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.
For Inspector 'Dirty' Harry Callahan, fame and celebrity status is not his lifestyle, especially when it interferes with his job. But right after putting one of San Francisco's crime bosses in prison, Callahan ends up in the status quo as well as being written in a list for a game called, 'The Dead Pool', where his life is now in the line along with other famous celebrities that are mysteriously dying. Callahan is up against the media attention, an enraged hit man, and a new killer, who's attempting to throw off the dead pool game anyway possible. Callahan has to find the connection between the killings and the perpetrator, before the game can be declared over. Written by
This was altogether too simple for the critics back in '88 -- the whole idea was to point the barrel of the joke right back at the criticism.
Whereas the previous Dirty Harry features sat on a platform of utter contempt for bureaucrats and political correctness, here it's expanded to contempt for journalists, and especially the subspecies of 'media critics'. As if they couldn't make it clearer, a 'movie critic' is murdered, and treated as an occurrence of 'death of celebrities by threes'.
Yes, this is explicitly about movie making; the previous four movies suffered from poor supporting casts that only got in the way of the narrative. Here Van Horn deliberately employs good actors to play bad genre roles and thus turns the series on its head.
Along the way, we get a nice comment on "Bullitt", this time deflating the over touted car chase with a gag: an explosives laden model '63 Z06 (instead of a fastback Mustang, to drive home the point).
By this time, the .44 Magnum is treated as a character, with a 'voice' that rolls off the cityscape like thunder...the bad guys run at the mere sight of it. To put the icing on the 'man with the biggest gun' motif, Clint dispatches the villain with an earlier one liner ("you're S.O.L.") and a movie prop harpoon. The elaborate conflation of sexual double entendre, humor and cowboy justice went soaring over many heads. Arnold wishes he was half this funny in "Last Action Hero".
Ah, we miss Harry...but his retirement to Carmel was both serendipitous and necessary. By the end of this, he's killed off every cartoon bad guy left in the movie universe, paving the way for both the dimensional villains of "Die Hard" and its ilk, AND the hosannas bestowed on "Unforgiven".
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