Cry Macho – Film Review

The other day I read somewhere that Clint Eastwood wants to be still making movies when he reaches his 100th birthday. Well right now he is 91 years old and shows no signs of stopping. His latest movie – in which he stars and directs – is called Cry Macho.

Eastwood has starred in and directed quite a few movies over the years. It’s easy to forget that making movies is nothing new for Clint. He made his directorial debut way back in 1971 with Play Misty For Me (which he also starred in).

It’s fair to say that this latest film is not too dissimilar from the last two movies where he played both director and leading actor. Namely: The Mule (2018) and Gran Torino (2008). In both of those movies Eastwood played the old man looking out for an adolescent about to become a man. And yes, let’s say it: The kids are all of another ethnic background. Not a problem, but definitely a theme in these ‘old man helps teenager become a man’ movies he has made.

Cry Macho Plot

Eastwood plays a former rodeo champion, Mike Milo, who was forced to quit the sport through serious back injury. That of course was many years ago. Mike is approached by his former boss Howard Polk (played by Dwight Yoakam) who asks Mike to bring his son back from Mexico. The teenage son, “Rafo” (Rafael) Polk (played by Eduardo Minett) lives in Mexico City with his mother Leta. Is it kidnapping or a rescue? It’s a fair question.

Leta tells Mike that Rafo has gotten into a life of crime and is part of an illegal cockfighting circuit. Rafo’s fighting rooster happens to be called “Macho”. Yeah, I know. It’s a bit much eh?

Leta tells Mike that her son is not going to leave Mexico and Mike heads off, alone, back to the United States. Meanwhile Rafo has sneaked into Mike’s truck and when the two face off the youngster tells the old man that he wants to go to his father. Mike agrees to take him to the border but when Leta finds out she is not happy (although mostly drunk).

Naturally – and this is hardly a spoiler alert – two things happen:
1. The Mexican mother’s henchmen come after Mike and Rafo and make for a dangerous journey north. And…
2. The old man and the teenager form a bond along the journey back to the USA. The two swap stories about their lives and Mike tries to teach Rafo the meaning of being “macho”.

Along the way the runaway pair have to detour off the main road as the Federal Police are checking cars. They end up in some small (unnamed) town where they meet Marta (played by Natalia Traven) who they befriend. And what do you know? They fit right in. Mike ends up breaking wild horses for a local horse trader and he also trains Rafo to ride. Meanwhile Marta and Mike hit it off.

I am not going to add any more as that really would be a spoiler. It’s hardly a classic chase movie. Will they make it? Won’t they make it?  Let’s just say they either do or they don’t…

Critique

I suppose The Mule was an OK film. This movie is too. But just OK. It is really hard to watch Clint in movies now but you still feel that you have to. It’s mostly because of who he is and what he has achieved; less so about how old he is now. If you are a film buff or a Clint Eastwood fan (or indeed both) you are drawn to this movie and probably any more he will make on his quest of being a centenarian film-maker. But sadly it is not easy to watch him these days.

This movie does just enough to keep you interested. Eastwood too does just enough acting to make it passable. But it is clunky, awkward and at best it is corny. The plot certainly isn’t the greatest and there are no twists and turns to speak of. Overall it is fairly average and it is quite difficult watching Eastwood struggle with it all at his advanced age.

The movie is rated M (which means it is for “mature” audiences and not really recommended for those under 15 years of age). In reality I think my 8 year old son might have enjoyed this film more than I did.

I want to give it 1, but I am going to give it 2 out of 5 (**). Not just because it’s Clint. But mainly for that reason. And let’s hope he is still making movies in nine years time. Hopefully better than this one though.

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