September 22, 2021
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When exposition and backstory weigh down an opening scene it’s tough for a film to get off the ground. That’s the burden screenwriter Nick Schenk (Gran Torino) and novelist N. Richard Nash’s dated, over-written script gives this road trip movie. Dead weight. In 1979, Mike Milo (Clint Eastwood), an older, washed-up ex-rodeo cowboy, is sent to Mexico to retrieve a 13-year-old biracial rebellious Mexican kid Rafa (Eduardo Minett). He’s tasked with delivering the tween to his dad (Dwight Yoakam) in the States. Opportunities for cross-cultural humor and consciousness raising are apparent, but never utilized in a way that is refreshing or profound. Astute audiences may anticipate the kid helping the senior citizen regain his youth and usefulness, and the surrogate elder patriarch bringing stability to the juvenile’s unstable life. That happens, but in the most blatant and deliberate ways. It’s way too obvious.