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Friday, December 14, 2018

The Mule 2018 * * * Stars

The MuleDirector: Clint Eastwood
Year: 2018
Rated R
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Dianne Wiest

Earl Stone (played by Clint Eastwood) is an expert in horticulture. He also neglects his family from time to time and revels in inept, carpool karaoke. When Earl's plant business goes sour and he finds himself almost broke and destitute, crusty Earl decides to become a drug courier with basically one phone call. That's the rub of 2018's The Mule and yup, it's my latest review.

Released in the same year as Eastwood's last film (The 15:17 to Paris), "Mule" is a step up from "Paris". That's probably because Clint decided to take his time more and craft something that doesn't feel like it was rushed into theaters. Oh and did I mention Eastwood got some real actors on board this time?

Image result for the mule 2018 movie scenesSo yeah, Clint's 90-year-old character in "Mule" gets with women who are more than half his age (it's creepy yet amusing at the same time). And yes, "Mule's" true story adaptation while unvarnished, still feels a little far-fetched. Oh well. Over the span of six decades, Eastwood's ability as a legendary trouper and director has rarely lost the ability to entertain. Sit back and go ahead. He'll probably "make your day" (ha-ha).

Produced by Eastwood (why not) and featuring his daughter Alison in a visibly underwritten role, The Mule gives Clint a lead stint that is almost perfect for him. He's like that brittle old-timer who doesn't know any better when spewing racial epithets. Remember Eastwood's Walt Kowalski from 2008's Gran Torino and his grandpa Gus from Trouble with the Curve? Well now imagine a sort of friendlier version of those personas.

Anyway, "Mule" is a streamlined, road trip flick that contains plenty of dope lingo and plenty of tattooed, gun-toting machismo. It will even make you laugh from time to time (some of the humor is actually unintentional). Eastwood's direction as always, is smooth and efficient here even if certain spots drag. Along with himself, Clint also gets good supporting work from Bradley Cooper and Michael Pena (they play DEA agents who are hot on the heels of Earl Stone).

Image result for the mule 2018 movie scenesBottom line: The Mule is strictly Eastwood's show being that every other dramatis personae is either undeveloped or void of a real backstory (that's probably because "squint" Clint is in nearly every frame). I'm still going with a recommendation though because this "Mule" despite certain flaws, has shades of being a minor "jewel". I wouldn't dare call Clint Eastwood Clint "Ego-wood". Natch. My rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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