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Gran Torino

Quickcard Review Gran Torino

Directed by: Clint Eastwood Cast: Clint Eastwood, Sue Lor, Bee Vang Running Time: 2 hrs Rating: R

CLICK HERE to read Allen's complete Scorecard Review

Plot: Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) just lost his wife, and now the Korean war veteran is knee-deep in "old curmudgeon" mode. He helps out his Hmong neighbors and becomes a sort-of father figure as they try to escape the violence of a local gang.
Who’s It For? Eastwood fans will flock and bow down to this performance. And by the crowd's reaction to this film, I am guessing most people will think it's a comedy. Eastwood really plays up his persona to please fans here.

If you take Eastwood out of this film it's some of the worst acting I have seen all year. But that's the thing: you can't remove Walt's Eastwood from this movie, not for a second. He taps into the racist, stereotypes we all (hopefully) hate our grandparents/parents/society for holding on to. And he absolutely nails it. Now "Get off my lawn!" can be the geriatric version of "Make my day!"

The odd-reverse Karate Kid relationship with Thao (Vang) kind of works when Walt starts having him do work around the house, but man, that kid can't act. The scene where he is pounding on the basement door looks like the first time a camera was put in his face. But he's not alone, his sister, the priest, and all the gang members pale in comparison to Eastwood.

So this really is a weird mix of Eastwood creating a memorable character and tapping into his iconic persona. After all, the laughter comes because you are comfortable enough with Clint Eastwood the person to laugh at all the awful things his character says. And his scowl is better than Dana Carvey's Grumpy Old Man from Saturday Night Live. There was just no emotion in this film for me. Which makes that spoken word song by Eastwood ("Gran Torino") at the end just drastically out of place. The first 3/4 seems like it just wants some easy laughs, and then suddenly the gang is back and all hell breaks loose.

It's a well-crafted character, stuck in a bad movie, which is completely a back-handed compliment considering Eastwood produced and directed as well. Now it's time for a PBR and a cigarette ... man, Walt is influential.

Final Score: 6/10

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