usual high action or light comedy of his previous films. El Mensajero is a suspenseful and pleasant surprise, with an emotional storyline that’s handled well by the excellent cast.