Director: Clint Eastwood
Release Date: December 14, 2018
Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper are back together for the first time since American Sniper with The Mule. Another movie with an underlying theme of what it means to be a “real man.” This time, instead of sniping Iraqi children, Eastwood is running drugs to pay for college, open bars at weddings and donating the money to VFW halls to “make up for lost time.”
Eastwood plays, Earl, a 90-year-old Korean War veteran who is a drug mule for the Mexican drug cartel. Earl is a terrible family man. He has regularly skipped out on birthdays, anniversaries, graduations. You name a family event and Earl has skipped it for work. After his home was foreclosed on because he could not adapt to the way business is done online, he goes to his granddaughter’s pre-wedding party where he is clearly not welcome.
Up to this point the movie has had its few very unfunny old-man wise cracks from Clint and has showed us a little bit about how shitty a father he is, which is fine. But at this wedding party he is approached by a man who can see that Earl is broke. After talking to Earl for about two minutes (tops) the man offers him a job to smuggle drugs, which I’m not buying. The conversation is an awkward, unnatural one, where Earl seems to throw in the fact that he’s never had a speeding ticket. This gets the interest of the man and he offers Earl a job. If he worked for the Mexican cartel I’m not buying that after a two-minute conversation, this 90-year-old Republican war veteran is carelessly offered a job. We also never hear from or see this unnamed man again. Seems sloppy.
The pacing is terrible all around. It feels rushed but at the same time there’s a lot of fat that could and should have been cut out of this 120-minute film. There are unnecessary story lines, such as Earl giving the local VFW hall a large donation after a fire that we never hear about again. There’s a terribly awkward scene where good-guy Earl pulls over to help a young African-American family change a tire. He refers to the family as “Negros” and they quickly educate him on racism. I’m not sure if the scenes are trying to get us to like the unlikeable character, but if they are, it doesn’t work at all.
Threesomes. That’s plural as in more than one. There is more than one threesome in this movie. Our 90-year-old lead man has not one but TWO threesomes. A sexual encounter involving three people. That’s a spoiler but I don’t care. It’s just one of the many things I’m not buying in this movie: The 90-year-old man who looks like he’s going to drop dead at any moment being in good enough health to get it up, let alone have a threesome with girls at least 60 years younger than him. Someone should have told old man Eastwood to leave these farfetched parts out.
The character development is horrendous. There are so many different storylines that, once again, are not believable because they were never set up. There’s a random scene where Eastwood tries to have a nice fatherly talk with his direct supervisor, who is an absolute asshole to him, on how he should get out of the drug business, as if he has a soft spot for this ruthless killer. The story uncomfortably bounces around from Earl running drugs, to his family life, to the occasional scenes with Cooper and Michael Pena as DEA agents trying to track him down.
Here at worthalookmovies.com we do our best to write reviews with as few spoilers as possible but with The Mule I don’t care. This movie is worth no one’s time ever. Eastwood appears to be way past his prime as a filmmaker and actor. Save your time and money as this movie is laughably bad, filled with terribly unfunny old man racist jokes and bad performances. This is my longest review so far at 700 words, so if you’ve made it this far, good for you. Hopefully you won’t make the same mistake that I did and give this one a “look.”