Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her
Walt: Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn’t have f***ed with? That’s me.
Walt (Eastwood) has just lost his wife, doesn’t have much of a relationship with his kids and their families, and lives in a neighborhood where he is essentially the last white person living there. When he stops a local gang from taking the kid that lives next door, he inadvertatnly (and unwantingly) becomes a neighborhood hero. This propels him much deeper into this neighbors’ lives than he ever wanted to be.
This is an enjoyable movie if for no other reason than to see Eastwood growl at everybody within a five foot radius of him. It’s predictable, and not that original, but it’s directed well and even if not all the actors are very good, the neighbors are still likeable and you want to see good things happen to them.
As I said, it’s not a very original story idea. A generally angry, anti-social character just wants to be left alone, but some circumstance forces him to relate to other people, thus bringing some sort of joy/fulfillment/meaning to his life. So when you’re dealing with a story you’ve seen before, it comes down to how well it’s done.
In this case, Eastwood’s performance is good, even if it’s sometimes hard to understand his gruff, mumbly voice. As for the other actors, most of the people playing Walt’s Hmong neighbors are first time actors, and it shows at times. The line reads aren’t always good, but they are likeable actors, particularly Bee Vang and Ahney Her.
Some of the situations in the movie are a little bit contrived, but not so much that the whole thing loses credibility. There were just a few too many convenient events that propelled the different characters into Walt’s life.
While this is not a great movie, I’d say it’s worth seeing for Eastwood’s performance, a moving ending, as well as a few touching moments along the way.
10 – 2.3 for the contrived plot devices – 1 for some bad acting + .3 for Eastwood’s performance = 7.0