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CLINT EASTWOOD STARRING IN 'THE MULE' W/ BRADLEY COOPER

Year of Release and Capture: 2018
Actor/director Clint Eastwood, using very little action and suspense for a supposed crime thriller, is otherwise fun to watch as a 90-year-old makeshift and initially oblivious drug runner both underrated and untouchable like when, in one scene, a traffic cop with a sniffer dog appears out of nowhere, and another time crossing mellow paths with Clint's AMERICAN SNIPER star, Bradley Cooper...

But the DEA agent puzzled by this mysterious phantom running a myriad of successful scores could have been played by anyone, as could his partner, forced ANT-MAN comic relief Michael Pena and Laurence Fishburne as a DEA chief, sitting around within a quiet, practically vacant office building. Everything's so breezy in this Lawman B-Story it hardly matters at all. But they're at least a necessary distraction from Earl's annoying and cliché, semi-estranged family, lifted from the only contrived aspect of GRAN TORINO only this time without a house to inherit, or muscle car...

The Mule Rates: ***1/2
Just a new big black truck, and with every run, Clint's Earl makes more and more money and, like Robin Hood, gives it to the poor i.e. friends, family and himself...

All that aside, THE MULE is really about pace, belonging to the title character playing mind-games with a group as lethal as the Mexican Drug Cartel i.e. he's old and they're young so they care and he doesn't. At that, Eastwood the actor is a natural and his laidback performance, contagious. But as director, his movie lacks overall intrigue and urgency...

Then again, with the exception of a few Cartel patsies making threats (led passively by wannabe old-school gangster Andy Garcia), it's about Clint reminding us he's still around, above ground, and with just-enough charm to fill two hours. But since his Earl doesn't know or care about what's in those bags, driven from a tire shop to a cheap motel, it never really matters to the audience: THE MULE is about the drive, not the destination.
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