There was potential. That’s the best I can say. Clint Eastwood’s performance is good, but the supporting cast is so miserable they completely suck the soul out of the film.
Clint Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a retired auto-worker and Korean War veteran. He’s old school, racist and bitter—we know this because throughout the entire movie his disapproving growls are dubbed on top of every grimace. After the death of his wife, Kowalski is forced to deal with his racially diverse neighborhood, which apparently he never noticed in any significant way before the events of the movie despite living there his entire life. The highlights of the film are his parades of racial epithets directed at friends and neighbors. It’s sad to say, but yes, that’s the best this movie has to offer.
Besides the name-calling, the rest of the film builds a ridiculous gang and race driven conflict, with Kowalski in the center and a bunch of partially-motivated stereotypes bouncing around the periphery.
Don’t be fooled by the trailers—this is not a good movie—if you’re really interested in this wait until it’s a rental. The star performance here is probably the 1972 Gran Torino, and heck, you barely even get to see it run.