Walt Kowalski is a racist and bad-tempered old man who has recently lost his wife, is not respected by his family and lives in a neighbourhood of Asian families who want him out. His prized possesion is a '72 Gran Torino, that is not as integral to the movie as you'd expect. He defends his property from a Hmong gang one day that dared to break his garden gnomes, earning the gratitude of his neighbours, and slowly he comes to learn of their ways and customs aided by his new friend Sue and protege Thao.
Our Rating: 4/10 - usual over-hyped movie
Watchability: 1/10 - definitely not a DVD purchase
Contributed By: Jordan Taylor
- Country: Germany, USA
- Language: English | Hmong
- Runtime: 156
- Budget: $33,000,000
- Revenue: $148,095,302
- Production: Matten Productions
So, how does the movie end??
Walt is still coughing up blood so he visits the doctors, and is angry to see so many different ethnicities in the waiting room, and that his old doctor has been replaced by a young Asian doctor.
Returning from work one day, Thao is beaten up by his cousin's gang. His tools are stolen and his face is burned by a cigarette. Walt waits outside the gang's house and then confronts the fat one, beating him up and warning him to stay away from Thao.
The plan doesn't work. A day or two later the gang perform a drive-by on Thao's home. The family are largely unharmed - although Thao's neck was grazed by a round. They are frantic as Sue hasn't returned from her Aunt's house. Later she shows up - and has been badly beaten and raped.
Walt is furious. In his own home he starts to smash and punch through the cupboards in anger. The priest shows up as he heard what happened, and in an empathetic way he shares a beer with Walt. Finally they both respect each other.
Thao calls by Walt's home the next day, wanting revenge. Walt has a plan and tells Thao to return later. First he gets a new haircut, buys a tailor made suit, and attends confession at church. The priest knows something is up and waits with police officers outside the gang house.
Walt returns home, he gives Thao his medal for bravery, but then locks him in the cellar to keep him out of harm's way. Walt then delivers his dog to the care of his neighbour, and on the way to the hideout phones Sue to tell her to free her brother.
The priest and the two officers leave the scene as they haven't seen any action. Walt waits for dark then approaches the house. The bad guys appear out of every window, with the ringleaders walking out onto the front porch.
Walt does that weird thing with his fingers where he pretends to shoot them. He has a crowd of people from other houses in the neighbourhood at this point. He then reaches into his pocket and the gang open fire. He dies instantly - with a lighter in his hand.
Sue and Thao make it to the scene to watch the gang members being led away, where they will be jailed for a long time ... unless they plea bargain to get a more important gang member put away, but that's for a different movie.
As it reaches the end, first there is a funeral service for Walt. The priest is leading it, and seems a changed man - much wiser and knowledgeable of life and death than a year or so earlier.
At the reading of the will, the greedy family wait to hear what their share will be - only to hear that the house has been donated to the church, as that's what his wife would have wanted, and the Gran Torino has been entrusted to Thao, providing he doesn't add any boy-racer mods to it. It ends with Thao driving away in the Torino to enjoy life, owing everything he has and will be to Walt's brave sacrifice.