Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gran Torino - 3 1/2 stars

I have to make a confession right away: I have never seen a Dirty Harry movie. But I think I know enough about the character to compare Dirty Harry to Walt Kowalski, Clint Eastwood's character in Gran Torino. Of course, just about every other critic has already made the comparison. Imagine an old, retired version of Dirty Harry. Imagine he worked on the Ford assembly line instead of being a cop.

I loved this movie. It was a lot funnier than I expected it to be. Sometimes I laughed from embarassment, like when he says to a room of Asian Americans "What are all you fish heads staring at?" I've always felt that the best kind of humor comes from characters. If a character is well developed, then he doesn't have to do much of anything to make you laugh. We know Walk Kowalski so well in this movie that all he has to do is look at the old lady next door, narrow his eyes a little, and its hilarious.

There are several scenes that show what a fearless badass he is. When the Hmong gang is fighting with the neighbors, he doesn't hesitate to pull his gun and threaten to kill them. He says "We used to stack gooks like you 5 feet high in Korea. Use you as sandbags." When he sees the black gang picking on Sue, the girl from next door, he isn't afraid to get out of his truck and say right to their faces "What the hell do you spooks think you're doing?"

I've seen this movie 3 times now, and I will probably see it again soon. Make sure you stay thru the credits so you can hear the beautiful title song.

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