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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 while crossing paths with Clint's AMERICAN SNIPER star, Bradley Cooper...

But Cooper's mellow DEA agent... puzzled by this mystery driver's successful operation... could have been played by anyone... Same with his partner, ANT-MAN comic relief Michael Pena... Both led by Laurence Fishburne as their passive chief, sitting around within a quiet, practically vacant office building. Everything's so breezy in this lawmen's b-story, not much really matters. But the cops are a necessary distraction from Earl's annoying and cliché, semi-estranged, constantly whining family similar to (the far superior) GRAN TORINO, only 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 cash and, like Robin Hood, gives to the poor i.e. friends and family...

All that aside, THE MULE is really about the pace of 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. In that, Eastwood the actor's a natural while his laidback performance is contagious. But as director the movie lacks intrigue and urgency...

Then again, with the exception of a few Cartel patsies making threats (after affable gangster Andy Garcia places reluctant climber/scene-stealer Ignacio Serricchio to unsuccessfully babysit), it's about Clint reminding us he's still around, above ground, and with just-enough charm to fill two hours. But since his loosely-based-on-truth Earl (who was not so naïve to the gig or brave during the arrest) doesn't really care about what's in those bags, it's never that important to the audience: Thus THE MULE is about the drive, not the destination.
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