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|Index||102 reviews in total|
32 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
Dirty Harry is Back, Big time, 6 July 2002
Author: jhclues from Salem, Oregon
The vigilante has long held a fascination for audiences, inasmuch as it
evokes a sense of swift, sure justice; good triumphs over evil and the bad
guy gets his deserts. It is, in fact, one of the things that has made the
character of Dirty Harry Callahan (as played by Clint Eastwood) so popular.
He carries a badge and works within the law, but at heart, Harry is a
vigilante, meting out justice `his' way, which often puts him in conflict
with his own superiors, as well as the criminals he's pursuing. But it's
what draws the audience; anyone who's ever been bogged down in bureaucratic
nonsense of one kind or another, delights in seeing someone cut through the
red tape and get on with it-- even if it's only on the screen. And that
satisfaction derived from seeing justice done-- and quickly-- is one of the
elements that makes `Sudden Impact,' directed by and starring Eastwood, so
successful. In this one, the fourth of the series, while working a
homicide, Harry encounters a bona fide vigilante at work-- an individual
whose brand of justice parallels his own, with one exception: Whoever it
is, he's definitely not carrying a badge.
In his own inimitable way, Inspector Callahan has once again ended up on the bad side of the department and is ordered to take some vacation time. So he does; as only `Dirty Harry' can. In a small town north of San Francisco, Harry finds himself smack dab in the middle of a homicide case, which he quickly links to a recent murder in San Francisco because of the unique M.O. employed by the perpetrator. Unaccountably, Harry encounters resistance from the local Police Chief, Jannings (Pat Hingle), who advises him to take his big city tactics and methods elsewhere. Not one to be deterred, however, Harry continues his investigation, which ultimately involves a beautiful and talented young artist, Jennifer Spencer (Sondra Locke). Gradually, Harry discovers a link between the victims; the burning question, though, is where does Jennifer Spencer fit into the picture?
Eastwood is in top form here, both in front of and behind the camera, and it is arguably the second best of the five-film series, right behind the original `Dirty Harry.' It had been seven years since the last `Harry' offering (`The Enforcer,' 1976), but Eastwood steps right back into the character with facility and renewed vigor. And this one definitely benefits from having him in the director's chair, as he is able to recapture the essence of, not only his own character, but that `spirit' that made these films so successful, and he does it by knowing the territory and establishing a continuity that all but erases that seven year gap between #s 3 and 4. As with all the films he directs, Eastwood sets a deliberate pace that works perfectly for this material and creates just enough tension to keep it interesting and involving from beginning to end.
The screenplay, by Joseph Stinson, is well written and formulated to that distinctive `Dirty Harry' style; the dialogue is snappy and the story itself (conceived by Charles B. Pierce and Earl E. Smith) is the most engaging since the original `Dirty Harry,' as it successfully endeavors to play upon the very personal aspects of the drama, rather than entirely upon the action. The characters are well drawn and convincing, and, of course, this is the film that gave us one of Harry's best catch-phrases: `Go, ahead-- make my day...'
As Harry, Clint Eastwood perfectly embodies all of the elements that make this character so popular: He lives by a personal moral code, a true individual made of the kind of stuff we envision as that of the pioneers who settled this country and made America what it is today. Harry personifies that sense of freedom and justice we all strive for and hold so dear, possibly more so today than ever before. No matter who we are or where we come from, there's undeniably a part of us that wants to be Harry, or at least have him around. `Dirty Harry' is an icon of the cinema, and it's impossible to envision anyone but Eastwood portraying him; for better or worse, Eastwood `is' Dirty Harry, without question, just as Sean Connery is James Bond and Basil Rathbone, Sherlock Holmes.
Sondra Locke is entirely effective here in the role of Jennifer Spencer, a young woman wronged and out for vengeance, or as she sees it, `justice.' She manages to bring a hard-edged determination laced with vulnerability to her character, with a convincing, introspective approach that is far beyond what is typical of the `action' genre. Even amid the violence, Locke keeps her focus on Jennifer and the traumatic events that have brought her to this stage of her life. Her portrayal makes a perfect complement to Eastwood's Harry, and becomes, in philosophy and deed, something of his counterpart.
In supporting roles, two performances stand out: Paul Drake, as Mick, creates the best `psycho' since Andy Robinson's dynamic portrayal of the serial killer in the original `Dirty Harry.' With actually very limited screen time, Drake establishes a genuinely disconcerting presence that is believable and convincing, which adds much to the purely visceral response of the audience. This is the guy you can't wait to see Harry take care of in the end. Also effective is Audrie J. Neenan, who makes her character, Ray Parkins, the epitome of the proverbial `low life,' who can be found in any bar in any city. It's a performance that evokes a gut-level response, and it adds greatly to the credibility of the film, in that it helps provide that necessary sense of realism.
The supporting cast includes Albert Popwell (Horace), Mark Kevloun (Bennett) and Nancy Parsons (Mrs. Kruger). With a perfect blend of drama and action, `Sudden Impact' dispenses justice that is a fulfilling respite from reality; the perfect justice of a not-so-perfect world, that makes for a satisfying cinematic experience. 9/10.
21 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Harry is at it again, 4 September 2003
Author: chvylvr80 from Northridge, California
Sudden Impact is the 4th of the Dirty Harry films and one of the best traits of these films is that they don't really degrade in quality from one film to the next. Thus, Sudden Impact provides another thrill ride through the life of Dirty Harry Callahan. This time Harry attempts to solve a series of murders while on vacation. Harry's always on the job it seems. Clint Eastwood plays Harry as he plays all his men of action, slow, deliberate, and without fear. As the first of the Dirty Harry films to be made in the 80's, Sudden Impact lacks a bit of the 70's feel that characterizes the first three films. This doesn't mean that it's quality is any less. Bottom Line: Brimming with intensity and action, Sudden Impact is another worthy addition to the Dirty Harry series.
22 out of 33 people found the following review useful:
Clint doing what he does best.., 3 June 2005
Author: anxietyresister from United Kingdom
A rape victim is going around, bumping off her attackers one by one,
having been denied justice originally. A rather unconventional
detective, Callahan is put on the case.. but whose side will he take?
This is one of the most brutal films I've seen in quite some time. Virtually every scene seems to be a set-up for some punks to make the mistake of annoying our hero, who then proceeds to beat the living daylights out of them, or simply blows their heads off. I am 100% convinced that if any serving officer did what the Eastwood character gets away with in this film, he would not only be stripped of his badge, but also be looking at a considerable stretch in prison. Another striking aspect of the picture is the violence used against the fairer sex. The female cast members get punched in the face, kicked when on they're on the ground.. And that doesn't even include the constant flashbacks we get of Sondra Locke's sexual assault ordeal (We get one every time she carries out one of her revenge attacks on her aggressors). The misogyny displayed on screen is incredible and is unlikely to endear itself to anyone concerned about domestic violence.
So why am I recommending it? Well for a start, the film is well directed, with some very exciting gunfights and car chases which will keep you on the edge of your seat. But the main reason for watching is Clint himself, the evergreen icon giving us another classy performance as a veteran cop who might not share the ethics of the modern police force, but tends to do the job 10x better than his colleagues who do it all 'by the book'. If only we had someone like that here in Britain, perhaps this country wouldn't be the crime hotspot it is these days.. 6/10
14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Harry Meets The Worst Woman Since Ann Savage, 5 April 2006
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The fourth in the "Dirty Harry" series, this film features one of the
most despicable, ugliest, unlikable, profane, disgusting females I have
ever seen on film: "Ray Perkins," played by Audrie Neenan. She is the
modern nasty low-life version of the 1945 "Detour" character, "Ann
Her foul mouth and gutter attitude turned me off so much I never watched this film again until I acquired a profanity filter which shut her up....and least some of her! Then I could enjoy the rest of the movie.
Everywhere "Harry Callahan" (Clint Eastwood) goes, violence immediately follows.....within minutes! It happens so often it's almost laughable but it makes for a fast-moving, entertaining film with a satisfying ending as all the scumbag villains are eliminated one-by-one.
This is a very sophomoric film that appeals to our base instincts.....and connects, sad to say. Most of us like to see these dirtballs get it in the end, and who does it better than Dirty Harry?
12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Fourth Dirty Harry entry changes the formula to a darker, character-driven style.... interesting but not wholly successful., 11 December 2003
Author: Jonathon Dabell (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Todmorden, England
Sudden Impact is the most unusual of the five Dirty Harry movies, but that
doesn't make it the best. However, after the rather flat and comic-book
heroics of the third film, The Enforcer, it's good to see some changes to
the formula. Sudden Impact is quite a dark, moody piece of cinema with big
emphasis on character. Yes, there's action, but the action in this one is
only one piece of the jigsaw whereas in some of the other Dirty Harry
outings the action was everything.
Harry Callahan (Eastwood) is in hot water with his superiors for carrying out an illegal search on a suspicious car. The young thugs he arrested are released because of the lack of evidence, and they set out to take revenge on Harry. However, Harry is a tough nut to crack - and pretty soon he is striking back in his own destructive style. Harry's boss decides to get Harry out of town for a while to avoid further bloodshed, so he assigns him to a quiet murder investigation in an isolated coastal town. Harry pieces together the mystery and discovers that the killer is a female artist (Locke) who is bumping off a bunch of drop-outs who gang-raped her and her sister years previously. Should he arrest her for the killings, or should he turn a blind eye and let her do away with these repellent scum-bags?
The film is probably the second best in the series (the original is always going to be considered the best). Peculiarly, it is the only Dirty Harry movie upon which Eastwood also doubled up as director. It isn't a whole success, with some needless scenes (what's the point of the sequence detailing the hold-up of a coffee shop?) and a couple of overly hammy performances by the main villains (especially the trailer trash redhead). On the whole, though, this is a very interesting and unusual addition to the series which gets by on the strength of being totally different to all the other four episodes.
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Dramatic Harry, 7 April 2007
Author: BroadswordCallinDannyBoy from Boston, MA
Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan once again angers his superiors with
his maverick approach to police work. Refusing to take a vacation he is
given a simple case which takes him outside of San Francisco. However,
he soon discovers a link between a recent murder in the city and a
murder outside of the city, which leads him to the trail of a revenge
As an entry in the Dirty Harry franchise the film starts with some very promising moments, including the legendary "Go ahead, make my day" line that Eastwood delivers wonderfully through clenched teeth before single handedly foiling a robbery. Very badass and it just what fans can expect from him. However, the film soon shifts gears and focuses on the mysterious revenge killer. The problem is that this killer isn't all that mysterious as she is characterized as much as Harry is. This really detracts from the presence of the main character who ruled all of his previous film appearances with, pardon the pun, Magnum Force.
On the bright side this new storyline does draw several parallels to Harry's own unorthodox methods and gives his character dramatic depth that was not there before, but fans that were looking for another badass Harry outing will more than likely be somewhat disappointed. However, a tense climax ends the film on an exciting note so if you don't mind something a little different, it is a good movie for fans. --- 7/10
Rated R for violence and a rape scene
8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
A strange and surreal look at Dirty Harry, 29 July 2002
Author: Agent10 from Tucson, AZ
With Harry Callahan getting up in years, the inevitable `old man with a chip on his shoulder' story had to come into play eventually. Callahan, looking fragile sometimes and out of place, his demeanor still was unwavering. Thankfully, this film took some time off to develop a different type of story, one that might reinvent the Dirty Harry and the whole genre. While the film fell short in doing so, it was still an excellent addition to the series, even if it was getting a little out of place during a time of silly fashion trends and New Wave music.
9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Harry's back from the brink, 18 June 2001
Author: james ryan thompson (email@example.com) from Sheffield, England
The initial prospect of seeing 'Dirty Harry' part four was not an appetising
one following the lacklustre 'The Enforcer'. I was plesently surprised that
the film improved significantly on its predecessor, whilst adding something
new to the franchise.
Firstly Harry spends the majority of the film in some quiet coastal town investigating a series of revenge murders. I was also surprised when Clint's famous 'make me day' line cropped up in this film, I was sure it was from something more famous.
Sudden Impact to me is certainly the third best Dirty Harry flick. The plot is an interesting twist for Harry to negotiate, and the 'real' bad guys are seen as three dimentional characters. The film does contain the staple set pieces seen in all the Dirty Harry films, and they don't disappoint. The scene with the mafia boss is Harry at his best/ worse depending on your politics. Harry still clashes with his superiors who refer to him as a 'dinosaur' but in this one Harry is more like a private detective and the cops don't show up at the last minute as per usual.
'Sudden Impact' is a worthy addition to the Dirty Harry cannon, and Roger Moore era Bond gags aside (The comedy dog, particularly), this film spiced up Harry when I questioned the future of the franchise at the end of part three. This is not to say that they should have gone on to part five- they shouldn't have. Ideally this would have been released in the seventies, with say Cybil Shepherd or Ellyn Burnstein in the main female role, as for me Sondra Lock doesn't quite cut it. It's nice to see Albert Popwell again too, see it, just don't go any further than this 1983 Harry adventure.
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Great guns, 24 August 2003
Author: aajones from Stockton on Tees, England
The Dirty Harry series are great films. Forget reality and political correctness, just enjoy the films. Like the rest of the series the formula is perfect in Sudden Impact, a great actor delivering action, humour, thrills and excitement.
7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
lacking in some ways and stronger in others, it's a good- if mixed- Eastwood bag, 8 September 2005
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
It's a strange thing to see a film where some scenes work rather weakly
(if only in comparison to other films in its legacy), and others in a
'sub-plot' or supporting story are surprisingly provocative and strong.
Sudden Impact is one of those cases, where Clint Eastwood as
star/producer/director shows when he can be at his best, or at his
lessor of times when dealing with a crime/mystery/detective story in
his Dirty Harry fame. We get that 'make my day' line, and un-like in
the first film where his 'do I feel lucky' speech was playful and cool
the first time and the second time at the end tough as nails, here it's
switched around. He gets into another shamble with the department, as
usual, when he tries to fight crime 'his' way, in particular with a
diner robbery (inspiration for Pulp Fiction?) and with a high speed
pursuit with a senior citizen bus. He's told to 'take a vacation', and
that's the last thing on his mind. This whole main plot isn't very
convincing aside from the expectancy of the story and lines, which just
adds to the frustration. But soon his story merges with the sub-plot
that Eastwood develops from the start.
Enter Sandra Locke's character, Jennifer Spencer, whom we soon learn after some (appropriately) mysterious scenes that she and her shy sister were victims of a cruel, unjust sexual assault (err, outright rape), and is sleekly, undercover-like, getting revenge. Her scenes and story are the strongest parts of the film, the most intense, and finally when it goes into Callahan's storyline (he's getting facts in the same small town she's in on a murder), the film finally finds a focus between Eastwood's classic form of clearly defined good vs. evil (though sometimes blurred, to be sure). Eastwood films the flashbacks, not to say too much about them, expertly, in a fresh, experimental style; the trademark Lalo Schifrin score is totally atmospheric in these scenes and in others. It almost seems like a couple of times an art-house sensibility has crept into Eastwood's firmly straightforward storytelling style, which helps make the film watchable.
It's a shame, though, that in the end it goes more for the expectable (or maybe not expectable) points, and until the third act Callahan doesn't have much to do except his usual 'it's smith...Wesson...and me' shtick. However, with Locke he gets out of her a very good performance (more subtle and touching than the one in the Gauntlet) and an exciting climax at an amusement park. In a way I do and don't agree with Ebert's remark that it's like a 'music video' in Eastwood's style here. I admit there is comparisons with the simplicity of both, the directness, but the scenes where Eastwood does break form are superior to those of any music video. It's cheesy, it's hard-edged, it's not up to par with the first two 'Harry' pictures, but hey, there could be worse ways to spend a couple hours with the master of the .44.
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