Archive for Dirty Harry

The Dead Pool (1988) Review

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


*** 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.






Sudden Impact (1983) Review

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


**** 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.
























Magnum Force (1973) Review

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


*** 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.