The film was excellent. You'll hear a lot of complaints about the acting, and they're not unwarranted. A lot of the Hmong actors were pretty bad*. That's okay though, because Clint Eastwood was ready to carry the whole damn movie on his own. As Minna said, it wasn't a film with a lot of surprises to it. You knew where it was going to go the whole time; each beat was planned out and scheduled according to the pattern of this sort of film.
And that's fine. It's okay to use a formula and cliches, especially if you do them well. For all that there were plenty of weak points in the script and the acting, it was well executed and enjoyable. The film hung together not on the strength of the plot or the drama, but the comedic moments.
And of course, the septuagenarian Eastwood as Walt Kowalski brandishing an M1 and growling, "Get off my lawn!" is reason enough to turn out for the movie. And for manycolored, there's this exchange:
(while discussing why the Hmong were relocated to the US)
Sue: Blame the Lutherans.
Walt: Everybody blames the Lutherans.
And to round out the beginning and the end of Eastwood's career, Minna and I watched A Fistful of Dollars last night. I had only seen bits and pieces, she had never seen any of it. An obvious classic, and it's worth noting that the same complaints people have about Gran Torino apply to that film as well. It's also obvious that Eastwood learned quite a bit about using the camera from Leone, although he doesn't have the same flair for the melodramatic.
*Most of the Hmong actors were locals that had never been in anything before. These people playing relocated Hmong trying to navigate American culture were actually Hmong trying to navigate American culture. There's an authenticity that can't be gotten by shipping 50 Asian actors from LA to Detroit.