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The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review

The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« on: March 27, 2019, 02:39:33 PM »


Studio: Warner Brothers
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Rating: R
Film: 2.5/5
 
Plot
Earl Stone (Clint Eastwood) is a man in his 80s who is broke, alone and facing foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job that simply requires him to drive. Easy enough, but, unbeknownst to Earl, he’s just signed on as a drug courier for the cartel. He does well—so well, in fact, that his cargo increases exponentially, and Earl is assigned a handler. But he isn’t the only one keeping tabs on Earl; the mysterious new drug mule has also hit the radar of hard-charging DEA agent Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper). And even as his money problems become a thing of the past, Earl’s past mistakes start to weigh heavily on him, and it’s uncertain if he’ll have time to right those wrongs before law enforcement, or the cartel’s enforcers, catch up to him.
 
My Thoughts
I’m generally a fan of Eastwood’s film, but at 88, I’m thinking the iconic star is losing his magic touch with his films. This story is loosely based on at true story that appeared in the New York Times Magazine a few years ago (https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/magazine/the-sinaloa-cartels-90-year-old-drug-mule.html), which is quite a good read. As is usual, the story has been changed quite a bit for dramatic effect.
Where I take issue with the film is that Eastwood makes the main character much too likable in both is portrayal and how the character is written. They’re trying to say that it was essentially an honest mistake on how the man got into the drug business and he only did it order to raise money to save his home, fix up the veteran’s center, and help pay for some family expenses. Sorry, I just couldn’t buy it. This man was responsible for over a thousand kilos of cocaine to make its way onto the streets of US cities and he’s a criminal. He did it out of greed, plain and simple.
 
Editorial comments aside, the pacing is a bit glacial and repetitive although I really enjoyed the simplistic score and razor-sharp cinematography. In fact, this is a stellar 4K release in regard to the video encode. Colors pop, the image has a three-dimensional look to it, and other than the occasional murky low-light shot, it’s extremely pleasing on the eyes. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is about what you’d expect from the genre and doesn’t break any new ground in that regard.
 
Video 9.5/10 
 
Audio 10/10 (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
 
Special Features:
 
  • Making of the The Mule: Nobody Runs Forever
  • Toby Keith “Don’t Let the Old Man In” Music Video
  • Blu-ray + Digital Copy
 

 
Conclusion
Given my fondness for Eastwood, my expectations were probably too high heading into the film. While it isn’t a bad movie, it’s certainly not one of Eastwood’s finest moments and I don’t like how they crafted the main character. If you’re interested, I’d go the rental route first because I don’t think this is a film you’d watch more than once.

« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 02:41:29 PM by David Vaughn »
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

tripplej

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Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2019, 02:47:45 PM »
Thanks for the review. I do like his movies but this one, I will watch once on netflix or amazon prime. :)
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Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2019, 03:14:05 PM »
I like Clint, and I'll probably buy this, but the price needs to come way down from $29.00. I'm in at $19.99 ! 
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Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2019, 03:59:05 PM »
I like Clint, and I'll probably buy this, but the price needs to come way down from $29.00. I'm in at $19.99 !
Craig,

You'll be drooling with the video quality of the opening shot of the film. It's jaw-dropping in its detail and color as the camera does a close-up of some exotic flowers. 
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Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2019, 02:44:49 PM »
Greetings,

Here's another instance where myself and my buddy disagree (sorry Dave!). I liked this film and felt that how the main character was drawn and portrayed is what I liked best about it. Contrivances aside, I don't believe the purpose here was to mislead the audience regarding Earl's guilt or naivety. I believe the purpose was to render someone that started something for one reason and how that evolved into something that would unexpectedly change his life. For the better in some ways and not in others.

Judging by the outcome in the film he knew exactly what he was doing and was willing to deal with the consequences, come what may.

Thanks for the review Dave.. :D  

Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2019, 03:12:02 PM »
Greetings,

Here's another instance where myself and my buddy disagree (sorry Dave!). I liked this film and felt that how the main character was drawn and portrayed is what I liked best about it. Contrivances aside, I don't believe the purpose here was to mislead the audience regarding Earl's guilt or naivety. I believe the purpose was to render someone that started something for one reason and how that evolved into something that would unexpectedly change his life. For the better in some ways and not in others.

Judging by the outcome in the film he knew exactly what he was doing and was willing to deal with the consequences, come what may.

Thanks for the review Dave.. :D 
Thanks Ralph. We had four people watching it and everyone came to pretty much the same conclusion. Of the four, I liked it the best, but I'd only give it a 3/5...average. 
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Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2019, 07:21:02 PM »
I like Clint Eastwood and based on his age I don't know how many more movies he's going to do. I'll check this one out too, when the price drops!
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Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2019, 10:53:00 PM »
It's watchable, but somewhat forgettable when it's done. I still like Eastwood a lot but his last few films haven't been as good as his work in the 90's and early 2000's. 
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Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2019, 11:02:27 PM »
It's watchable, but somewhat forgettable when it's done. I still like Eastwood a lot but his last few films haven't been as good as his work in the 90's and early 2000's.
American Sniper was excellent. I re-watched it not long ago. Bradley Cooper does a great job, and the soundtrack is awesome on my system. 
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Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2019, 11:59:21 PM »
Yes...that was his last excellent film. I totally forgot he directed that! Granted, it was five years ago. Here are all of the films he has directed:

The Mule 
 2018
The 15:17 to Paris 
 2016
Sully 
 2014
American Sniper 
 2014
Jersey Boys 
 2011
J. Edgar 
 2010
Hereafter 
 2009
Invictus 
 2008
Gran Torino 
 2008
Changeling 
 2006
Letters from Iwo Jima 
 2006
Flags of our Fathers 
 2004
Million Dollar Baby 
 2003
The Blues (TV Series documentary) (1 episode) 
Piano Blues (2003)

 2003
Mystic River 
 2002
Blood Work 
 2000
Space Cowboys 
 1999
True Crime 
 1997
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil 
 1997
Absolute Power 
 1995
The Bridges of Madison County 
 1993
A Perfect World 
 1992
Unforgiven 
 1990
The Rookie 
 1990
White Hunter Black Heart 
 1988
Bird 
 1986
Heartbreak Ridge 
 1985
Amazing Stories (TV Series) (1 episode) 
Vanessa in the Garden (1985)

 1985
Pale Rider 
 1983
Sudden Impact 
 1982
Honkytonk Man 
 1982
Firefox 
 1980
Bronco Billy 
 1977
The Gauntlet 
 1976
The Outlaw Josey Wales 
 1975
The Eiger Sanction 
 1973
Breezy 
 1973
High Plains Drifter 
 1971
The Beguiled: The Storyteller (Documentary short) 
 1971
Play Misty for Me 


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Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2019, 09:00:48 AM »
I watched " The Mule " last night and I thought it was very good. But I tend to like character studies ( Hostiles, Phantom Thread etc. ) and I don't think that's your cup of tea Dave. I'll watch this a couple more times for sure. The picture on my RS4500 was absolutely amazing. Great cast too. 
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Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2019, 10:14:22 AM »
I watched " The Mule " last night and I thought it was very good. But I tend to like character studies ( Hostiles, Phantom Thread etc. ) and I don't think that's your cup of tea Dave. I'll watch this a couple more times for sure. The picture on my RS4500 was absolutely amazing. Great cast too.
Craig,

You're probably right regarding the story. Wasn't the opening scene jaw-dropping in its detail and beauty? 
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Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2019, 11:07:50 AM »
Craig,

You're probably right regarding the story. Wasn't the opening scene jaw-dropping in its detail and beauty?
It was, and some of the " road trip " scenery was stunning too. I do think Clint was perfect for the part, and the " old codger " not knowing how to text was funny. Reminds me of my father in law !:)
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Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2019, 11:13:29 AM »
It was, and some of the " road trip " scenery was stunning too. I do think Clint was perfect for the part, and the " old codger " not knowing how to text was funny. Reminds me of my father in law !:)
I liked Clint's role, but to think he didn't know what he was doing initially is a bit naive. Not a bad movie, but not Clint's best either. 
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Re: The Mule (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2019, 01:09:21 PM »
I liked Clint's role, but to think he didn't know what he was doing initially is a bit naive. Not a bad movie, but not Clint's best either.
I didn't see it that way. The way I saw the movie unfold, he knew he was doing something illegal, but needed the money and chose to turn a blind eye to exactly what he was transporting. He saw the money as a way to regain respect with friends and family. He didn't care what he was transporting once the big wads of cash rolled in. Was it weed , or guns ? The " oh crap " moment when he looked in the bag, could be a sudden realization of " oh crap - that could be a lot of prison time if I get caught ". Plus, who's to say there wasn't a bit of dementia going on at his character's age. Anyway, here are two interesting articles about the real story - 

https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2018/11/26/mule-clint-eastwood-movie-true-story-leo-sharp-earl-stone/2112779002/

http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/the-mule/

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