Nothing’s gonna give

Walt Kowalski is a disgruntled Korean War veteran and recent widower. With little to do but sit on his front porch with his dog Daisy, Kowalski fills his day drinking PBR, spitting out racist remarks about the downfall of his neighborhood and reveling in the days when hard work and discipline made a man, a Man.But when he discovers that his next-door neighbor, a Hmong (southeastern Asian) teenager, is being pushed around by a gang, Kowalski interrupts his daily routine to give them something to cry about. Kowalski finds himself getting much closer to the gang life than he ever anticipated. The tone of their introduction is set when Kowalski points his .22 rifle at the pack leader’s face. The best part: the patented Eastwood growl, “Get off my lawn.” His neighbors instantly crown him as a hero and whether he likes it or not, Kowalski gets to know them well. As he learns about Hmong culture and the two teens, he finds that the introverted Thao (Bee Vang) and the show-no-fear, outspoken Sue (Ahney Her) are respectful kids, deserving of his affections unlike his own children and grandchildren.It may be the Hollywood resolution we expected, but the frame of violence, anger, and discrimination calls for this degree of redress. The story is a commentary on an older generation that thinks little of racism, meanwhile holding respect and hard work as high ideals. The screenplay, written by newcomer Nick Schenk, is full of racial slurs and street slang about every ethnic group, making it as potent as Mathieu Kassovitz’s breakthrough “La Haine” (2005), which depicts the extensive racism toward Muslim youths living in the suburbs of Paris.At the ripe age of 78, Clint Eastwood can still deliver a line with the anger and intimidation of a growling, 200-pound rottweiler. From Dirty Harry to Walt Kowalski, Eastwood has never lost his attitude. At this point, it’s safe to say he never will.