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"GRAN TORINO"
(2008) (Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Moderate Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy None Heavy *None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Heavy Moderate Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Although he initially has nothing but racial disdain toward them, a gruff Korean War veteran ends up protecting and befriending the Hmong family next door from a gang that wants to recruit their teenage boy into their fold.
PLOT:
Walt Kowalski (CLINT EASTWOOD) is a Korean War veteran whose beloved wife has just died, leaving the gruff automotive retiree in an even more cantankerous mood than before. Hating what's become of his neighborhood -- what with him being one of the last white residents left there -- and not getting along with his own grown sons, Mitch (BRIAN HALEY) and Steve (BRIAN HOWE), or his multi-pierced teen granddaughter, Ashley (DREAMA WALKER), Walt would rather just sit on the porch with his faithful dog, drinking beer and grumbling about how things have gone downhill.

The local priest, young Father Janovich (CHRISTOPHER CARLEY), is concerned about him, and checks in regularly to fulfill his promise to Walt's wife, but the racist has no patience for him. That also holds true for the next-door neighbors, a Hmong family led by the Grandma (CHEE THAO) who equally dislikes Walt. That somewhat changes, however, at least for the younger generations in the house, when Walt saves teenage milquetoast Thao (BEE VANG) from a gang run by his cousin, Spider (DOUA MOUA), who wants to recruit the boy into their fold. And their initiation rite for him is to steal the old white man's most beloved possession, his 1972 Gran Torino.

That obviously doesn't sit well with Walt who puts an end to that, and when a later gang-related dispute spills over onto his lawn, that gets him and his rifle involved. The family feels indebted to him, with Thao's sister Sue (AHNEY HER) befriending Walt and giving him the lowdown on their people and culture. The latter includes Thao having to work off his indiscretion, and Walt reluctantly agrees to let the teen help around the house and yard. By doing so, however, his icy demeanor and racism begin to thaw as he gets to know Thao and his sister. Yet, with the gang still lurking about, Walt realizes he might have to take drastic actions to protect the teen and his family.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast or perhaps are interested in a film featuring Hmong characters, they might be interested.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language throughout, and some violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • CLINT EASTWOOD plays an older, white Korean War veteran who's the resident racist in his increasingly diversified neighborhood. Recently widowed, he doesn't get along with his own kids and grandkids or neighbors, including the Hmong family next door. He ends up inadvertently befriending them, however, when he threatens to shoot some gangbangers who are after Thao. He uses all sorts of racial epithets and strong profanity, smokes, drinks and gets violent with the gang when not otherwise threatening various thugs.
  • BEE VANG plays the teen milquetoast who lives next door and is looked down on by various family members for not being a traditional Hmong male, while actively pursued by his cousin to join their gang. He tries to steal Walt's car, but only as pat of a forced initiation rite, and otherwise is pretty much a wallflower until the end, both from Walt's influence as well as in reaction to extreme developments. He uses strong profanity as encouraged by Walt and his barber friend.
  • AHNEY HER plays his more Americanized sister who confidently stands her own against both Vu's gang and Walt's racist and chilly demeanor that she helps thaw. She briefly uses strong profanity.
  • CHRISTOPHER CARLEY plays the local priest who promised Walt's late wife that he'd check in on the widower from time to time. In doing so, he realizes Walt is troubled by his past, and thus tries to get a confession out of him. He briefly drinks and uses a little bit of profanity.
  • BRIAN HALEY plays one of Walt's adult sons who tries to get along with his dad, but finds that increasingly difficult to accomplish.
  • DREAMA WALKER plays his punker daughter who similarly isn't happy to be around her cantankerous grandfather. She briefly smokes and has multiple piercings.
  • DOUA MOUA plays Thao's cousin, the leader of a gang who persistently wants to bring him into their fold and thus ends up clashing with Walt. He uses strong profanity and acts violently toward others, including attempted murder.
  • CHEE THAO plays Thao and Sue's grandmother who speaks no English and dislikes Walt as much as he does her.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 71 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue is present, as are a few briefly seen (and small) photos of scantly clad women in a girlie magazine.

    Violence consists of a person being riddled with bullets and killed, other attempted murder as well as the beating up and intimidation of others. Some of that has bloody results, while an older character coughs out some blood on several occasions.

    Some of those scenes and moments of potential violence might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers. Various characters drink and/or smoke, and some chew is also present. All sorts of bad attitudes and thematic elements are present, as is other behavior that might be enticing for kids to imitate.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that when a hanging light in Walt's garage is hit and starts swinging back and forth.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of camera movement in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Walt has beer with friends. When Father Janovich wants to talk to Walt, the latter tells the priest to order something. When he does (something non-alcoholic), Walt negates that, saying it's a bar. Accordingly, the priest orders a gin and tonic and Walt orders a beer and a shot.
  • There's an old and large metal ad for a certain brand of beer in Walt's garage.
  • Walt has a beer and we then see many empties by him.
  • A thug holds a bottle in a brown paper bag.
  • Walt has a beer and we see more empties by him.
  • When Walt turns down her invite to their barbeque, Sue tells him they have beer, so he decides to go. Later, and at that barbeque, she brings him another beer. A bit later, he has rice wine there.
  • Walt has beer.
  • Walt playfully tells Sue, "Get me another beer, dragon lady."
  • Spider drinks and drives.
  • Walt has a beer.
  • Walt has rice wine.
  • Following a gang attack on Thao's family, Walt asks Father Janovich if he wants a beer, and the equally upset priest replies he'd love one. Both then have some.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Walt coughs out some blood onto his hand.
  • Walt coughs and spits some blood into a sink.
  • Walt coughs up more blood in another scene.
  • Walt throws one of Spider's thugs to the ground, kicks, stomps, and punches him, and then holds his handgun to the punk's bloody face.
  • Spider's gang opens fire on Thao's house with machine guns, riddling the place with bullets. We don't see anyone get hit, but Thao has a bloody neck following that.
  • Sue's face is bruised and bloodied from an unseen beating at the hands of Spider and/or his gang.
  • Angry about Spider's gang beating up Sue, Walt goes home alone and punches his own cabinets, including through the glass, bloodying his knuckles.
  • A person is somewhat bloody in the moments where he's riddled by bullets and killed.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • While crossing himself in church, a boy jokingly states, "Spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch" while moving his hand in the traditional sense over his chest.
  • Ashley doesn't dress appropriately for her grandmother's funeral and uses a cell phone or PDA during that.
  • At various points in the film, Walt uses various disparaging racist remarks, both directly and indirectly toward people (some mean, some done more fondly later, as well as some toward his friends that are said in a playful fashion). Others also use similar language, with examples for all including the following: "Have some respect, zipper-head," "Ricer burner," "Jap burner," "Chinks," "Niggers," "Gooks," "Doo-wop dago," "What, are you half Jew?" "Spooks," "Home-boy," "Spades," "Poor toad," "What are all you fish-heads looking at?" "You're wrong, eggroll," "Click-clack, ding-dong and Charlie Chan," "Slopes," "Swamp rats," "Get me another beer, dragon-lady," "(You dumb) Pollock," "Nip," "Mick" and "Guinea."
  • Walt isn't nice to Father Janovich who occasionally drops by to check on the widower, and at one point refers to him as a 27-year-old virgin.
  • Various relatives and/or family friends look down on Thao washing the dishes and doing other things (such as gardening/landscaping) not considered traditionally masculine in the Hmong culture.
  • Walt doesn't like having the Hmong family next door, and when Thao drops by to ask if he can borrow jumper cables but is so shy he barely gets the words out, Walt angrily tells him, "Get the sh*t out of your mouth."
  • Thao's grandmother has a racist attitude toward Walt.
  • A gang member taunts Thao by saying he'll "f*ck you in the ass and you'll be my bitch," and he and his fellow thugs continue harassing him until Spider and his gang arrive.
  • Thao's cousin and his gang repeatedly harass the teen to join them.
  • Walt tells a racist joke to his friends.
  • Some young men harass Sue and her male friend, with her standing her ground and putting them down (verbally), but they keep up the harassment, including of the sexual kind toward her, while one thug pushes Sue's friend back against a fence. Walt then happens to drive by, stops, gets out, confronts the thugs, and refers to them as "spooks" and "spades" (they're black). About getting herself into that situation, Walt later says, "I thought you Asian girls are supposed to be smart."
  • About immigrants moving to Michigan, Walt says you think the cold would keep all the "idiots" out.
  • Walt repeatedly calls Thao "toad" rather than use his real name, but this is done in a more endearing fashion as he gets to know and helps the teen.
  • When an older woman drops her groceries, some teens won't help her, and one even does some mock pelvic thrusting behind her (she doesn't see that).
  • About being invited to their barbeque, Walt jokingly tells Sue and her family to keep their hands off his dog.
  • Rather than use a teen's real name, Walt simply refers to her as "Yum-Yum," done in his playfully ignorant, old man way.
  • Walt playfully tells Sue, "Get me another beer, dragon lady."
  • Spider and his gang confront and harass Thao, breaking his (actually Walt's) construction tools, pushing and punching him, and one burning his cheek with a lit cigarette. They later open fire on his house with machine guns, as well as beat up Sue (not seen, but we do see the aftermath).
  • Walt does confession with Father Janovich, stating that he kissed another woman at a party once (while married) and didn't report the sale of something in the past (and thus didn't pay taxes on that, equating that to stealing).
  • We hear that Walt has given Thao his old car as long as the latter doesn't put a "big gay spoiler" on the back of it.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Walt sees that someone has broken into his garage, so he grabs his rifle, and then aims it at Thao who's trying to steal his car as part of his gang initiation. Walt ends up tripping and the gun goes off, but no one is hit.
  • Spider and his gang forcibly try to take Thao with them, followed by struggling with and pushing his family members, including to the ground. When that spills onto Walt's lawn, he comes out and aims his rifle at the gangbangers, making them leave.
  • Some young men harass Sue and her male friend, with her standing her ground and putting them down (verbally), but they keep up the harassment, including of the sexual kind toward her, while one thug pushes Sue's friend back against a fence. Walt then happens to drive by, stops, gets out, confronts the thugs, and then makes the motion of pulling a gun from his jacket, but just holds his hand and fingers like a gun, pretending to shoot them (as a threat).
  • Walt's barber aims his rifle at Thao when the latter (following Walt's advice about how to act like a real man) insults the barber.
  • Spider and his gang confront and harass Thao, breaking his (actually Walt's) construction tools, pushing and punching him, and one burning his cheek with a lit cigarette.
  • Spider's gang opens fire on Thao's house with machine guns, riddling the place with bullets. We don't see anyone get hit, but Thao has a bloody neck following that.
  • Spoiler Alert: A person goes to the gang's hangout, seemingly to get revenge. They aim their various weapons at him and as he reaches into his jacket (to pull out his lighter), they open fire on him, riddling him with bullets, killing him.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • A rival gang member shows he has a handgun, while one in Spider's shows he has a machine gun, prompting the first car of thugs to drive off.
  • Walt sees that someone has broken into his garage, so he grabs his rifle, and then aims it at Thao who's trying to steal his car as part of his gang initiation. Walt ends up tripping and the gun goes off, but no one is hit.
  • Walt makes a gun gesture with his hand and fingers toward some thugs, and later toward Spider's gang.
  • Walt's barber aims his rifle at Thao when the latter (following Walt's advice about how to act like a real man) insults the barber.
  • Spider's gang opens fire on Thao's house with machine guns, riddling the place with bullets. We don't see anyone get hit, but Thao has a bloody neck following that.
  • Spoiler Alert: A person goes to the gang's hangout, seemingly to get revenge. They aim their various weapons at him and as he reaches into his jacket (to pull out his lighter), they open fire on him, riddling him with bullets, killing him.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I'll f*ck you in the ass and you'll be my bitch" (said by a male gang member to a male teen), "F*ck you, home-boy," "Get the f*ck /in the house/out of here," "F*ck him," "F*ck it," "Let's get the f*ck out of here," "F*cking p*ssy," "Nobody would f*ck with me," "Are you f*cking crazy?" "Halle-f*cking-lujah," "Shut the f*ck up," "F*ck you," "You're f*cking crazy," "Crazy m*therf*cker," "Shut your f*cking face," "F*ck me" (nonsexual), "F*cked me hard," "It's gonna get f*cking ugly," "Get the sh*t out of your mouth," "Bullsh*t," "Dip-sh*t," "What a load of sh*t," "Not that I give two sh*ts," "Sh*tty," "Shut up, p*ssy," "You're a big fat p*ssy," "You're a p*ssy," "Get a little carbon off the valves" (sexual metaphor), "They screwed me right in the ass" (ditto), "We'll let the Mick stay here and play with himself," "Shrimp d*ck," "Have some respect, zipper-head," "Ricer burner," "Jap burner," "Chinks," "Not in this lifetime, sonny," "Niggers," "Punk ass," "Bad-ass," "Hell yeah," "What the hell /do you know about../is this/am I doing here?" "Gooks," "You cheap son of a bitch," "Doo-wop dago," "What, are you half Jew?" "Tight ass," "Bitch" (male, female and used as a verb), "Ho," "Bitch is crazy," "Spooks," "Home-boy," "Spades," "Poor toad," "That old hag hates my ass," "The hell with him," "Moron," "What are all you fish-heads looking at?" "You people are nuts," "You're wrong, eggroll," "Click-clack, ding-dong and Charlie Chan," "Shut up," "Slopes," "You have no balls," "Swamp rats," "Bone-head," "Pissed," "Christ on Friday," "Get me another beer, dragon-lady," "You should date yum-yum," "(You dumb) Pollock," "Nip," "Mick," "Pisses me off," "Damn all this," "Guinea" and "It's G*ddamn awful."
  • Some kids may be enticed to repeat various racial epithets heard through the film (included above).
  • Some kids may be enticed to join a gang and/or treat others as the various gang members do here.
  • While crossing himself in church, a boy jokingly states "Spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch" while moving his hand in the traditional sense over his chest.
  • Ashley has a pierced navel (seen in her midriff-revealing top) as well as a pierced nostril.
  • Walt spits.
  • Walt spits, followed by Thao's grandmother doing the same, although hers appears to be from chew.
  • Various characters have varying amounts of tattoos.
  • Walt and his white barber exchange playful, but barbed racist jabs at each other, and then teach Thao how to do the same.
  • Walt spits.
  • When an older woman drops her groceries, some teens won't help her, and one even does some mock pelvic thrusting behind her (she doesn't see that).
  • A male teen has a dyed stripe in his hair.
  • Walt makes a gun gesture with his hand and fingers toward Spider's gang, with one of the thugs giving "the finger" back at him.
  • Spider drinks and drives.
  • Angry about Spider's gang beating up Sue, Walt goes home alone and punches his own cabinets, including through the glass, bloodying his knuckles.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None, but some songs had lyrics that we couldn't fully hear and/or understand, thus offering the possibility of them potentially containing something objectionable.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 71 "f" words (1 used sexually, 4 used with "mother"), 23 "s" words, 9 slang terms using male genitals ("d*ck" and "pr*ck"), 6 using female ones ("p*ssy"), 23 asses (1 used with "hole"), 12 hells, 8 S.O.B.s, 2 damns, 7 uses each of "G-damn" and "Jesus Christ," 5 of "Jesus," 2 each of "For Christ's sakes" and "God," and 1 use each of "Christ," "Jesus, Mary and Joseph" and "Lord Almighty."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Walt refers to Father Janovich as a 27-year-old virgin.
  • A gang member taunts Thao by saying he'll "f*ck you in the ass and you'll be my bitch," and he and his fellow thugs continue harassing him until Spider and his gang arrive.
  • Some young men harass Sue and her male friend, with her standing her ground and putting them down (verbally), but they keep up the harassment, including of the sexual kind toward her.
  • When an older woman drops her groceries, some teens won't help her, and one even does some mock pelvic thrusting behind her (she doesn't see that).
  • We see Thao shirtless as he does some house painting.
  • About a young women obviously interested in the teen, Walt tells Thao that the latter should date her to "get a little carbon off the valves."
  • Walt's barber looks through a girlie magazine that shows some scantly clad women (briefly seen).
  • Said as a metaphor and trying to talk like a real man (as dictated by Walt), Thao says (about something nonsexual), "They screwed me right in the ass."
  • About a friend of his who's just agreed to give Thao a construction job, Walt jokes that they'll let the "Mick stay here and play with himself."
  • We see Walt in a bathtub, but don't see anything explicit.
  • SMOKING
  • Walt smokes at least 8 times, while his granddaughter smokes once.
  • Walt spits, followed by Thao's grandmother doing the same, although hers appears to be from chew.
  • Walt uses some tobacco chew.
  • Spider and his gang confront and harass Thao, with one burning his cheek with a lit cigarette.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see Walt at his wife's funeral, but he does less grieving than grousing over his family (kids and grandkids) that's there. Much of that's because Walt doesn't like his family, and the feeling is mutual (played out over several scenes).
  • Thao must deal with his cousin trying to convince and later force him to join his gang (several scenes involve that).
  • We see family members at a funeral.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Racism.
  • The enticement of joining a gang being in that others won't bother you.
  • The Korean War and those who served in it.
  • Various relatives and/or family friends look down on Thao washing the dishes and doing other things (such as gardening/landscaping) not considered traditionally masculine in the Hmong culture.
  • When Walt angrily asks Father Janovich what he knows about death (referring to the former's experiences in Korea), the priest replies that Walk knows more about death than living.
  • Father Janovich thinking Walt has bottled up sin from him time and actions in wartime Korea.
  • VIOLENCE
  • From a distance, we see some of the Hmong family relatives or friends take a large blade to a live chicken's neck (to then eat it) in the backyard, but we don't see the actual impact or aftermath.
  • Spider and his gang forcibly try to take Thao with them, followed by struggling with and pushing his family members, including to the ground. When that spills onto Walt's lawn, he comes out and aims his rifle at the gangbangers, making them leave.
  • Some young men harass Sue and her male friend, with one pushing Sue's friend back against a fence.
  • Spider and his gang confront and harass Thao, breaking his (actually Walt's) construction tools, pushing and punching him, and one burning his cheek with a lit cigarette.
  • Walt throws one of Spider's thugs to the ground, kicks, stomps, and punches him, and then holds his handgun to the punk's bloody face.
  • Spider's gang opens fire on Thao's house with machine guns, riddling the place with bullets. We don't see anyone get hit, but Thao has a bloody neck following that.
  • Sue's face is bruised and bloodied from an unseen beating at the hands of Spider and/or his gang.
  • Angry about Spider's gang beating up Sue, Walt goes home alone and punches his own cabinets, including through the glass, bloodying his knuckles.
  • Spoiler Alert: A person goes to the gang's hangout, seemingly to get revenge. They aim their various weapons at him and as he reaches into his jacket (to pull out his lighter), they open fire on him, riddling him with bullets, killing him.



  • Reviewed December 2, 2008 / Posted December 19, 2008

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