Tag Archives: Crime

Review of Capone (1975)

18 Mar

caponeCapone (1975) is a crime/drama/biographical film, loosely based on the life of Al Capone.

Directed by Steve Carver (Lone Wolf McQuade (1983), Big Bad Mama (1974)).

Written by Howard Browne (The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967), Mission: Impossible (1966 TV)).

Starring: Ben Gazzara, Susan Blakely, Harry Guardino, Sylvester Stallone, Harry Guardino, John Cassavetes and others.

So here’s a Roger Corman produced Al Capone biopic. It is about as accurate as Death Race 2000 was a prediction of the year 2000.

Doesn’t happen so often with American movies, I was pleasantly surprised to see Vilis Lapenieks, a director of photography from my small home country, Latvia, appear in the opening credits. Had it been the closing credits, I would be unpleasantly surprised, because the movie excels at looking totally bland.

In the first scene I noticed that the sound editing was not so great, often the background noise cuts with the shots, it is a bit jarring, but it either improved later or I got used to it, so I wasn’t that bothered by it. It’s far from Birdemic levels of sound direction incompetence.

It sort of is a biopic, but it explores Al Capone’s life as much as the original Scarface. I would have liked if they had spent a little time developing and showing more Capone’s backstory and character, instead of instantly throwing him in to rapidly climb the mobster career ladder by punching and shooting select people.

Also there’s very little sense of passing time because they don’t really manage to make Ben Gazzara look much younger in the earlier scenes.That is not to say Gazzara is bad here. For this larger than life portrayal of the person he is ok. He achieves a convincingly menacing performance, selling the simmering anger even when he is smiling and being polite. Since he’s not provided with any redeeming qualities, he serves not as a complex anti-hero, but a one-note villain pushed into the protagonist’s position.

At times he seems to be drifting through the movie only to engage in instances of outbursts of rage, otherwise taking a step back to various mob dealings, that I failed to care about. Some of the scenes are delivered just as plot progressions being explained, leaving the viewer uninterested and distanced.

If you, like me, decide to watch this because Sylvester Stallone is in it, be aware, he appears pretty late into the movie and is not featured as prominently as you might imagine. He briefly manages to breathe some life into the movies, but it’s pretty much a lost cause.

"Wow, Stallone playing Al Capone? That should be interesting!"

“Wow, Stallone playing Al Capone? That should be interesting!”

 

However this is not at all surprising because it is after all a Corman movie and could be classified as exploitation (mobsploitation, if you will), than an actual historical retelling. But the problem is that it takes itself too seriously, no doubt inspired by The Godfather films.

So it’s not cheesy enough to be entertaining as a B-grade gangster flick. I kept tuning out during the dull dialogue scenes and not getting excited at the repetitive drive-by shootouts. At some points even using footage from another movie, which is of obviously lower, both sound and image quality.

Overall, this is a shitty gangster flick, that except for Sly being in it, fails to have anything remarkable about it to make it worth watching. Not recommended.

"That's right, smile, Ben. One day, I'm going to be the reason people watch this movie."

“That’s right, smile, Ben. One day, I’m going to be the reason people watch this movie.”

Review of Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)

14 Nov

Assault on Precinct 13 (2005) is a thriller/action/crime film, which is a remake of Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).

Directed by Jean-Francois Richet (Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008), Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1 (2008)).

Written by James DeMonaco (Jack (1996), Staten Island (2009)).

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne, Gabriel Byrne, Maria Bello, Drea de Matteo, John Leguizamo, Brian Dennehy, Ja Rule and others.

The original had a „cold open” of sorts, that set-up the possibility of action in a movie that was more slow-paced, this time we open with a completely frantic scene, with our main character played by Ethan Hawke in an undercover operation, which doesn’t turn out so well. Some time has passed and we see him arriving at a police precinct on the New Year’s Eve, as it is about to close and relocate the personnel.

Then we see a shoot-out in a church, after which Laurence Fishburne is arrested. Soon he has to be transported and the two groups of people who will have to meet at some point are set-up. On the prison bus, there’s four inmates being transported, one of them being John Leguizamo going into his over-the-top neurotic mode. Some shit happens along the way so they have to stay in this half-abandoned police station.

When the new year comes, suddenly everyone’s new year resolution becomes to stay alive, because they get attacked by masked men and the people inside the precinct are left to try to hold them back. They even manage to make them more inhuman by having them be hidden behind thick ski-masks, due to the storm outside. But then they decide to add a decent, yet very unnecessary twist to who the attackers are. I liked the almost supernatural quality they possessed in the original better.

The movie does have some kinetic energy and interesting visuals, like a bunch of lasersights sniping through the windows of the precinct, a cool mexican stand-off, involving like 10 people and almost everyone who dies for some reason gets shot in the head.

Yeah, I know, since the original was in a way a loose remake of Rio Bravo, it is forgivable that they made another remake, but there’s really nothing that the movie brings, that validates its necessity to exist. It’s just pointless, it doesn’t change enough to make it fresh and really interesting and only updating it a bit doesn’t make much sense, because the original wasn’t all that dated.

The score was disappointingly bland, not even worth comparing to Carpenter’s iconic synth-drone theme.

The acting also isn’t that great, to be fair in Carpenter’s version the acting wasn’t the best part either, but it was also a low-budget film, with relative unknowns, who were acting western parts in a modern-day setting. Here we have amazing actors (not all of them, there’s Ja Rule, after all) with huge experience, but the acting is just as unconvincing.

Overall, might be enjoyable, especially if you haven’t seen the original, but even then I don’t think it’s really worth bothering. It’s conventional, some good actors pop up, at times entertaining, but ultimately a waste of time. Not recommended.

PIctured: The most jolly movie rape scene ever.

Review of Harry Brown (2009)

30 Aug

Harry Brown (2009) is a thriller/drama/crime film, following a Royal Marines veteran,  living on a housing estate that is rapidly descending into youth crime.

Directed by Daniel Barber (The Tonto Woman (2008 Short)).

Written by Gary Young (The Tournament (2009), The Last Drop (2006)).

Starring: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, David Bradley, Iain Glen, Ben Drew, Jack O’Connell, Sean Harris, Charlie Creed-Miles and others.

The first three minutes of the film are probably the most shocking part of the movie. I’m not saying it as a compliment or a put-down to the rest of the movie, it’s just that a few teenagers on motorbikes and drugs shoot at a woman with a baby, while filming it on a cellphone is a disturbingly realistic portrayal of modern senseless violence.

Then we see Michael Caine, whose life doesn’t get better from the point we are introduced to him. His wife is in a catatonic state in the hospital and soon passes away, from his window he can see young people dealing drugs and beating people up. His friend is pretty sick of the scum and tries to stand up to them and gets killed. Caine gets pretty pissed off about all this shit.

I liked that while the justice system is depicted as totally broken and retarded, the police isn’t portrayed as a bunch of incompetent donut eating morons.

Of course, there’s a breaking point, when Caine’s character Harry Brown decides to be a vigilante. He goes to a creepy drug dealer/junkie guy, who has a whole plantation of marijuana in his apartment. The junkies and violent kids are portrayed very realistically, so it’s kind of disgusting to watch and not only on a moral level.

It’s a lot like Death Wish, if the Charles Bronson’s Paul Kersey character was older, only Harry exhibits more emotions, while doing these acts of vigilantism. It’s about an hour into the movie, when Harry actually starts being bad-ass. Yeah, you can say that this is a more thoughtful movie than Death Wish, but I don’t think there is that much of a difference. There’s even a scene where Harry is going after a guy and some shots on him chasing him on some stairs by a bridge, that are very similar to a scene in Death Wish. The elderly ex-soldier, who is sick of young violent kids is a theme that showed up in Gran Torino as well.

It’s interesting to put this movie in opposition to Attack the Block, which had a very similar setting, yet the juvenile delinquents were shown in a much more positive light. I’m not from UK, but the lower class occupied living apartment blocks are quite common where I live and the way the aggressive youth is portrayed in this movie, from my experience, seems a lot more accurate.

It is fitting that my last review was of Hobo With a Shotgun, a very different kind of movie, yet having the very same theme. It’s an interesting contrast, Harry Brown is less violent, while more disturbing, which is good, that this movie makes someone think, while Hobo is just dumb entertainment. On the other hand, Harry Brown never seemed to find the right balance of being an examination of youth violence and a bad-ass vigilante-thriller.  It might not be important to most people, but Harry Brown used CG blood effects, which always sort of detract from a movie for me personally.

Overall, nothing groundbreaking, a solid revenge/vigilante crime drama/thriller threading very familiar territory, but rests firmly on the always reliable Michael Caine. Recommended.

“You know I’m buying this gun to shoot scum like you?”
“All I know is that you look like Michael Caine. Where I’m from, you don’t argue with someone who looks like Michael Caine.”

Review of Blackmail (1929)

12 Jun

Blackmail (1929) is a British thriller/crime/drama film, based on the play of the same name by Charles Benett.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (Family Plot (1976), The Ring (1927)).

Written by Alfred Hitchcock (Juno and the Paycock (1930), Champagne (1928)) and Benn W. Levy (Waterloo Bridge (1931), The Old Dark House (1932)).

Starring: Anny Ondra, Charles Paton, Sara Allgood, John Longden, Donald Calthrop, Cyril Ritchard, Harvey Braban and others.

So here’s the first British “true” talkie, made by Alfred Hitchcock. You can feel that the silent film era hasn’t yet passed, but Hitchcock is realising the potential of people actually talking in movies.

It starts off with a long sequence, which is silent. Hey, come people enjoy one of the first talkies, yet no one is talking. Oh, ok, I don’t mind a good silent movie. No, it’s not a silent movie, because there are no intertitle cards. Well, this is confusing. Then like 10 minutes in, there’s suddenly dialogue, what a pleasant surprise.

The movie stars the very charismatic Anny Ondra, her acting is really good, considering it was the time actors had to transition from the very pantomime acting of silent cinema to talkies. Her voice was „dubbed” over by a British woman off-screen, because she had a thick accent. Which is odd, since there’s a clip on YouTube, where Hitchcock is teasing her and it didn’t sound so bad to me.

There’s a really cool long continuous shot, where characters are walking up multiple staircases and the camera follows vertically from the point of view of a wall, which is obviously filmed on a built set, but it doesn’t make it less cool.

The whole thing is that Ondra’s character goes home with some artist she met and when they get to his apartment he attempts to rape her. Who said 20’s was an innocent time? She stabs him with a knife and leaves, as you might imagine, the rest of the movie is Ondra tortured by guilt, fear and blackmail (yes, there’s a reason the movie is called that).

I learned that a brick to the head is a nice old British way of killing a person, but knives are a big ‘no-no’.  There’s a clever scene using the newfound possibilities of sound cinema. A woman keeps talking, but to our heroine only the word „knife” is audible and the rest is just murmur.

You can already see that Hitchcock has a knack for thrillers and there’s even an interesting foot-chase, a bit lacking in action, but very interesting to see and especially in comparison to how he later perfected his use of suspenseful action.  It’s a short and well paced movie, but it does feel like an overlong Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode.

A really peculiar thing is how the murder that the whole movie revolves around is the most innocent crime, yet it all ends kind of ironic and no one involved is innocent.

Overall, it’s a decent little movie, but really, except for the first British talkie title (which is debatable), it has no significant place in cinema history. Hitchcock enthusiast could give it a chance, otherwise – skip it. Not recommended.

“Hey, you know what I just thought?”
“No, what?”
“What if years from now people watching this movie won’t even notice us, the main heroes, and will just look at our director over there.”
“Don’t be silly, no one cares about that fat fuck.”

Review of Repo Men (2010)

22 May

Repo Men (2010) is a sci-fi/action/thriller film based on the novel The Repossession Mambo by Eric Garcia.

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik (House (2004 TV), Awake (2012 TV)).

Written by Garrett Lerner (LAX (2004 TV), Boston Public (2000 TV)) and Eric Garcia.

Starring: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Alice Braga, Liev Schreiber, Carice van Houten, John Leguizamo and others.

Say you need a new heart, right? Where do you go? To a corporation which issues brand new mechanical hearts. Sounds awesome, but they cost a shitload of money. Not a problem you can just do monthly payments like it’s a car and here comes the good part. If you don’t pay, they come and cut the fucking heart right out of your chest. ‘Live forever on mechanical organs’ boner is gone.

This a cool sci-fi action movie starring Jude Law as a bad-ass. You know, sometimes he’s a lanky British douche with a receding hairline and sometimes he is awesome. Thankfully this movie is the case. He works for this company and he is the one who goes to get the body parts back. Yes, you guessed it, it’s the age-old „guy works for a company and then is forced to go against it” type of scenario, but at least the company is an interesting one.

Liev Schreiber is like the head of the company and he is just so good at playing this total douchebag asshole, I loved him. On the other hand Forest Whitaker seems a bit miscast as Law’s partner and pal.

The city design is rather cool, it has a Blade Runner vibe about it, but then there is the suburban area where Law’s character lives with his son and wife that is just a bitch for no reason, she has no other characteristic other than being a bitch towards him.

The movie also has some dark comedy elements, which worked very well. The action is just great, especially the last fight scene. It has a decent amount of gore, mostly CG though. And in one utterly ridiculous scene I learned that if you stick you’re hands into another person’s abdomen, there no risk of infection and other bad shit as long as you glue the entry cut shut afterwards.

If not for the most idiotic kind of possible ending I would have totally loved the movie. That is the thing, you will be entertained throughout the movie, but then you’ll leave it with a bitter aftertaste, because you’ll be disappointed. Most critics have shat upon this movie, but I enjoyed watching it way too much to do that. I think it was a great action movie that didn’t take itself too seriously and also had an interesting premise.

Overall, incredibly entertaining and somewhat disappointing, but definitely worth to see Jude Law kicking ass. Recommended.

Pictured: Before Battleship Hollywood did another board-game adaptation. They just didn’t call it Operation.

Review of Natural Born Killers (1994)

16 May

Natural Born Killers (1994) is a thriller/crime/comedy movie, which follows a couple on a killing spree and it’s portrayal in media.

Directed by Oliver Stone (Platoon (1986), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)).

Written by Oliver Stone (Scarface (1983), Alexander (2004)), David Veloz (Permanent Midnight (1998), Behind Enemy Lines (2001)), Richard Rutowski and story by Quentin Tarantino (True Romance (1993), Reservoir Dogs (1992)).

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., O-Lan Jones, Tom Sizemore, Rodney Dangerfield and others.

From the first frames you understand that this won’t be a conventional movie. I thought „Hey, this has a cool Tarantino-esque vibe to it”, but soon I realised that this is too crazy even for Tarantino, who originally wrote the script, but it was re-written so much he is only credited as the author of the story. Not that Tarantino wouldn’t make this movie, he unsuccessfully tried, but this is not the way he would have made it.

It constantly changes the visual styles, basically using every kind of filter, film stock, digital video format and lens Oliver Stone could get his hands on. If you had asked me before if that sounds like something good, I’d say „well, it might look interesting for 15 minutes, but then it would get self-indulgent and tiring”, but the fact is, it doesn’t. It is fascinating. At first I was a bit confused, especially when it first did this thing, where a dialogue is delivered and then repeated in black & white from different angle and slightly different delivery. When you realize what Stone does there, it’s pretty awesome. It must have been so fun for him to just go crazy and try whatever he wants.

The grotesque visuals also make the violence seem both more disturbing and kind of mesmerizing. So if you like Tarantino’s aesthetics of violence, this is somewhere along those lines. The whole thing feels like watching a really good movie during a bad acid trip.

Woody Harrelson is bad ass in this, a great performance. I have been always not sure about Juliette Lewis, I’ve always seen her as sort of annoyingly eccentric, yet undoubtedly talented. This movie was it, she is one of the greatest actresses of… this generation? I’ve never understood what generation is this and what’s the last generation. So, she’s really good and I can’t believe she’s only 21 in this. No one can pull off this combination of repulsive, sexy and batshit insane, like she does here. She and Harrelson is just perfect as this very stylised 90’s version of Bonnie and Clyde.

Robert Downey Jr. is in this as like an Australian TV reporter with a mullet. Yes, there was a time when he didn’t play billionaire playboys, except for Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin. Tarantino’s script was focusing on this character and although I could see it working, I think it is better this way as we actually follow these serial killers.

And the movie actually has a message. Stone’s tendency to hit the viewer over the head with it actually works to this movie’s benefit. A message that in this age of internet is even more current than back then. Now we idolize every fucking new thing and I don’t think it would be all that surprising if there appeared a movement all about some serial killer. Take the TV show Dexter, if news got out that there is in real-life a guy who kills only criminals, people would go crazy over him, he’d be the second coming of Jesus fucking Christ all over the faces of those who suck on the glorious dick of mass media. That’s right. We’re there, people.

Overall, an excellent and bold movie from a time when Oliver Stone still madecool movies and it’s one of those movies that makes 90’s seem a lot cooler than they actually were. Definitely recommended.

Pictured: 1990’s, when red fishnet shirts were cool… no, wait, I can’t say that. Fishnet shirts were never cool. Although, Woody does rock this one.

Review of The Dead Pool (1988)

12 May

The Dead Pool (1988) is a thriller/mystery/action film and the fifth and last movie in the Dirty Harry film franchise.

Directed by Buddy Van Horn (Pink Cadillac (1989), Any Which Way You Can (1980)).

Written by Steve Sharon, Duck Pearson and Sandy Shaw.

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Patricia Clarkson, Liam Neeson, David Hunt, Jim Carrey, Evan C. Kim, Michael Currie and others.

Harry is back, his hair now is even whiter, face wrinklier, constipation frown even more intimidating and why he’s not in retirement or jail is anyone’s guess. Harry has changed, he is now a lot more liberal. But one thing stays constant. If there’s one thing Harry hates more than criminals, it’s bureaucracy.

We’re now deep in the 80’s and rest assured, this movie won’t let you forget it. We get to see a young Jim Carrey acting mental and lip-synching to „Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns n’ Roses during the filming of some The Exorcist inspired music video, directed by Liam Neeson with a more prominent Irish accent. Watching it now, it seems sort of delightfully bizarre, but back then?

Carrey is in the movie for like 5 minutes, however, and dies from a drug overdose. Oh, and in exchange for their song to be used as the background for Carrey’s junkie rock star video, Guns n’ Roses members cameo in his funeral scene. In another scene Slash even gets to shoot a huge-ass harpoon through a window.

When they want to assign a new partner for Harry, even he himself acknowledges that his partners aren’t the luckiest of people, but maybe he just doesn’t want an asian partner. I know he slept with an asian chick in Magnum Force, but who wants a partner, who is a bad driver. Ok, you might call me racist, but the movie isn’t any better, because soon we find out that the asian cop knows martial arts.

Patricia Clarkson is also in this and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her this young, but she’s still hot so it was no surprise she was stunning back then.

The dead pool is this game where people predict death’s of famous people and suddenly the ones from Liam Neeson’s list start dying. The idea is kind of interesting and makes the movie very mysterious, but then again the game is pretty pointless, since celebrities don’t actually die like every other weekend. Although, if I had this list, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston would’ve definitely been on it.

It’s also a decent commentary on celebrity pressure and violent movies influencing people to be violent. Liam Neeson is an arrogant horror director, who’s movies are being replicated in the ways some people are killed, so there’s some slasher movie elements thrown in. And it sort of goes with my opinion, that only already unstable person could be influenced by a movie enough to go out with a hockey mask on and slash teenagers with a machete. But to quote this movie „Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has them.”, I’m thinking about making this the tagline of my blog.

There’s a very interesting chase scene, where the chaser is an RC car. A pretty fucking powerful one at that. And watching the chase I realised that it must be a bitch to live in San Francisco. All those steep streets, it’s like going up the stairs for a whole block, I mean, you must feel like Rocky when he ran up those stairs in Philadelphia, but what if you just want to go to the store for some smokes? You’d die, before you had the chance to develop a cancer.

Overall, a fast and entertaining movie, cheesy, but with at least some substance. Not one of the better Dirty Harrymovies, but recommended nonetheless.

“Duuuuude, Mr. Popper’s Penguins is so funny on heroin.”

Review of Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009)

10 May

Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009) is a direct-to-DVD horror/thriller/slasher film and the third film in the Wrong Turn film franchise.

Directed by Declan O’Brien (Rock Monster (2008), Wrong Turn 4 (2011)).

Written by Connor James Delaney, who hasn’t done anything before or after.

Starring: Tom Frederic, Tamer Hassan, Gil Kolirin, Borislav Iliev, Jake Curran,  Janet Montgomery and others.

Let’s jump ahead 3 minutes into the movie. We get naked boobs. Already a mark of a quality film. There’s other marks as well. For example, it was released straight to DVD, which means you shouldn’t be fooled by the shitty “shot on digital video” look into believing that it is going to be the worst part of the movie. Because once you get used to it, there’s a whole lot of crap in the movie itself.

The effects are sometimes practical, but don’t worry,  because you still get to see a guy getting CG sliced in 3 pieces and another guy getting his face sliced off in effects shots, that even The Asylum would work harder on. But don’t get me wrong, the practical effects suck as well, one guy cuts another one’s leg off, because the inmates are chained together and he just goes through it like he was slicing a big cucumber. The inbred make-up also doesn’t look very good.

Of course, there’s the typical slasher movie set-up, where a group of characterless teenagers appear for a few minutes, just to be killed. Then we switch to our actual characters. In prison. I’ll give the movie that, it is an interesting concept than just some young people, I didn’t expect it. In this prison the inmates seem to be allowed to wear whatever they want, yet they all dress in the same prisony way. Then a group of them is transported in a bus by three prison guards, one of them being our bland protagonist. And we can enjoy some awful green-screen bus driving.

We get to see Three Fingers again, although he got shotgun-blasted in the chest in the last movie, shit, those inbreds sure know how to heal fast, due to the shitty make-up he looks like some kind of goblin. They are actually some amazing creatures. They’re all like idiot savants. They can’t really talk (or choose not to?), but they can master archery, trap-making, knife-throwing and be inhumanly strong and not feel pain. Three Fingers is an amazing archer, he shoots people in eyes all the time, he even shot a chick in the nipple, so when they decide he should miss someone completely, it instantly feel very unconvincing.

However, the interesting thing is that Three Fingers and the gang aren’t the villains of the movie, they’re like zombies, a big threat, but the real villain is one of the prisoners, who at one point is unconscious and everyone hates him, but do they kill him? Of course, not, because otherwise he couldn’t be back a few minutes later and keep being evil.

The bus falls of a cliff, the prisoners gain control and so they all just walk through the woods in search of a truck containing bags of money (no, they didn’t have huge dollar signs on them). Oh, no, that isn’t true, they just walk through the woods and stumble upon the truck. I think I’ll have to go exploring the woods.

They throw in a final little twist, which had me fooled for one second and I thought “Oh, ok, that happened.”, but then I realized how incredibly idiotic it was and got pretty pissed off..

Overall, a stupid and badly made movie, but it isn’t totally awful, if you for some reason like the Wrong Turn franchise (although, I did like Wrong Turn 2), then you might find it almost competent entry in the series. Still, not recommended.

Hey, turn a bit, at least then I’d feel like I’m watching Friday the 13th Part III !

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.”

Review of The Enforcer (1976)

30 Apr

The Enforcer (1976) is a thriller/action/crime film and the third movie in the Dirty Harry film franchise.

Directed by James Fargo (Every Which Way But Loose (1978), Forced Vengeance (1982)).

Written by Stirling Silliphant (In the Heat of the Night (1967), Village of the Damned (1960)), Dean Riesner (Coogan’s Bluff (1968), Dirty Harry (1971)), Gail Morgan Hickman (Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987), Murphy’s Law (1986)) and S.W.Schurr.

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Tyne Daly, John Mitchum, Jocelyn Jones, Nick Pellegrino, Rudy Ramos,  and others.

I love how in these movies every time Harry pulls some crazy stunt, the higher-ups are surprised by it and tell him that if he does something like that one more time, he’s suspended. He doesn’t care, because we all know, that, come the next movie, he’s still going to be in the force.

This time around not much has changed, Eastwood still talks through clenched teeth and has even more anger-wrinkles  on his forehead, you probably could use his scowl as a cheese-grater.  After Harry’s latest incident, he is sent exactly where a guy that basically hates people should be – taking the examinations from new officers.

Now Harry has a new partner, an old fat guy. But he dies from either oldness, fatness or bullet-wound, I can’t recall. So Harry gets another partner right away and guess what? It’s a girl! Yikes, some silly shenanigans are bound to ensue. This time, however, the movie turns into a buddy-cop movie. „He – a maverick cop, with his own vision of justice, she – a fucking woman.”

Yet, for such a ruthless guy, Harry has a very strict moral code and disappointingly you see him getting older and softer. He doesn’t even execute that many thugs, he mostly just shoots them in self-defense. The new partner chick is like every woman, melts in Harry’s hands and Harry warms up to her way too early. Daly is quite good as a strong female supporting character.

There’s a pretty cool foot chase, set to a jazz score. During which, at one point they crash into a porn set, so you get some both gender nudity. And another nice scene is at the end where a shoot-out takes place at Alcatraz.

Overall, well-paced and more or less entertaining, but not substantial enough other than „Hey, look at Harry in this situation!”, so it’s not very interesting, but Eastwood is a reason enough to see. I’d say this is the worst in the Dirty Harry series, but worst in good series is not that bad. I don’t know, recommended if you want to see Eastwood or all Dirty Harry movies, otherwise, you can easily skip this.

"If I'd clench my teeth any harder I'll make every person in this room instantly constipated, so what were you saying about assigning me to Personnel?"