peteg's blog

The Enforcer

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On a Dirty Harry roll here. Rife with cliche, this one is. Eastwood does OK with a few more lines in his forehead in 1976, and it makes reference to the battle-hardened but adrift young men who returned from Vietnam just a few years before. The terrorists could have used some more back story, as I wonder how they were going to link the soldiers to San Quentin Prison. San Francisco is radiant again in that Technicolor treatment.

Sudden Impact

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Clint Eastwood / Dirty Harry slinks into the 1980s and things are so terribly modern. As producer / director / star here he tries out a lot of things and has no problem being heavy-handed about it. Unlike the first three this one really does get on board with the vigilante: Clint might think it helps that's she's blonde and pretty and victimised, but it's all pretty feeble in moral monochrome. This one isn't set so much in San Francisco as Santa Cruz, and some of the fantastic Technicolor is lost too. I guess we can say that while computer technology was embryonic in 1983, Hollywood had less of an excuse for pumping out this dreck.

Somewhat confusingly, Albert Popwell morphs from community organiser Mustapha in The Enforcer to cop Horace King. I missed him in Magnum Force.

I dunno if these were the template that the late-80s action movies were cut from (Die Hard and Arnie's ouevre in particular), but if not these then what? Clint is all-action, has all the best lines (or even the only), and in this we get a splendid Leone ripoff of the man-with-hand-canon in silhouette. I guess the 1980s weren't kind to many who made it out of the 1970s.

The Dead Pool

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... and that about wraps it up for Dirty Harry. It's 1988 and Clint must have run out of money, merely starring in this one with an unbelievably young Patricia Clarkson. The old lion needs a few wrinkles yet. This one is mercifully only 90 minutes. Perhaps the best thing in it is a pre-famous Jim Carrey proving that Guns and Roses will rot your brains. Liam Neeson always strikes me as a good actor who never does any good acting.