Tag Archives: Dirty Harry franchise

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 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?"

Review of Magnum Force (1973)

24 Apr

Magnum Force (1973) is an action/crime/thriller film and the second in the Dirty Harry film series.

Directed by Ted Post (Hang ‘Em High (1968), Good Guys Wear Black (1978)).

Written by John Milius (Apocalypse Now (1979), Conan the Barbarian (1982)) and Michael Cimino (Heaven’s Gate (1980), Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)).

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, Mitch Ryan, David Soul, Tim Matheson, Kip Niven, Robert Ulrich and others.

Detective „Dirty Harry” Callahan is back with his huge fucking Magnum. Need I say more?

I just loved the opening titles and the theme. After that we see Harry as always working and disobeying orders. He’s got a new partner, to which he is oddly nice, although we don’t see them being assigned as partners, so maybe they’ve been working together for a while now.

Eastwood shows what might be one of his best abilities. Making everything cool. There’s not many people who can make the elbow-patches on a jacket look bad-ass, but he does. One might argue, that other than being cool, he doesn’t do much else in the movie, but I’m not asking for anything else. Oh, and as if he wasn’t cool enough, a hot asian chick just randomly appears and a few minutes later is crawling into his bed. That lucky bastard.

In Dirty Harry, it seemed that Harry doesn’t like his nickname all that much, but now it appears that he enjoys the „dirty” work.

The interesting thing about these movies, is that except for the asshole cop Harry Callahan, they aren’t very connected. You can pick up any of the Dirty Harry movies and you won’t have any problems because of not knowing the back story and unless you’re afraid of getting confused by Eastwood’s age, you can watch the movies in whichever order you like.

They throw the n-word around quite a lot here and that is what I enjoy about the 70’s cinema. In a way it is the grittiest it has ever gotten. The golden/silver age sterility is destroyed and the political correctness of the last three decades hasn’t arrived. Not that I approve of the n-word. Although, since neither me or my ancestors have had anything to do with slavery, I don’t feel any white racial guilt. However, one thing Harry is not is homophobic, that is, if you can shoot well.

What I found the most intriguing about the concept, that the antagonist force Harry faces is also a vigilante one, so it plays more one the line of „how far is too far?”. This sort of pulls back Harry’s own fascist view of the world and states his policy of fighting crime in contrast of the Traffic-Cop Killer’s complete vigilantism. And although it sort of is obvious who is going around serving merciless justice, there’s a couple of unexpected turns to it.

A very young Suzanne Somers appears and shows her breasts at a pool party, but it just made me feel dirty as I enjoyed it and at the same time cringed as I remembered growing up watching her as the mom in Step by Step. It felt like I saw what I wasn’t supposed to.

It has a very exciting car chase, which is odd, since I’m not a big fan of car chases. What I loved about this one, was that it had no background music, so there’s just the sound of engines roaring, tyres screeching, guns blasting and nothing else.

Overall, this is my favourite Dirty Harry movie, I think it is better than the first one and it’s the most entertaining. Definitely recommended.

"Hey, Davis, you know how my last partner died?"
"Yeah, I heard he was sucked into a jet engine, why you ask?"
"No reason."

Review of Dirty Harry (1971)

4 Dec

Dirty Harry (1971) is a crime/thriller/action film that cemented Clint Eastwood’s image as an icon even more, this time putting him in the role of Harry Callahan, who, as the title implies, does the dirty work.

Directed by Don Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Escape from Alcatraz (1979)), who has worked with Eastwood on several instances.

Written by Harry Julian Fink (Major Dundee (1965), Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973)), Rita M. Fink (Big Jake (1971), Magnum Force (1973)), Dean Riesner (The Enforcer (1976), Play Misty for Me (1971)) . Julius Mills and Terrence Malick did uncredited work on the script.

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Andrew Robinson, John Vernon, Reni Santoni, John Mitchum and others.

If you don’t think Clint Eastwood is one of the coolest people who have ever lived, then I’m sorry, but you are either an idiot or not human. The fact that he’s so old and might die any day really makes me feel uneasy. And the Dirty Harry franchise has played a big part in establishing his iconic image in the pop-culture. If you open a dictionary and find “anti-hero” next to it is just a picture of Clint Eastwood.

And there’s many cool things to like in this film. Harry Callahan, the now archetypical cop that doesn’t play by the rules, Harry’s ridiculously large revolver, the amazingly bad-ass lines like “You’ve gotta ask yourself a question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?”, Eastwood’s face, the lunatic villain, Harry jumping on a school bus.

Speaking of the villain this is one of the best parts of the movie, because somehow this totally over-the-top performance by Andrew Robinson as the serial killer Scorpio works. But only by portraying him as this insane maniac, scenes like when he pays someone to beat him up work.

Plot-wise it really is a simple movie. When they catch the serial killer about halfway in, you know he’s going to somehow get out for everyone to realise the error of their ways. And at that point the movie really goes out of its ways to force the message by making the legal system way too liberal in handling this despicable criminal. By doing this they seem to make almost a fascistic stance, praising the idea of vigilantism and criticising the liberalism of the legislation system.

But talking about this aspect of the movie is, if not reading too deep, then at the very least an unnecessary thing to do, because in the end it works best as just an entertaining action movie and not a serious social commentary. Of course you can dislike its ham-fisted approach, but honestly, do you expect subtlety from this type of film?

Overall it is a good, solid movie about a cop who does the dirty work, because there’s no one else who will, and is carried by bad-ass one liner, Robinson’s overacting and Eastwood’s permanent scowl. Definitely recommended.

.44 Magnum, the gun that was made to be seen in 3D.