A hard but mediocre cop is assigned to escort a prostitute into custody from Las Vegas to Phoenix, so that she can testify in a mob trial. But a lot of people are literally betting that they won't make it into town alive.
A veteran cop, Murtaugh, is partnered with a young suicidal cop, Riggs. Both having one thing in common; hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one another to stop a gang of drug smugglers.
In Phoenix, the alcoholic and mediocre detective Ben Shockley is assigned by the Chief Commissary Blakelock to bring the witness Gus Mally from Las Vegas for a minor trial. Shockley travels to Vegas and finds that Gus Malley is an aggressive and intelligent prostitute with college degree and she tells him that the odds are against her showing up in court. Shockley learns that she will actually testify against a powerful mobster and the mafia is chasing them trying to kill them both. He calls Blakelock and request a police escort from Phoenix to protect them. But soon he discovers that someone is betraying him in the police department. Now, Shockley and Malley hijack a bus and Shockley welds thick steel plates and transforms the cabin in an armored bus trying to reach the Forum. But they will need to drive through a gauntlet of police officers armed with heavy weapons. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The entrance to the Phoenix Police Department seen twice in the first few minutes of the film is actually Phoenix Symphony Hall. The word, "Hall" can even be seen above the front doors. See more »
In the constable's car, there is a can of Tab sitting on the dash with the bar code side visible in all the head on shots. After Shockley and the constable return to the car from making the phone call the can of Tab is turned around to the front; easy to tell because the bar code box is missing and the Tab lettering is larger. See more »
A one-time Steve McQueen-Barbra Streisand vehicle until McQueen met Streisand, and subsequently a Clint Eastwood-Streisand vehicle until Eastwood met Streisand, The Gauntlet sees Clint sending up his Dirty Harry image as a none-too-smart washed out drunken cop escorting Sondra Locke's foul-mouthed "nothing witness in a nothing trial" from Las Vegas to Phoenix and finding the Mob and every cop in two States determined to stop them - even the Vegas bookies are taking bets on ever-lengthening odds (70-1) on their not making it. From the days when Clint still made films in broad daylight and could film interiors without turning all the lights out and seen as wildly over the top at the time (even the famed Frank Frazetta poster art offered Clint as a Conan-esquire muscular figure in ripped shirt with girl in one hand and gun in the other), now it's almost an exercise in naturalism for the genre. Sure there's more firepower on display that in all of Eastwood's previous films combined (including both Where Eagles Dare and Kelly's Heroes!), with cars, houses and buses shot to pieces with gleeful abandon while helicopters crash into power lines, but somehow Michael Butler and Dennis Shryack's script manages to sell the increasing absurdities in a perfectly conceived audience picture that's designed to entertain and does just that.
There's a nice line in self-deprecating wit that never quite crosses the line into outright stupidity and Eastwood's tight direction keeps the action moving without losing sight of the fact that it's the characters that really need to sell the film. Just as importantly the on screen relationship between Eastwood and Locke hadn't overstayed its welcome yet as it quickly would over their subsequent films, their initial vicious sparring giving way to genuinely convincing tenderness in the later scenes, giving you a pair you can actually root for. Great fun if you're not expecting gritty realism - like the end credit says, 'Law enforcement procedures depicted in this film do not necessarily depict those of any law enforcement agency mentioned herein.' No **** Sherlock.
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