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Dirty Harry Boxset
BLU-RAY disk
06.26.2008 By: Sturdy
Dirty Harry Boxset order
Don Siegel

Clint Eastwood
Michael Goodwin
Albert Popwell


star Printer-Friendly version
Dirty Harry: A rooftop sniper begins randomly picking off people in San Francisco. Detective Callahan is called in to investigate and ultimately catch the killer.

Magnum Force: Rogue cops have decided to take the law into their own hands and begin killing criminals all over the city. Harry investigates and uncovers a plot that runs deeper than he thought.

The Enforcer: A militant group begins a series of killings and bombings around the city and Harry is tasked with putting a stop to it. With the help of a new, female cop, he tracks them down and handles it like only he can.

Sudden Impact: Harry is sent out of town to investigate a murder. While there, he discovers a series of similar murders and ends up befriending a female that has close ties to the recently deceased.

Dead Pool: When a famous rock star is murdered on the set of a movie, Harry is called in to investigate. He uncovers a game involving a list of high profile celebrities expected to die first. Things get personal for him when he ends up on the list of celebrities expected to die.
I have to sheepishly admit that before watching any of these new Blu-ray releases, I couldnít recite the plot to any of the Dirty Harry films. I remember the famous lines and certain scenes, but I couldnít remember what actually happened in the films. So I was eager to sit down and re-watch these movies and catch up with one of the biggest bad-ass cops in film history.

Dirty Harry (3.5 stars): I was surprised right off the bat with the quality of this film. I really enjoyed it and was pleased about how well it has stood the test of time. Nowadays, Clint Eastwood is the older, sophisticated director, so itís easy to forget that once upon a time he was the ultimate tough guy. But this film isnít just Clint walking around being tough, it actually has a plot and turns out to be a high quality film. I absolutely loved the long pan out shot in the stadium and I thought the ending was perfectly fitting.

Magnum Force (2 stars): As much as I was surprised about how good the first one was, I was equally surprised about how bad the sequels turned out to be. I could tell from the beginning sequence that this was going to rely on the first filmís success to draw in an audience. This one wasnít horrible, but it felt like a long episode of your typical 80ís or 70ís cop show. I wouldíve liked a little bit of mystery in the film but as it turned out, they told the audience early on who the killer was.

The Enforcer (1.5 stars): Now weíre not even trying anymore. We still have a cool Clint Eastwood and a big gun, but the plot is full of holes and the dialogue is poor. Tyne Daly does a good job in prep for ďCagney and LaceyĒ, but sheís underused and really serves as a prop to Dirty Harry. The bad guys were very empty and I got bored quickly with the mean-captain routine.

Sudden Impact (2.5 stars): We make a slight upward turn with the fourth film in which Clint directed and produced. Itís a far cry from his great work today, but there are flashes of brilliance. As for the movie, it really wasnít about Dirty Harry as much as it was about the girl seeking revenge. It was a little slow moving and much darker than the previous two sequels. I liked the final showdown and the famous line in the beginning, but otherwise this one was pretty average.

Dead Pool (2 stars): This is much better than I remember it, but itís still very formulaic and a little mundane by todayís standards. I liked the small turn from Jim Carrey and it actually had me laughing, even though I donít think it was supposed to be funny. I also thought it had too many campy moments, especially with him holding the big harpoon at the end. However, my biggest problem with the film is that it didnít finish Harry off, either by killing him or having him retire. Of course, that means Clint can revisit it if he chooses, which might be a good thing now that heís honed his directing skills.
Dirty Harry

Commentary with Richard Schickel: Schickel is a critic and historian, so he didnít have any personal involvement in the film. He still offers enough analysis on the film to make it interesting from a historical and scholastic perspective, but may not provide enough tidbits for the casual fan.

Dirty Harry: The Original (29:45): This was a cool look back from Clint Eastwood and others involved with the films. It didnít focus solely on the first one, but rather looked at the entire series. Itís hosted by Robert Urich, who played one of the rogue cops in MAGNUM FORCE. They talk about the city and some of the events that happened in the film. It wonít give you any great insight into the films, but it was still pretty interesting.

Dirty Harryís Way (7:06): This was a marketing piece from the time of the first film. I liked it and thought it was cool to see an old featurette from the 70ís. Itís essentially a fluff piece with several movie scenes, but it was cool for nostalgic effect.

The Long Shadow of Dirty Harry (25:31): As you may have guessed, this is a look at the impact Dirty Harry has had on pop culture and some of todayís heroes. This appears to be a very recent featurette and has interviews from the man himself and several others. Most of them didnít have anything to do with the film, but have written, directed or starred in similar films themselves. It was decent and I was interested in hearing about the impact the film has had on other writers and actors.

Clint Eastwood: The Man From Malpaso (58:08): This is an hour long look into the career of Clint Eastwood. I really like Clint Eastwood and found this to be pretty interesting, but nothing Eastwood fans didnít know. I liked that he participated in it heavily since it gets old hearing others gush about someone. Overall, itís well worth the time for anyone that wants to know more about Eastwood.

Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows (86:48): This is another long featurette about Clint Eastwood, but this time it features more from actors, writers and directors familiar with his work. Again, I really like Clint Eastwood, but I get tired of hearing people gush over someone for an hour and a half. I would recommend this one for big fans of Eastwood. Others might get a little bored with how slow it moves.

Interview Gallery (27:25): Several stars from the films show up for interviews to talk about their experiences with Clint Eastwood. Most of them are pedestrian, but I thought it was cool when Arnold Schwarzenegger himself showed up for an interview. These were interesting and are organized so you can pick out the people you want and skip over the rest.

Magnum Force

Commentary with John Mills: I really wanted him to explain the horrible opening sequence, but instead he talked about the gun and moved on. He gives us some cool trivia and good stories about the film. Unfortunately, he has a lot of pauses which makes the track hard to listen to. When he does talk, itís interesting, but the track moves a little slow.

A Moral Right: The Politics of Dirty Harry (24:15): This isnít a feature on MAGNUM FORCE, itís a look at the entire series. Obviously, it focuses on the politics in the film, but it looks a lot into the attitude of Dirty Harry. I enjoyed the analysis, but most of it was pretty basic and a little obvious.

The Hero Cop: Yesterday and Today (8:03): WellÖyesterday in this capacity means the 30ís and ďtodayĒ means the 70ís. This is a featurette about the second film made in the 70ís. It had some cool behind the scenes footage, but itís mainly a promotional piece.

The Enforcer

Commentary with James Fargo: We finally get to hear from a director and I was hoping for some juicy behind the scenes stories. He gives us a little bit, and overall he gave a pretty good commentary. Unfortunately, the movie is bad and Iím not sure itís worth sitting through again to hear his commentary.

The Business End: Violence in Cinema (30:09): We get a lot of cut scenes from the Dirty Harry films and even some classic, violent films intermixed with interviews from filmmakers and scholars. Most of the discussion is about whether or not violence has an impact on societal violence. As far as the generic featurettes go, I enjoyed this one and find this to be a relative topic even today.

Harry Callahan/Clint Eastwood: Something Special in Films (6:00): This is another original promotional piece for the film. It falls in line with the other featurettes for the film and is nice for nostalgia, but not much else.

Sudden Impact

Commentary with Richard Schickel: Once again we hear from Schickel, who I guess fills in when they canít get anyone else involved with the film. He doesnít have as much to say this time around, but gives it his best shot. However, I didnít find this one very interesting and most of it is a rehash of all the featurettes.

The Evolution of Clint Eastwood (25:43): This follows along the same path as the other featurettes and focuses on other stars and filmmakers combined with Clintís own musings on his career and how his career has evolved. Itís a good featurette, but still a rehash for people familiar with Clintís career.

Dead Pool

Commentary with Jack Green and David Valdes: Commentaries are so much better when thereís more than one person. This is probably the best of the five commentaries, but thatís not saying much. The problem with this one is that it didnít seem like they had seen the movie in a while, so they got hung up watching the film instead of commenting on it.

The Craft of Dirty Harry (21:39): Of all the featurettes focusing on Clint Eastwood and the Dirty Harry films, this one focuses the most on the actual making of the films. I put it on par with the others, maybe a little better. I really got a kick out of Clintís input, but it slowed down when others got involved. They also give a nice rundown of the biggest jobs on a movie set for those not familiar with them.

There are also some Previews on each disc.
If you havenít seen the Dirty Harry films in a while, or not at all, then I donít think this set is worth the purchase. The first film is great, but the others fall way short of living up to it. I would recommend purchasing the first one and renting all the sequels.
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