MovieChat Forums > The MuleĀ (2018) Discussion > Question... think I missed something...

Question... think I missed something...

Towards the end, when he's finished with the funeral and he's on the road again. He gets picked up by the cartel thugs who have been trolling the highways looking for him. They get the order to kill him.

Next time we see him his face is beaten up, he's on the road again and then arrested.

We learn he's being charged with the murder of the two cartel members. At this point I kinda went: "Wut?! How did he pull that off?"

We don't see it, and I can't picture a 90-year-old guy getting the drop on the two who were about to execute him.

Did I miss something? I'm surprised that there is nothing about that here on this board.


He did say he had seen combat (Korea). He also had enough marbles left to know that he would be probably be killed after choosing to attend the funeral, so he was probably packing (small of the back would be my guess). Then he just played the 'old feeble man' like he did in other parts of the movie so they would underestimate him and at the right moment pulled the gun. At 90 people don't see you as a threat. Killing two people quickly at close range is taught in the military.


"At 90 people don't see you as a threat."

For a good reason. You aren't.

His bloody face suggested some sort of physical fight and it's highly unlikely -- REALLY REALLY UNLIKELY -- he would have won that against two younger, faster, stronger opponents.

We also saw the one gangster talking to the boss on his cell. The boss tells him to get on with it. It's likely the gangster would have shrugged, walked up to him and shot him immediately.

However, I can't really argue with you... we didn't see the murders, but it's clearly in the script.

I just found this part of the movie beyond my point of 'willing suspension of disbelief'. It's almost in the category of deus ex machina... an unexplained, highly improbable event that exists solely to move the story forward. Had they hinted or suggested that he had a gun and or retained some CQB skills from the Korean War (IIRC which was 70 years ago!!!), I might have given it a pass.

I'm surprised it hasn't gotten more attention.


I have had such training. Trust me, it lasts. Training is repeated over and over so it goes into 'muscle memory', so when your life if threatened, you don't even have to consciously think about just do it.

The gangster, seemed to disagree with his boss on the phone, arguing that attending to his wife's funeral was a solid excuse. This would cause a sense of empathy from the gangster, and despite being a tough guy, he is not a robot, but human. Empathy causes hesitation. Hesitation in combat is a bad thing.

We don't know how the conflict went down...You seem to envision that the gangster got off the phone drew his gun and shot a 90 year old man in broad daylight like 'The Terminator'. More likely is that they tried to knock him unconscious to be carried to a nearby van or car. The old man played possum and quickly dispatched the two as they approached to pick him up.

I also think it is highly likely that he did have a gun, he supported the VFW, most people would not give to 25K the VFW if they were not proud vets. Most military vets keep their guns throughout their lifetime. I envision him having an old Colt automatic in the small of his back,the gangsters cursory search missed it.

Perhaps with the release of the DVD that scene will be added in, and a plausible combat scenario would be shown to your satisfaction.


I did martial arts for 20 years. I'm sixty now. Yeah, I remember most of the moves, but I don't move anywhere as fast or hit as hard as I did when I was younger.

I cannot imagine in another three freaking decades being able to take out someone 60 years younger than me, even if I surprised them.

You must know some tough AF SENIOR senior citizens.

I just re-watched the scene. He comes out of the washroom, the thugs grab push him against the wall face first and frisk him back and front. No hidden guns.

The cops hear the convo on the phone as they are on the way. Knowing he's about to be executed, they call in a helicopter and lock on to the phone's GPS co-ords. Scene cuts back to Clint and he's already bloody and in the truck on the road, nowhere near the gas station. So whatever happened, happened within the space of perhaps 10 or 15 minutes.

As I said... I can't say you're wrong. Literally every scene to this point though made it clear that he was pretty frail and slow-moving.

On the other hand, he DID have not one but two threesomes so maybe Earl was a lot more spry than I gave him credit for... Plus that scene where he uses his Ben Gay to throw off the drug sniffing dog shows that he was pretty quick thinking.

I'm still gonna chalk it up to a shaky plot point... ;)


I'm with you on that.


Wow -that went by so fast, I didn't even really hear it. Thought I heard something about 'murder' but it was so disconnected to the scene and what had transpired before, that I figured I heard wrong, and maybe it was 'murderous drug dealers' or something.

Man - that IS a big plot-hole. Do hope the extended cut is not so deficient.


I completely missed that he was charged with their murder too. I figured they just roughed him up. The cut to his scraped face was too fast.


I think his lawyer was simply referring to the cartel guys as "murdering cartel thugs".

I don't think he was being charged with killing them.


Exactly what I thought too - I just thought they probably slapped him around a bit as a warning to get the drop done and with no more funny business.


The final scene is on youtube here:

'Murdering' is not an adjective. In describing cartel thugs in the way you are thinking, the correct way to describe them would be 'murderous cartel thugs' not 'murdering cartel thugs'. An educated lawyer would use correct English.

There is also the initial corroborating scene with him looking beat up and covered in blood on the highway, and driving away from the scene of his intended execution within the space of 10 minutes or so. It confirms as a minimum that he somehow -- and unbelievably -- overcame his attackers. And, to make sure they didn't come after him somehow, it's highly suggestive that he killed them too.


You're basing it on a grammatical error?

It's just a movie. Not a real lawyer or court.

The last scene with the cartel guys has the boss telling them to let Earl do the drop. They were already roughing him up so like rigger67 was saying, he had simply been slapped around by the cartel guys so he would stick to their instructions.


Just re-watched the critical scene. Although the cartel thug is directed to kill him and that the boss doesn't care that he has the excuse of his wife's funeral. But there's a line after that where the big boss tells him to let him finish the drop and kill him if he fails. It contradicts the previous instructions and I didn't hear it.

The DEA guys appear not to hear the second line either, reacting only to the first one that he's about to be murdered.

I concede.


Yeah I don't quite understand why the DEA guy didn't catch it...or maybe he did but the important thing was to find the Mule. He was in big trouble.

Thanks for the reply.


Same scene when the guys were on the phone, they've been told to finish him off only after the delivery. He got blood on his face because of the beating. That scence in the court is really confusing, agreed here.


The ending was terrible. My thoughts were the original ending had a scene of him brutally killing the cartel guys, somehow. Anyway, the film get wrapped up and all of a sudden they get an X rating and need to cut the violence. So they cut that scene out and get their R rating. Makes sense to me considering the disjointed ending which makes no sense.