Wish I knew old men like Clint Eastwood.
Curmudgeonly Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood, who also directs) must confront his Hmong immigrant neighbors — and his own long-held prejudices — when the family’s teenage son, Thao (Bee Vang), tries to steal Walt’s beloved 1972 Gran Torino. Walt soon assumes the unlikely role of guardian angel to young Thao and his sister Sue (Ahney Her), both of whom are vulnerable to local gang influences.
I have seen this movie so, so many times before, that literally I can say ever single line in this film. But it’s not a bad thing, cause I have always enjoyed this film.
Clint Eastwood as a director, is kind of iffy for me. Sometimes he is truly amazing as a director, and other times he just seems sluggish, and uninspired. This film is in between. Here it all starts off very slow, with little nice spots here and there, but it never fully gets off the ground, and you start to wonder what the hell Eastwood is trying to do here. Then the second half comes in, and that really does kick in.
The screenplay is good here, with a lot of humor, in a type of Archie Bunker way, but it still works cause everyone’s got a little bit of racism within them, and who doesn’t like a good Gook joke here and there? The direction and screenplay mesh well together, and although it isn’t the greatest combination since Peanut Butter & Jelly, they still do jell (pun intended) together well.
But the main reason this film is good, is mainly because of the freakin’ man, Clint Eastwood. This mofo is about 78, but he shows here that age doesn’t matter, cause he could still kick your ass. Almost every scene he is in, is just pure hilarity, or perfection for that matter. He’s an old, cranky, son of a bitch, that doesn’t give a shit what anyone else thinks about him, and won’t back down from telling you that he doesn’t like you, and the reasons why.
The problem with this film is that Clint is probably the only good thing that this film has going for it when it comes to acting. All of the unknown Hmong actors, are all untrained, which shows sadly, and almost every scene they have is just terribly acted, and sometimes unintentionally funny. I guess Clint was trying to go for the realistic feeling and showing real people acting, but sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. This was the one time it didn’t work, and terribly I might add. Also, what about those freakin’ gang members? They were such a bunch of little girls! In all honesty I could have kicked their asses!
Consensus: This may not be his best work, but Clint Eastwood does a great job on screen, with perfect presence, and a screenplay that shows humor, but also enough heart.