A New York City career woman becomes a vigilante after being raped by two car thieves.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denise Coward ...
Valarie Wells
...
Detective Marty Lowery
...
Willie
Robert Trumbull ...
Herbert
Rebecca Hollen ...
Peggy
...
Kosakowski
...
Raphael
Arnie Mazer ...
Sailor
Gary Majchrazak ...
Reggie
Tony Jaffe ...
Van Driver
Doug McCoy ...
Cooch Elliot
Steve Wise ...
Bruce Ryan
...
Detective Carter
Mischa Bogin ...
Hot Dog Vendor
...
Gun Salesman (as Tim Roselle)
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Storyline

Valarie is a happy, successful career woman, engaged to a charming and handsome man. She drives a great car and lives in a beautiful apartment. Then one night she hails the wrong taxi. She is brutally raped by the two car thieves who were taking a joyride. They leave her on the sidewalk to die after they're done with her. When she recovers, her fiancée abandons her, and with the police unable to help much in tracking down her attackers, Valarie buys a gun and takes to the gritty streets after dark, luring and killing street thugs who accosted her while searching for the two thugs to get her revenge. She becomes known in the press as the 'Dum-Dum Killer' because of the hollow-point bullets she pattens out and uses. At the same time, she begins dating a sympathetic police detective, named Marty, who takes an interest in her rape case, while tracking down the 'Dum-Dum Killer', and when he begins to suspect her, he is torn between upholding the law and protecting his newest love interest. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

police | taxi | vigilante | new york | rape | See All (20) »

Taglines:

The First Woman Vigilante See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 September 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dirty Harriet  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Valarie Wells: Any children?
Detective Marty Lowery: No, you?
Valarie Wells: I had one.
Detective Marty Lowery: You *had* one?
Valarie Wells: She was a hit and run victim, she was only 4 years old.
Detective Marty Lowery: They never got the driver?
Valarie Wells: No.
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Connections

Referenced in Remote Control (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Escape
Performed by Count Down
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Hey look, it's Charlene Bronson!
29 March 2016 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

Personally, I like it a lot when filmmakers (or their marketers…) include witty and tongue-in-cheek references towards other films in their own tag line, script or dialogs. There's one small but logical condition, though, and that is that the witty reference has to make sense and hints at a suitable title! The mastermind marketers behind this "Sudden Death" clearly weren't so smart… The tag line juicily states "don't mess with this Dirty Harriet!" which obviously refers to Clint Eastwood's character and milestone thriller classic "Dirty Harry", but he was a cop! Admittedly an unorthodox and trigger-happy cop, but a cop that is still on the right side of the law. Lead actress Denise Coward – what a terrible choice of artist name, by the way – depicts a traumatized victim of an unsolved crime who turns into a violent vigilante, so instead they could easily have referred to "Death Wish" by nicknaming the character Paula Kersey or – ha! - Charlene Bronson.

Right… apart from this pretty pointless intro rant, I actually haven't got much to say about this "Sudden Death". It's a very derivative, unmemorable and insipid vigilante thriller, like there were far too many of them during the first half of the eighties. It's not even remarkable that the avenging angel is a woman, since there is also Abel Ferrara's phenomenal "Ms. 45". Former miss Australia Denise Coward stars as a hard-working career woman who takes a taxi late one night in order to join her fiancé at a restaurant. Little does she know that the cab was just carjacked by a duo of sneering thugs that promptly rape the poor girl and leave her behind beaten half dead. During a slow recovery at the hospital, her fiancé encourages her to "forget" what happened while the tender macho copper Lowery informs her that the case most likely won't be solved. So what's a poor & frustrated girl to? She buys a Walther- 32, prepares a whole set of dumdum bullets and goes out to roam the streets in search of pervert, rapist pigs. She doesn't have to search very hard or long, although admittedly she poses a bit too flamboyantly as a prostitute to lure her victims. In spite of the vile subject matter, "Sudden Death" is intolerably tedious and slow- paced. The film literally drags itself from one violent execution sequence to the next with only dullness and irritating synthesizer music in between.


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