Review of Sudden Impact (1983)

7 May

Sudden Impact (1983) is a thriller/action/crime film and the fourth film in the Dirty Harry film series.

Directed by Clint Eastwood (Play Misty for Me (1971), J. Edgar (2011)).

Written by Joseph Stinson (City Heat (1984), Stick (1985)), Earl E. Smith (The Shadow of Chikara (1977), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)) and Charles B. Pierce (The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek, Part II (1985), Bootleggers (1974)).

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Pat Hingle, Jack Thibeau, Wendell Wellman, Bette Ford and others.

Harry is back! And he’s starting to look kind of old. But the great thing about Eastwood is that the older he gets, he also seems to use the time to figure out alternative ways to kick your ass, so even now when he’s over 80, he looks like the most intimidating almost dead guy on earth.

This is the only Dirty Harry movie directed by Eastwood, but this is no Million Dollar Baby or Gran Torino, no tears are supposed to be shed during this. Only blood, sweat and bullets. This is also the one, which made the phrase „Go ahead… make my day!” a staple of pop-culture. Rarely the fourth movie in a series is the one to leave a big impact. But this was also the highest grossing Dirty Harry movie, which in combination with a deal that gave Eastwood a big cut from the profits, assured his wealth for a bit more.

We are reminded of Harry Callahan’s awesomeness by being shown how he stops at least five people robbing one little cafe for some reason. The waitress gives Harry a clue about something going on by pouring like a pound of sugar in his coffee in front of the robbers. Real subtle.

When Harry is done with that, he goes into a restaurant, threatens a guy and unsurprisingly gives him a heart-attack. After pulling his usual stunts (they never learn, do they?), he is sent on a vacation. What do you think Harry’s vacations are like? Of course, it’s just him going out-of-town and practicing target shooting.

Only in this movie I really started questioning Harry Callahan’s existence. I know he’s only a character, but I thought he could be based on some bad-ass real-life cop (he is kind of based on Dave Toschi), yet when I saw him get „suspended” for god knows which time, I started thinking. Would really a guy who has killed 45 people (that’s just on-screen) be allowed to keep going around with a handgun equivalent of a cannon and a police badge? In real life? I hope not. In movies? Hell, yes!

I actually liked a lot how this point was accented. Harry’s boss says that he’s staying the same in a new world, a bad guy in the restaurant says the same and when he’s chasing a robber in a bus full of old people, they cheer him on, it is funny and also serves to make a point.

This time Harry doesn’t even get a partner. Not surprising with how he keeps going through them like… something you dispose of every few years and never mention again… oh, I know, like toilet brushes. Also Harry gets a dog and for some reason in most movies they don’t give a shit if the doubles trained for other things look different. That might work in some trash for kids like Air Bud or Beethoven movies, but here it wasn’t so easy to not notice the dog changing genders.

We also get an interesting opposition. Harry, the embodiment of manhood is trying to find a woman who shoots men in their genitals. Similarly to Magnum Force, this genital-shooter Harry’s going after, isn’t really doing something wrong by Harry’s moral standards. Sudden Impact feels like a revenge thriller, where the revenger (probably not an actual word) isn’t the protagonist.

Wendell Wellman is an interesting actor I haven’t seen before. He has only two scenes and in one of them he talked a bit like Heath Ledger’s Joker. A very intriguing performance, I’ll have to check out his other… five movies.

Towards the end there’s this scene in a fair at night. Harry is coming towards the camera and you only see a silhouette, which is holding… a stick? No it’s a fucking huge gun! And that is seriously the best shot in the whole series, when something is recognizable just in silhouette, you know it’s a pop-culture icon. Though, about the gun, I don’t know why, but they decided that at one point Harry should exchange his .44 Magnum revolver for the less cool looking semi-automatic .44 AutoMag. I guess it’s Harry keeping up with the times.

Overall, mostly entertaining, better than The Enforcer, worse than Dirty Harry and Magnum Force. Recommended.

“Hey, you want to know what is my hobby? It’s kinda funny actually.”
“Go ahead… make my day.”
“I secretly kill men by shooting them in the balls.”
“This is so not what I expected to hear.”

4 Responses to “Review of Sudden Impact (1983)”

  1. Aloha Mister Hand May 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    Hahaha, excellent! More constipation-face! Woo hoo!

    • karlails May 8, 2012 at 12:08 am #

      Thanks, one more constipation from eastwood and on to the next franchise.

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