Archive for Clint Eastwood

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) Review

Posted in Good, the Bad and the Ugly with tags , , , , , , on July 21, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

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THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

**** Out of 5

Tagline- For Three Men the Civil War Wasn’t Hell. It Was Practice.

Release Date- December 23rd, 1966

Running Time- 179-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- Agenore Incrocci, Furio Scarpelli, Luciano Vincenzoni & Sergio Leone

Director- Sergio Leone

Starring- Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach as Tuco

Released in 1966 and in the States in 1967, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is the 3rd part of the Man with No Name trilogy and by many it’s seen as the best of the 3 and by many its also seen as the greatest western and the best film in Sergio Leone’s career though some favor Once Upon a Time in the West, but it seems to me The Good, the Bad and the Ugly gets a little more acclaim. I enjoyed Fistful of Dollars a lot, but don’t rate it as highly as some, but with A Few Dollars More I felt Sergio Leone arrived and as influential as Leone’s films are this was his first epic and once again Leone changed the way westerns were made. When released in Italy The Good, the Bad and the Ugly clocked in at 179-minutes, but when released in the States it was cut down to 161-minutes and home video releases have restored the film to its 179-minute running time. For me personally when a film starts to go over 130-minutes I often find it overly long with some exceptions of course and while The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a great film I just found it overly long and I’m not sure the film needed to be 3-hours. As much as I liked the film again it was just a little too long even if still a great film and while its better than A Fistful of Dollars I’d rate For a Few Dollars More as my favorite of the trilogy.

The trilogy is called either the Dollars trilogy or the Man with No Name trilogy, but in all three films Clint Eastwood’s character does have a name it was MGM who came up with that gimmick while marketing the film in the US. Regardless of what you wanna call it none of the three films are connected and each are stand alone the only connection is a lot of the same cast and crew. This time around Blondie (Eastwood) is running a scam with Tuco (Wallach) a wanted outlaw. Blondie brings him in and collects the bounty and when Tuco is about to hang, Blondie shoots the rope helping Tuco getaway and the two split the money. However after one scam Blondie decides to keep the money and Tuco vows revenge. He captures Blondie and makes him walk through the desert. While there they come across a stage coach where everybody is dead except one person who has buried money. He tells Tuco what cemetery and when Tuco leaves to get him water, Blondie finds out what grave it’s buried in. The man than dies, but now Tuco must keep Blondie alive. The two set out for the cemetery, but Angel Eyes (Van Cleef) is also hot on the trail for the money as well.

The screenplay by Agenore Incrocci, Furio Scarpelli, Luciano Vincenzoni & Sergio Leone is well written with some great characters, but the only problem I had is while the script well written and well plotted, I’m not sure the plot even with the subplots warranted a film running at 179-minutes. The script always remains strong thanks in part of the terrific characters and actors, but some scenes even if they impact the plot also sort of feel like filler scenes. Regardless, the screenplay is terrific with some great characters.

In each film of the trilogy the budget went up as did production values and the direction by Leone also got stronger. While For a Few Dollars More is my favorite of the three this part was the best directed. The first hour is very well paced and its funny, dramatic and exciting. After that things do slightly slow down, but for a 3-hour film the pacing is actually strong and I was never bored, but like I said I just felt as if a few scenes could have been edited and as great as a film this is I don’t think it needed to be 179-minutes. With all that said Leone shows why he’s a master at his craft and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is quite the epic and its influence on filmmakers is quite clear. The one thing that isn’t mentioned enough about Sergio Leone’s films is the suspense level. Too bad Leone never made a horror or thriller since at times his films had some great suspense and tension.

What I loved about For a Few Dollars More was the pairing of Eastwood and Van Cleef two great actors known for playing the tough guy roles. Here Eastwood and Van Cleef don’t have a whole lot of scenes together, but its more than made up for by pairing Eastwood and Wallach together. Both actors worked very well together and as great as Eastwood was, Eli Wallach steals the show with an hysterical performance. Eastwood is great as usual and Lee Van Cleef was also great only downside is not enough screen time.

Overall The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is truly a great film and one of the most influential films of all time. Like I said the 179-minute running time was a little overly long even if the pacing is generally strong. This was a great end to the trilogy.

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For a Few Dollars More (1965) Review

Posted in For a Few Dollars More with tags , , , , on July 17, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

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FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE

**** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- The Man with No Name Is Back

Release Date- December 18th, 1965

Running Time- 132-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Luciano Vincenzoni & Sergio Leone

Director- Sergio Leone

Starring- Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volonte, Mario Brega, Luigi Pistilli, Klaus Kinski

Released in Italy in 1965 and in the States in 1967, For a Few Dollars more is the 2nd film in Sergio Leone’s epic Man with No Name trilogy, but don’t go into For a Few Dollars more expecting a sequel since all three films stand on their own and none are continuations of the previous. With a Fistful of Dollars, Leone took not only the spaghetti western in a new direction, but the American western as well and as good as Fistful of Dollars was For a Few Dollars More in my opinion trumps it in every single aspect. Fistful of Dollars was an excellent film with a great opening and closing act, but the middle could be a bit sluggish in spots and while I very much enjoyed the film I also don’t think its as good as its reputation. Its a very good film, but I don’t rate it as one of the great films, but For a Few Dollars more is one of the greatest westerns of all time and one of the greatest films of all time. For a Few Dollars More is the film that Sergio Leone truly arrived.

This time around the Man with No Name (Eastwood) or as he’s referred to Monco is a bounty hunter and he’s on the trail of El Indio (Volonte), but Monco has some competition as Col. Douglas Mortimer (Van Cleef) also a bounty hunter arrives into town also seeking to bring down El Indio and Monco and Mortimer end up forming a bit of an uneasy alliance as they set their sights on El Indio and his gang.

The screenplay by Luciano Vincenzoni & Sergio Leone is well plotted and often funny as well at times. The plot for For a Few Dollars More is rather straight forward, but it always works well. Characters are much stronger here than Fistful of Dollars as they have more depth and far more interesting. This is a very well written film with a solid plot and excellent characters. El Indio is one of my favorite movie villains and he’s quite evil; he’s a rapist and murderer and two of his victims are a woman and her 18-month old baby, but Vincenzoni & Leone also show another side of El Indio as he does seem to have some regrets about what he’s done not that it makes him sympathetic or any less evil, but it was an interesting touch to an excellent screenplay.

Director Sergio Leone greatly improved from Fistful of Dollars as this film gets off to a great start and remains just as good throughout the picture. Despite the 132-minute running time, For a Few Dollars More is excellently paced as each scene somehow advances the picture. For a Few Dollars More like many Italian films has a great visual look and the action scenes are better staged and far more polished than Fistful of Dollars (they were good, but greatly improved here). To me this is when Sergio Leone went from a good filmmaker to a great filmmaker and this was a great directed film the action scenes as I stated are excellent and are also very exciting and the suspense level is quite high as well, which is something most people seem to ignore when talking about For a Few Dollars More.

I think a big part of what elevates this film to greatness is the pairing of Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef two of the best film tough guys. Eastwood like always is great here and there isn’t any actor that could have played the role of Monco any better, but in many ways it’s Lee Van Cleef as Mortimer that steals the show. He’s just as deadly and just as tough and has this cool factor working for him. Seeing these two legends together is quite a blast and Mortimer also has a backstory with El Indio though it takes the whole film to get to it.

Overall For a Few Dollars More is a truly great film with an excellent screenplay and fun and exciting action scenes and with Eastwood and Van Cleef its one of the best pairings in film and Gian Maria Volonte is also terrific as the sadistic El Indio. For a Few Dollars More is as good of a western as you’ll find and despite the popularity I think it deserves even more credit.

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A Fistful of Dollars (1964) Review

Posted in Fistful of Dollars with tags , , , , on July 16, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

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A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- A Fistful of Dollars is the First Motion Picture of Its Kind. It Won’t be the Last!

Release Date- September 12th, 1964

Running Time- 100-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Victor Andres Catena, Jaime Comas & Sergio Leone

Director- Sergio Leone

Starring- Clint Eastwood, Marianne Koch, John Wells, W. Lukschy, S. Rupp

Released in 1964 and in the States in 1967 A Fistful of Dollars was the first film in Sergio Leone’s Man with No Name trilogy also dubbed the Dollars trilogy. By many A Fistful of Dollars is seen as the first spaghetti western, but that isn’t the case as there were many before it, but it was Leone who made the biggest impact and also heavily inspired American westerns as well. I am a fan of westerns, but I will admit that I’m not a huge fan and while I’ve seen many of the classics there are also plenty I haven’t seen, which is quite odd since as a film buff I seek out films of all eras, genres and countries and while at heart I’m a cult cinema guy, but again I’m a film buff and seek out films, but what makes it odd that I’m not a bigger fan of westerns seeing as that I love old west history and I’ve spent countless hours reading about old west history and watched countless documentaries as well. Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War is what I followed the most, but since I love old west history one would think westerns would be among my favorite genres, which to some degree it is. When I love a western such as High Noon or Tombstone its not only one of my favorite westerns but among my favorite film of all time, but as much as I enjoy the western genre I never really clicked with it as much as other genres.

At the time A Fistful of Dollars was released Clint Eastwood was a TV star with the now classic Rawhide and apperently due to his contract he couldn’t take roles in Americsn films and that’s how he ended up taking the role as the Man with No Name (in the film and credits Joe is given as his name so not exactly Man with No Name, but that was a marketing gimmick by MGM). Taking the role here ended up being a good thing and it started off Clint’s film career and he’d become one of the most iconic tough guy actors and later one one the very best filmmakers in Hollywood. This film would also start a great run for Sergio Leone who is seen as one of the all time great filmmakers. A Fistful of Dollars is an excellent film and while I’m not as high on it as others, but at the end of the day there is good reason for the films reputation.

The screenplay by Victor Andres Catena, Jaime Comas & Sergio Leone is fairly good, but also sort of lacks depth in plot and characters. Joe (Eastwood) shows up into town and gets involved in a feud between two families in an attempt to make himself rich. It’s never mentioned why Joe is doing this or how he knows of the bad blood and some of the kind things he does is never explained however this doesn’t hurt the film at all and if anything helps the film as Joe is very much a mystery and it really adds to his character. As for the rest of the characters the lack of depth on them does slightly hinder the film in spots. Overall the script is for the most part well done, but I do think its also the films biggest flaw.

As director Sergio Leone crafts a fun and exciting film with some fantastic action scenes and while they aren’t anything epic their simple, but highly effective. The pace of the film starts off quite strong, but does get a little sluggish in the middle with a couple of hokey scenes as well, but I’d place more of the blame on the script rather than the directing. While I’m no expert on westerns A Fistful of Dollars along with the Magnificent Seven did start a bit of a change in these films and Leone does offer something different here than what was out there even if I don’t rate the film as highly as others do and the IMDb top 250, A Fistful of Dollars clocks in at number 223 and for me personally again I wouldn’t rate the film that high, but with that said Sergio Leone crafts a very good film that helped take the western to another level.

Clint Eastwood is one of my very favorite actors of all time and I don’t think anyone is better than he is in the tough guy role, but Clint even at the start of his film career had a truly great onscreen presence that most actors can never reach. Clint is the ideal film star and hero and here he’s as good as ever.

Overall A Fistful of Dollars is a very good film and even if I don’t love the movie as much as others do I still very much enjoyed it.

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The Dead Pool (1988) Review

Posted in Dead Pool with tags , , , on August 10, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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THE DEAD POOL

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Dirty Harry Just Learned a New Game

Release Date- July 13th, 1988

Running Time- 91-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Steve Sharon

Director- Buddy Van Horn

Starring- Clint Eastwood, Patricia Clarkson, Liam Neeson, Evan C. Kim, Michael Currie

Released in 1988 The Dead Pool is the 5th and final film of the Dirty Harry series, which started in 1971. The franchise is one of the most iconic and influential crime/dramas/action films and many other films have taken elements from the series. The Dead Pool by some is considered the weakest of the series and I would agree yet also disagree. All 5 each have something to offer; I like all 5 films when it comes to the weakest Magnum Force, which is an excellent film is a little longer than need be and there aren’t enough of those classic Dirty Harry moments. The Enforcer like Magnum Force is also excellent and the interactions between Eastwood and Tyne Daly are classic stuff, but the plot just wasn’t strong enough to rely on it solely and needed perhaps a couple of more subplots. The Dead Pool like the other two I mentioned has its weaknesses and strengths, but I would probably rate this one behind both Magnum Force and the Enforcer. The one thing for me though is even a lesser Dirty Harry film is still a solid and fun movie.

By the time Dead Pool was released in 1988 we had Lethal Weapon come out in 1987 and in 1988 Die Hard and we can see the influence the Dirty Harry series had on both those franchises. As much as I enjoyed the Dead Pool in my opinion the Dirty Harry films I think by this part the formula was getting a bit stale and even though its not the traditional franchise since it really doesn’t matter, which one you see first its still a franchise and by this point you really can’t stray and with the emergence of Lethal Weapon and Die Hard, times were changing and Dead Pool was also the lowest grossing and I think with times changing and this being the 5th of the Dirty Harry films the series just sort of ran out of steam, but again with that said Dead Pool is still an excellent film.

After busting a crime boss Harry Callahan (Eastwood) has become a local celebrity. Harry ends up in a dead pool, which is a list of celebrities that are likely to die. On the list a couple of people are found dead, which brings Harry onto the case.

The screenplay by Steve Sharon is well written and entertaining however by this time the formula for the Dirty Harry films were growing a bit old and at times certain aspects the series is known for was getting a little tiresome. The plot was interesting, but doesn’t work as well as it should. The characters though are strong and interesting and help keep the script moving along. By no means was the Dead Pool poorly written as the script is fairly good, but it just doesn’t add anything new and by this point again the formula was getting a little old and that’s why hurts the script more than anything else.

As director Buddy Van Horn delivers an entertaining flick that’s mostly well paced. While all the Dirty Harry films had comedic scenes, but they were also very gritty at times. The Dead Pool is mostly played light and it almost seems like a satire of the past films. At times while watching the Dead Pool I couldn’t help, but feel I’ve seen this done in past films and done better, which isn’t really a knock on Buddy Van Horn, but Dead Pool could have used a little more originality.

Overall the Dead Pool is a solid and entertaining film, but in the end the formula was clearly growing tiresome and sort of bogs the production down, but even a lesser Dirty Harry film provides a lot of fun and the Dead Pool is no exception.

Jim Carrey billed as James Carrey has a bit part of drug addict rock star turned actor and look for Guns N’ Roses in a couple of brief scenes.

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Sudden Impact (1983) Review

Posted in Sudden Impact with tags , , , on July 9, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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SUDDEN IMPACT

**** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Dirty Harry Is At It Once Again

Release Date- December 9th, 1983

Running Time- 119-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Joseph C. Stinson (Story- Earl E. Smith & Charles B. Pierce

Director- Clint Eastwood

Starring- Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Bradford Dillman, Audrie J. Neenan and Pat Hingle

Released in 1983 Sudden Impact is the 4th of 5 in the Dirty Harry series and the only one directed by star Clint Eastwood. It’s difficult to say which film is my favorite since in my opinion all 5 have something to offer and while the original film Dirty Harry is the more popular choice if I were forced to pick I just may have to go with Sudden Impact, which has a terrific script and top notch direction by Eastwood. Sudden Impact has everything I love in a movie and at times the film does have a hint of exploitation. Like I said Dirty Harry is the common pick for the best of the series and I can’t argue against it, but again I still think I go with Sudden Impact as this film for me is just a complete blast from beginning to end.

Based on what I read originally the script was written by Earl E. Smith who wrote the cult classic Town That Dreaded Sundown and was co-written by Charles B. Pierce who directed the Town That Dreaded Sundown and originally Sudden Impact was meant to be an original film which focused on Sondra Locke as the lead, but later rewritten by Joseph C. Stinson and changed to a Dirty Harry sequel. Both Smith and Pierce get a story credit, but no screenwriting credit. I have no idea how much of Smith’s & Pierce’s story made into the final product, but either way I think the ideas presented in Sudden Impact were excellent.

Jennifer Spencer (Locke) was gang raped along with her sister and now she’s out for revenge on the attackers. Harry once again in trouble is put on a suspension of sorts where for the time being he’s relocated to just outside San Francisco and assigned the case, which becomes an interesting dilemma for Harry.

The screenplay by Joseph C. Stinson is great as its well plotted with solid characters and Dirty Harry was at his best here. The Dirty Harry films are often seen as vigilante films, which is true to a certain degree. However in the original Dirty Harry the final act he pretty much goes off on pursuit of the villain in his own and Sudden Impact also has Harry going rogue. So the films have vigilante elements, but I still for the most part wouldn’t see them as vigilante films. With that said vigilante justice has been explored in the series with Magnum Force and here with Sudden Impact, but I would label half this film a vigilante movie since Jennifer is killing the people who raped her and her sister. Unlike in Magnum Force where the vigilantes are the villains, Jennifer isn’t and she’s totally justified. The script is the best of the series outside of the original, but a case can be made for this.

If anything Sudden Impact is almost a highlight reel of a best of as the first hour features various subplots with my favorite being when Harry ends up having to stop a robbery while getting his coffee. The 2nd hour is when the main plot really starts to kick in and I think the fact the film has so many different subplots going only enhances the film. This plot device can also be a disaster as the the film can be disjointed with no identity, but in my opinion it worked brilliantly in Sudden Impact. Like I said in many ways Sudden Impact felt like a highlight reel with all these subplots for Harry.

Clint Eastwood stepped into the directors chair for the first and only time in the Dirty Harry series. Sudden Impact is well paced and always exciting. With the first hour more focus is put on the subplots and Eastwood delivers some of the most exciting scenes in the series. Sudden Impact is a lot of fun early on with never a dull moment. The 2nd half is when the main plot really gets going and Eastwood still keeps the pace moving along. At times Sudden Impact has a fun tone and in others it almost takes an exploitation feel and some felt the mixture didn’t fully work, but Eastwood is such a fantastic director he in my opinion really mixed it well and Sudden Impact is well made, exciting and thrilling. Eastwood has made many great films and Sudden Impact easily rates as one of my favorites along with Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino.

Clint Eastwood is an icon in Hollywood as both an actor and director and for good reason. Acting wise this is one of my favorite Eastwood performances; in general Eastwood made a career on playing Dirty Harry type characters and Sudden Impact rates in my opinion as one of his best performances (Gran Torino takes spot spot). Some felt Sondra Locke was a bit weak in her role and I completely disagree. Locke’s character is meant to be sort if detached and a little cold in her pursuit of revenge and I thought she was terrific.

Overall Sudden Impact is a great film in my opinion. I love how the film had so many subplots before getting into the main plot. Sudden Impact has great comedic moments, great action, but it also has a darker edge as well and I felt all this worked great and the more I think about it Sudden Impact is for sure my favorite.

Albert Popwell makes his 4th and final appearance in the Dirty Harry franchise. In each part he played a different character and here in Sudden Impact he plays a good guy for the first time playing Horace King who is on the police force.

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Magnum Force (1973) Review

Posted in Magnum Force with tags , , on July 7, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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MAGNUM FORCE

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Clint Eastwood is Dirty Harry in Magnum Force

Release Date- December 25th, 1973

Running Time- 122-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- John Milius & Michael Cimino

Director- Ted Post

Starring- Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, David Soul, Felton Perry, Tim Matheson, Kip Niven, Robert Urich

Released in 1973 Magnum Force is the 2nd film in the Dirty Harry series and this like the rest of the series doesn’t fail to entertain, but with that said in my opinion this just might be the weakest installment (if not this the Enforcer, which is still a good film) but even a lesser Dirty Harry film is still an excellent movie. The plot was one of the more interesting ones of the series as it deals with vigilante cops. More often than not people often list the Dirty Harry films in with the vigilante film, but I’d disagree. While yes Harry does bend the rules and often gets into hot water with the police department and will sometimes when not working confront a bad guy, but Harry is still on the force even if his methods get him in trouble. Basically he strays from the system, but never fully departs from it. Though with that said the final act of Dirty Harry and Sudden Impact a case can be made for Harry being a vigilante, but with that said along with Death Wish, the Dirty Harry films have influenced the vigilante genre, but in no way do I see these films as vigilante movies for the most part.

As I stated Magnum Force is an excellent film even if I see it as maybe the weakest of the series and while this does feel like a Dirty Harry movie in someways it also doesn’t. Normally Harry is sarcastic and a bit grumpy and while he’s like that here we also see a different side of Harry and in my opinion as far as the character goes he’s a bit different here than the others at times. Normally in these films Harry has these epic character moments like in the first film, did I fire 5 shots or 6 and Sudden Impact with my favorite scene of the series when Harry goes to get his coffee and ends up having to stop a robbery. Magnum Force doesn’t really have those moments with the exception of Harry posing as a pilot to stop a hijacking. Also the plot for Magnum Force seems a little more focused as there aren’t many subplots though with that said it really isn’t until the end when we find out the motives for the vigilante cops and even than there really isn’t a major explanation on why these particular characters are doing this though another character gets more of an explanation, but can’t say much as I don’t want to spoil it. I loved the idea behind Magnum Force as I love vigilante films and of all the movies I thought the plot was probably the most interesting, but just along the way doesn’t work as well as it really should have, but again regardless Magnum Force still packs a punch and Eastwood again shows why he’s one of the most iconic actors Hollywood has ever scene and perhaps we’ll never see anyone that can rival Eastwood.

Various criminals that have somehow escaped justice are being gunned down and executed by a vigilante cop, which we later learn is part of a death squad of cops. These vigilante cops not only kill the felon, but even innocent people or fellow cops if they get in the way of their vigilante justice.

As I stated I felt this had the most interesting plot and screenwriters John Milius & Michael Cimino craft a solid script, but this one does lack those character moments from the other installments. However characters are fairly decent and the interactions between the characters is often entertaining, but the problem is the the plot while interesting isn’t strong enough to run at just over 2-hours and while this is more of an editing problem than writing there still wasn’t enough done with the story, which had potential to be a lot more. Like I mentioned earlier Harry doesn’t quite have those epic character moments, but Eastwood is so brilliant as Dirty Harry he brings more to this film than the script had to offer. Where the script highly succeeds is it does raise some interesting points on vigilante justice and where would it be simply an execution rather than wanting to do the right thing. Overall the script is well written and again I love the idea, but it seems to me there was some missed potential and while it fits into the series it also at times almost feels as if it could have been its own film and not really needing to be a Dirty Harry film.

Director Ted Post delivers a solid if not flawed film. The pacing can be a little uneven, but I’d say that had more to do with the running time than direction. The action scenes are excellent and fun and like the other installments Magnum Force also has thriller elements and the death of the hooker has an almost exploitation type feel going for it. While not as well done as the classic original film, Ted Post makes a solid film that has plenty of entertaining moments only brought down by the fact the story just wasn’t strong enough to justify the 2-hour running time.

Clint Eastwood has a legendary status for a reason and as Dirty Harry its in my opinion his signature role. Harry is one of the most iconic characters and Eastwood’s performance is the reason. Magnum Force has an excellent cast of actors who would later go on to a lot of success. We have David Soul (Starsky and Hutch), Robert Urich (Spenser for Higher) and Tim Matheson (Animal House) and proven actors such as Hal Holbrook and Mitchell Ryan. Out of the entire series I think Magnum Force had the best cast and this in part helped make up for some of the flaws.

Overall Magnum Force is an excellent entry to the Dirty Harry series and while it may be the weakest in my opinion at the end of the day it’s more than entertaining enough to make up for some of the flaws. Eastwood doesn’t fail to deliver and again while I felt the film could have been more it still serves its purpose.

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The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) Review

Posted in Outlaw Josey, Wales, The with tags , , , , on August 10, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

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THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES

**** Out of 5

Tagline- An Army of One

Release Date- June 30th, 1976

Running Time- 135-Minutes

Rating- PG

Screenplay- Phil Kaufman & Sonia Chernus (Forrest Carter, Gone to Texas)

Director- Clint Eastwood

Starring- Clint Eastwood, Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, Paula Trueman, Sam Bottoms, Geraldine Keams and John Vernon

Released in 1976 The Outlaw Josey Wales is a classic Eastwood western, which has become a fan favorite and besides starring, Eastwood also directs the movie. Clint Eastwood has made a career playing tough no nonsense characters and Josey Wales, continues that tradition. If anything my only complaint with Outlaw Josey Wales is that the plot is a bit weak; after the murder of his family by Union soldiers, Wales ends up joining the Rebel army and hunts down members of the Union, but with the war ending every rebel group surrenders including the group, which Wales is in, but of course Wales is the only one that won’t surrender and the Union is now on the hunt for him, but Wales shows up and kills several and is now on the run and on his path he ends up joining forces with several misfits.

The screenplay by Phil Kaufman & Sonia Chernus is based off the novel Gone to Texas by Forrest Carter and since I haven’t read the novel I cannot compare the two. The murder of Josey’s family is why he joins the Rebels, but honestly if the opening scene had been edited out it really wouldn’t impact the movie. While that might take away the reason for him joining and not surrendering, but I don’t think viewers would question anything. As I stated the plot was a bit weak, but what it might lack in plot it makes up for in some really great characters. None of the characters have a lot of depth, but they are likeable. I really enjoyed watching all these really fun characters and even if they lack any real depth I did find myself rooting for them all and so while the plot might lack the characters are excellent. Also this has to be one of the most quotable movies I’ve ever seen; despite any problems with the script it also gets a lot right and turns out to be a winner.

As director this was a little different than some of Eastwood’s other work. In general Eastwood isn’t a very flashy filmmaker and I like that about him, but with Outlaw Josey Wales he shows a nice eye for visuals and while at times the pacing can be a little sluggish in certain areas however it’s never boring, but Eastwood puts together some excellent action sequences and while nothing about these scenes may stand out they are exciting and movies like this remind me why I love action films from the 70s. Clint Eastwood has directed some truly great movies and while this may not reach the epic heights of some of his other directorial efforts I would still rate this as one of my favorites.

Clint Eastwood delivers an excellent performance and as much as I love Eastwood it doesn’t have a lot of depth as an actor, but he plays the no nonsense tough guys better than perhaps any actor out there. This would rate in my top 5 Eastwood performances and Josey easily being one of my favorite characters he played, but it’s Chief Dan George as Lone Watie that steals the show with an hysterical performance, Paula Trueman as Grandma Sarah also is hysterical and her scenes with Dan George are golden; and Geraldine Keams as Little Moonlight is also another highlight. All the actors are great here, but those mentioned are the ones that stick out the most.

In closing Outlaw Josey Wales isn’t a perfect film as it is again a little light on plot, the characters even if great do lack depth and the pacing while solid can also be a bit sluggish in spots, but with that said this is a fine western and a must see for western or Eastwood fans and again despite any flaws it doesn’t really hurt the film much and this is another winner in the legendary career of Clint Eastwood.

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