Stars: 2.5 Star Power: 3
Grade: C- Performance: 2
Genre: Drama Release: 2008
Gran Torino marks the end to a four year acting hiatus for star Clint Eastwood. The film follows Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) in a coming-of-old-age drama set in an ethnically evolving mid-Western neighborhood. Playing a jaded Korean war vet that makes no hesitation in voicing his bigoted sentiments, Eastwood delivers a lackluster dose of one man's battle to preserve his own personal traditionalism while making feeble attempts at resisting the eminent change in the world around him. Fifty years of hardened racism is remedied when a young Asian boy, Thao Vang Lor (Bee Vang) fails at an attempt to steal Walt's 1974 Gran Torino, but ultimately succeeds at stealing his heart. Serving as a better mentor for Thao then his own children, Walt quickly finds that some fights can not be won by fighting alone.
I commend Eastwood, also the director of the film, on his expertise in delivering a myriad of racial slurs and insults in a semi-believable manner. Unfortunately the originality and appeal ends there. The tension building dialogue in the beginning is quickly over shadowed by dull rising action devoid of action and acting. This all leads to an anti-climactic and predictable ending that was the kind of let down that made me question the $1 rental fee. This combined with a poor casting, an out of touch representation of the youth population and an overall lack of delivery on all fronts results in a passable film at best. Just when you thought you were done being disappointed, the audience is forced to listen to Eastwood butcher a serenade of his Gran Torino as the end credits roll.