by Jeff Niesel
It would be a shame if Clint Eastwood’s terrific performance as Walt Kowalski in Gran Torino is the last time he acts, as he’s said it’ll be. Eastwood channels his Dirty Harry /bad-ass cowboy past into the character of Walt, making him sneer racist remarks to the African-Americans and Asian-Americans who have moved into his Detroit neighborhood. As much as he's filled with resentment about the way his neighborhood has gone downhilll, Walt ends up bonding with his Asian neighbors, though he never drops the racisit remarks. Walt's a complicated guy, something Eastwood recognizes as he gives the character so much depth, you start to suspect he's not as rough as his exterior would suggest. While the movie itself has its flaws (the supporting actors aren’t particularly good and the film’s end is overly melodramatic), it’s worth seeing just because Eastwood is so great. Extras on the DVD, which just came out today, aren’t particularly revealing, however. One featurette is devoted to the history of the Gran Torino, the muscle car from which the film takes its title. It’s obvious, made-for-TV stuff and offers simplistic statements such as "cars are an extension of our personality." It would have been better to get a behind-the-scenes look at the film and hear more from Eastwood, who's only interviewed briefly in the two short features included as part of the extras.