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The Enforcer
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Enforcer More at IMDbPro »

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27 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

A competent action but a noticeable lack of depth and subtlety…

7/10
Author: Righty-Sock (robertfrangie@hotmail.com) from Mexico
2 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Harry Callahan quickly establishes his action-not-words by driving his car through a liquor store window to free the owners, who are being held as hostages… Demoted to the personnel department, he scorns bureaucracy in general and in particular the Mayor's policy of attracting women into the force, but he is saddled with one, Kate Moore (Tyne Daly) as his by now obligatory 'minority' partner…

Insp. Callahan finds black militants are not his enemies but his allies: when 'Big' Ed Mustapha (Albert Popwell), the black leader, is arrested to boost the Mayor's prestige, Harry actually resigns this time and continues his pursuit of the revolutionaries as a loner… His female aide risks her own job to he1p him and eventually they chase a prime suspect through the seamy 'massage parlor' underworld of the city and kill a leading gang member, who has disguised, herself as a nun… And discovering that the Mayor is being held captive on Alcatraz Island, they make for an abandoned fortress for the final shootout…

The film is a step backwards in style and content from the previous two… Harry seems to have reverted to his first incarnation: 'What kind of a department are we running when we're more concerned with the rights of the criminals than of the people we're supposed to be protecting?' and displays unusual brutality in roughing up a man who feigns heart attacks instead of paying his restaurant bills…

Advertised as the 'dirtiest Harry of them all,' it is also the weakest… Without the experience of Siegel or Milius to help him, Eastwood took a gamble on James Fargo, his assistant director on some of his previous films and the result was competent action but a noticeable lack of depth and subtlety…

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Tough cop Harry Callahan is called on once again and he goes after nasty terrorists

6/10
Author: ma-cortes
15 June 2009

This is the third entry in Harry Callahan's popular series , the first is the classic ¨Dirty Harry ¨(1971) by Don Siegel , the second is ¨Magnum Force¨ by Ted Post . This time has a female partner ( Tyne Daly ) who is assigned when his ordinary pal ( John Mitchum ) is wounded . And they try to track down some dangerous terrorists ( Michael Cavanagh , Veren , among others ). Then the terrorists hijack the Mayor ( John Crawford ) of City San Francisco . As always , two-fisted Callahan , the tall and taciturn inspector utilizing his Magnum 44 pistol kills the baddies. Rock-hard cop Harry abuses the murderer's civil rights , however facing his superiors , a captain(Bradford Dillman) and a Lieutenant ( Harry Guardino ) . Rule-breaking Callahan strides grimly throughout San Francisco in pursuit the murderous , including an exciting final on Island-prison of Alcatraz.

Formula thriller plenty of action , crisply edition , tension, suspenseful and lots of violence . Appropriate and atmospheric musical score by Jerry Fielding . Less effective than ¨Dirty Harry¨ but still gripping and stirring . Colorful and adequate cinematography , reflecting splendidly the streets of San Francisco , habitual scenario of the series . The motion picture is professionally directed by James Fargo who also made other vehicles for Eastwod ( Every which way but loose ) and for Chuck Norris ( Forced vengeance ) . Followed by ¨Sudden impact¨ with Sandra Locke and ¨Dead pool¨ with Liam Neeson . Rating : Good, 6,5 . Well worth seeing for Clint Eastwood fans and Harry Callahan's followers . It's a cool companion to Dirty Harry classic, an amusing film with several scenes that'll have you on the edge of your seat.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyable on its own. Not quite a Harry movie, but a Clint movie

Author: bamptonj from Melbourne
6 November 2001

I think many fans have mixed feelings about THE ENFORCER. It represents both a departure from and an adherence to the familiar Harry tradition. However, despite its many shortcomings, it excludes a great 70s feel.

Fans of the first two installments will still delight in Harry's struggles with bureaucracy in the department, and to this end Bradford Dillman is a valuable addition to the series as the new Chief. Once again, Clint has some killer dialogue but while for the most part he is as stern as in his previous performances, some of his lines are offered just a little too sparingly and nonchalantly.

The villains – this time a group of mere misfits who kidnap the Mayor of San Francisco for a ransom of five million dollars – just aren't as menacing as the crooks in DIRTY HARRY and MAGNUM FORCE. There's no mystique surrounding their identity and their performances are particularly flat and nondescript (even to the point where their plot points may wash over you and you momentarily lose your place.)

The script begins very promisingly with Harry being assigned a female partner. The relationship that develops between the two - as Harry is forced to deal with his subconscious sexist prejudice – leads to some surprising comical moments, and this addition to the dynamic of the usual animosity between Harry and his partners comes across very well.

The soundtrack is overwhelmingly orchestral giving THE ENFORCER a Hollywood music make-over instead of the usual gritty and upbeat Lalo Schrifin score which was used to full effect earlier. The chase scene in which Harry ends up in the Church builds up some tension and only serves thereby to remind the viewer of a hitherto absence of the moody jazz that was so prevalent in the original.

The original Dirty Harry's success was not due to any specific formula but rather was the result of a film full of subtleties. These subtleties included a perfect music score, a balanced tension between Harry and his partners, Harry's contempt for the red tape of police bureaucracy, and the sinister nature of the villain(s). Together, these dynamics made the original two movies stronger than the sum of their parts: THE ENFORCER is simply not as magical. This is a great pity. For the next Harry outing would see an older, greyer, and wrinklier Clint - and the series could only ever descend into some sort of parody.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

What can Dirty Harry not take on?

7/10
Author: lost-in-limbo from the Mad Hatter's tea party.
5 September 2008

For me the sequels to "Dirty Harry" never came close topping the original, but I thoroughly enjoyed and think highly of them anyway... well maybe with the exception of "The Dead Pool". Each one seemed to add its own distinguishable touch to the typical formula. The third film (and probably the cheapest, as it looks like it) of the series 'The Enforcer' seemed to have that swinging and carefree vibe of the times, with the biting reality and stark realisations (heavily implemented in the first two) taking a backseat for forceful (if crass) humour. However the violence is still gritty, mean, explosive and openly displayed. Director James Fargo ('Forced Vengeance', 'Every Which Way But Loose', 'Caravans' and 'A Game for Vultures') has appeared in some of Eastwood's early films as assistant director, and here he paces it well-enough and let's the foundation play out more like an expansive low-key action fling filled with the constant buddy routines (as Harry is paired up with a young green-horn female detective fidgety played by Tyne Daly. Who does bring an authentic and potent side to her role) that are credibly developed, long-winded build-ups finishing off with brute force and the quick-witted response. Harry also has got a catch-phrase… just 'marvellous'.

Eastwood laconically pulls it off with dominant ease and certain authority of truly delving into this character (as now there's more to that monomaniacal search for one's own justice), as his hands out punishment (against a bunch of terrorists who call themselves 'The People's Revolutionary') and has time to let fly what he really thinks. Copping the cynical barbs are amusing support performances by Harry Guardino, John Crawford and Bradford Dillman. The bad guys here aren't overly memorable, but the DeVeren Bookwalter bestows a steely glance and has a quietly dangerous psychotic air to him. Showing up again, but in another different character is the wonderful Albert Popwell.

I never tire of the San Francisco locations (where most of the films are shot), and the camera superbly details the on-screen action and striking background features. What I like about the ending of these earlier 'Dirty Harry' films, was how they weren't afraid to end on such an powerful note involving something represented visually to express the mindset, as the camera slowly zooms out and the harrowing score cues in. On the point about the music. I would say I was a little put off by the racy and bouncy jazz score arrangement of composer Jerry Fielding (who by-the-way has done some magnificent scores for films of Sam Peckinpah, Michael Winner and Clint Eastwood) just didn't have the stinging, sombre and self-reflecting quality of Lalo Schifrin's efforts. That's not to say it was bad or felt out of place, because it didn't with the feel that this one opted for. But a darker or more subtle take could've done it wonders since Fielding has chalked up some jarringly bold pieces in other films.

The script has some political context (home-grown terrorism, political correctness and equal-gender opportunity), but always stays true to the story than trying to undermine or overdo it. While it should be predictable, it does keep one step ahead and offers a surprise or two.

An up-to-par sequel.

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15 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

OK, not quite "marvelous"

6/10
Author: Michael Dyckman from Forest Hills, New York, USA
8 November 1999

Kindler, gentler Dirty Harry film which puts our bureaucracy-hating, crime-busting hero with a female partner played by Tyne Daly, who would later achieve fame on "Cagney & Lacey" and is currently seen on "Judging Amy." Thin plot, some classic Eastwood quotes, but the villains can't match Andy Robinson from "Dirty Harry" or David Soul from "Magnum Force." This might be the weakest Harry of the bunch.

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18 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

The dirtiest Harry of them all

7/10
Author: (chvylvr80@aol.com) from Northridge, California
4 April 2003

This movie continues the tradition of Clint Eastwood making great movies. The Enforcer is not the best of the Dirty Harry films, but it isn't the worst of them either. (The Dead Pool is). Don't get me wrong, they are all great flicks and I enjoy all of them but there is a best to worst order to these movies. The Enforcer is filled with Harry's dry humor and tough talking dialogue. 1976 San Francisco is filmed beautifully and provides a great background as in all the Dirty Harrys. The music is suitably funky. A bit dated, but funky. Tyne Daly does a good job as Harry's spunky new partner. Tyne Daly wasn't bad lookin' in 1976 either. I'm sure Tyne misses those days. Bottom Line: Must have this movie to complete the Dirty Harry collection. It's a good tough-cop movie on it's own but I suggest getting all these films. Get the box set on DVD.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Keeps "Dirty Harry" Alive and Well

8/10
Author: jhclues from Salem, Oregon
7 July 2002

In this third chapter from the Book of Dirty Harry Callahan, there's plenty of action as Harry breaks in a new partner and goes after a ruthless bunch, some self-proclaimed revolutionaries who are nothing more than common criminals, in `The Enforcer,' directed by James Fargo, and starring Clint Eastwood and Tyne Daly. And beyond the action, it's a film that manages to make a valid statement about bureaucratic nonsense, as well as the lack of common sense employed by those ensconced in the budding agenda of `political correctness,' who put an emphasis on image over purpose and results. Mostly, though, it gives the audience a chance to share vicariously in the triumph of good over evil, as Harry once again metes out justice in his own inimitable way.

After taking charge and cleaning up a hostage situation in a way that only `Dirty Harry' can, Harry (Eastwood) is assigned to a desk job in personnel. But when his partner, Frank DiGiorgio (John Mitchum) goes down on the job during the robbery of a munitions warehouse, Harry is back on the street, but with a new partner, Kate Moore (Daly), one of the first female inspectors in the country. And Harry puts her through her paces as they attempt to track down this particularly volatile gang, who seemingly put little value on human life as they cut their swath through the city of San Francisco and pursue their own `for the people' agenda, which in reality means they want to get their hands on as much cash as possible, and plan to hold the city hostage to do it. But they had better think again; because when they took down Frank, they inadvertently provoked the ire of Inspector Callahan himself, who does not take kindly to their sort to begin with.

James Fargo is in the director's chair for this one, and he comports himself well, recapturing all of the attitudes and elements that made the first two `Dirty Harry' films so successful. Fargo sets a good pace and keeps the story on at least an equal footing with the action, which keeps this one involving. Giving Harry a female partner puts some added interest into the mix as well, in light of the fact that this film was made in an era in which women were just beginning to emerge in such positions, on the screen or otherwise. `Cagney and Lacey,' for instance, was still some five or six years away, and Kathleen Turner's `V.I. Warshawski' wouldn't make an appearance until 1991. Initially, the film takes something of a patronizing attitude toward her, but Harry treats her as an equal from the beginning, and in the end, Inspector Moore emerges as a strong character, gender aside. Most importantly, that is not the focus of the filmmakers here, and the fact that Moore is a woman is little more in the overall scheme of things than a footnote in cinematic history; Moore is just another character in the `Dirty Harry' saga, and she's a good one (especially when compared to Harry's partner, Al Quan-- played by Evan C. Kim-- in `The Dead Pool'). And credit Fargo with insuring that it all blends together naturally within the context of the story, as well as the fact that he keeps the relationship between Callahan and Moore on task, and allows it to develop quite credibly. All in all, it's a good, collaborative effort from all concerned.

What really gives this one that ring of authenticity, however, is that Clint Eastwood is in top form, and even in his third outing as Harry seems more immersed in the character than ever. And, in the final analysis, story aside, it's the `Dirty Harry' character that makes these films so popular and successful. Creating a cinematic icon is no easy task, and that's precisely what Eastwood has done with Harry; and it's gratifying to see that he is willing to give that 110% at this stage of the game, in order to maintain the credibility of the character and the films, as well. A lesser actor would have taken this kind of success to the bank by now, while possibly allowing the character to slip into caricature rather than being concerned with keeping it real and convincing. It demonstrates what a pro Eastwood is, and why he commands the kind of respect afforded him within the industry.

Taking on the role of Kate Moore had to be a challenge for Tyne Daly, and happily, she succeeds quite well with it. She makes her character convincing by allowing her to develop in a `real time' manner; she doesn't just jump in there, full blown and ready to take on hardened criminals. Initially, she displays some intimidation in Harry's presence, which gives their relationship some realism from the beginning. After all, Harry IS an intimidating guy; add to that the fact that this is a new job for Moore, which in reality would create a level of discomfort for anyone, anywhere. And Daly has tapped into all of that with her portrayal of Moore, making her a very believable character, and one of the most memorable from among the five `Dirty Harry' films.

The supporting cast includes Harry Guardino (Lt. Bressler), Bradford Dillman (Capt. McKay), DeVeren Bookwalter (Bobby Maxwell), John Crawford (The Mayor), Samantha Doane (Wanda) and Albert Popwell as `Big' Ed Mustapha (look for Popwell in the original `Dirty Harry' as the Bank Robber; in `Magnum Force' as pimp J.J. Wilson; and again in `Sudden Impact' as one of Harry's partners, Horace). A well made and entertaining film, `The Enforcer' keeps the `Dirty Harry' series alive, well and on solid ground; in retrospect, it seems a shame now that Eastwood waited seven years to make the next installment, `Sudden Impact,' as with the dreadful `The Dead Pool' in 1988, it all ended with barely a whimper. The first four, however, more than make up for it-- and that's the magic of the movies. 8/10.

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19 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

As powerful as Clint Eastwood's .44 Magnum

9/10
Author: TheUnknown837-1 from United States
1 May 2006

This is the third installment of the Dirty Harry series, all starring the legendary four-times Academy Award-winning actor and director Clint Eastwood. Naturally, it's not as powerful and dramatic as the first of the series, because, once again naturally, sequels are difficult to make. Especially if you want them to live up to their proceeding movies.

"The Enforcer", like all five installments of the series, is a great action-crime film with it's own little individual plot and point. It's got plenty of decent action, Eastwood flaring away with his .44 Magnum revolver, punching bleeding holes through his challengers.

This movie has also got a pretty dramatic ending.

Overall, "The Enforcer" is another classic Clint Eastwood movie and definitely worth checking out and seeing a few times over.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Average sequel, that still lacks the original magic

Author: Aidan McGuinness from Dublin, Ireland
7 March 2002

"The Enforcer" is the third in the line of Dirty Harry movies. It's suffering from sequelitis - it's just not the original movie.

This time around Harry's up against a rather dull group of civilian terrorists. The enemies are weaker than in "Magnum Force" where they weren't nearly up to the psychotic Scorpio of the original. He's assisted by a female partner this time around, which provides for some amusing non-PC moments as Harry makes disparaging sexist remarks.

The problem is it's all getting a bit formulaic. The formula does work fairly well, but I'd like to see some more creativity employed. Harry does something wild to get his guy. Harry gets into trouble. Harry is called back because only he can save the day. Harry saves day but with a cost. The villains don't help by being unmemorable clichés, espousing the usual diatribe about being for the people. Harry is again ably played by Eastwood (the glove fits here) but .. there's nothing amazing about any of the other roles. All slip away from memory.

"The Enforcer" isn't a bad movie. It's just... an alright movie. It's worth catching if yer a fan of the series, but it's all a bit forgettable. 5.7/10

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Sometime You Need Neanderthals In The Department

8/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
3 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It might not be the best of the Dirty Harry films, but The Enforcer is my favorite one. This is the one where the sexist side of Inspector Harry Callahan is explored and challenged.

Clint Eastwood is now on some dead end assignment in the San Francisco PD because he's once again offended someone powerful. He's now reviewing applicants for promotion. But when a robbery occurs of an armory and some heavy duty weapons are stolen, the SFPD has to turn to Dirty Harry.

In this case something called the People's Liberation Strike Force with those weapons and explosives now start making demands on the city of San Francisco.

A lot of dead bodies pile up in this one, including John Mitchum in his third and final appearance in a Dirty Harry film. Mitchum was one of the detectives in the SFPD Homicide Squad and had a peripheral role in the first two films. Here he becomes Clint's partner and actually uncovers the hideout of the militants, but the leader gets the drop on him and kills him.

Harry Guardino returns as Eastwood's immediate superior, Guardino was absent from Magnum Force, he figured prominently as the constantly harassed superior. Bradford Dillman is an ambitious politically minded captain, who gets the liberal mayor, John Crawford's ear.

Tyne Daly gives the best performance, probably her best big screen role as the female partner Eastwood is assigned with. It's part of the new look the SFPD is being given. She's quite the inexperienced klutz at first, something Clint doesn't really need. In the end she really does redeem herself. And Clint loses a bit off the testosterone here.

The final shootout with the militants who've hidden out on deserted Alcatraz Island is the best climax of any of the Dirty Harry films. The Enforcer's got the best ending of any Dirty Harry film.

As you gather some punks chose to try their luck with Dirty Harry.

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