Old 11-23-2012, 01:53 AM
The Dirty Harry movies

So what are your thoughts on the Dirty Harry movies? I just recently watched all five of them for the first time (well, I'd seen The Dead Pool before, but not for a long time). To be honest, I enjoyed them all pretty equally (except for Sudden Impact), and I would give them all about a 7/10. The movies are certainly an amusing time capsule of the anti-politically correct movement of the 70s and 80s.

None of the movies are perfect. Most suffer from sloppy filmmaking and unfocused stories that wander around aimlessly. They also feel a bit like a James Bond movie, though just confined to San Fransisco, with the villain of the week showing up.

Dirty Harry (1971) - arguably the best of the bunch. A dark, gritty take on a fictional "Zodiac" style killer. Probably the most well rounded of the movies with the most defined villain, but there is also a lot of random scenes for Harry to be a bad ass. The highlight has to be the epic camera shot that pulls out of the football stadium.

Magnum Force (1973) - If this movie had just had a stronger ending, it could have been the best of the bunch. This one is about a squad of rogue cops going around and murdering criminals that have beat the system. Again, more pointlessly random scenes drag the movie down. but the final car chase that ends of an old aircraft carrier is pretty awesome.

The Enforcer (1976) - Easily the funniest of the bunch, with Harry getting a female partner. The movie is just dripping with anti-feminism misogyny, but it still works due to how funny it is to see Harry out of his comfort zone. He also has the best lines of all the movies in this one ("Personnel? But that's for assholes!") - if only the bad guys had been better developed, this too could have been the best in the series. The highlight in this one is an awesome foot chase over and through several buildings. Also: the ending is surprisingly dark for an otherwise lighthearted movie.

Sudden Impact (1983) - This one feels the least like a Dirty Harry movie. It's also dark as fuck, with the main storyline about a woman seeking revenge against a gang that gang-raped her and her sister... charming. There is also a secondary plot about a mob boss trying to kill Harry that kind of fizzles out and goes nowhere. And there is some bizarre humor involving a farting dog. The finale is pretty strong, featuring one of the best "hero shots" of Harry from all the movies. But considering the extremely dark subject matter, this one isn't very enjoyable. Clint Eastwood made this one and Tightrope (which is also pretty fucked up on a sexual level) back to back... makes you wonder what kind of shit he was going through at the time. I would give this the lowest score of them all with a 6/10. I find it odd how "Make my day" became so popular from this movie.

The Dead Pool (1988) - Largely regarded as the worst Harry movie (I disagree, see: Sudden Impact), this one also has the tightest plot of all of them, and sticks to the main story better than the previous four movies. It also comes off a bit like an early Steven Seagal movie. Harry definitely comes off as a bit generic, but it is amusing to see several actors just before they went on to do bigger and better things: Liam Neeson as a sleazy movie director (who is made to look much shorter than Clint), Patricia Clarkson, and Jim Carrey as a rock singer (excuse me... James Carrey). The bad guy is pretty weak - and a bit of a cop out because he actually is insane. Also: RC car chase is pretty cool.

If I were to rank them:

1 - Dirty Harry
2 - The Enforcer
3 - Magnum Force
4 - The Dead Pool
5 - Sudden Impact
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:48 AM
I received all 5 movies in a box set for Christmas last year and I love the damn thing. See, I like Sudden Impact because of how dark it is. Both Eastwood and Locke deliver great performances and the finale where the bastards get what they deserve is great.

The first is definitely the best one though. Great hero, great villain, great match-up between the two. I also really enjoy the second one. I love the angle where Harry wants to do what the rogue cops are doing, but has a higher sense of justice than what they do. And I rather enjoyed the ending, especially the twist that involved the leader of the rogue cops. The third and fifth are my least favorites. They're okay, but suffer from weak scripts.

Dirty Harry - 9/10
Sudden Impact - 8/10
Magnum Force - 8/10
The Enforcer - 6/10
The Dead Pool - 6/10
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:47 PM
I think Dirty Harry still stands up to this day. The zodiac killer is so creepy and some of the scenes are fantastic, for instance the football stadium track-out shot is still awe-inspiring.

Like the above posters above I think sequels didn't really add anything to the character, but were entertaining nevertheless. Weird that the iconic phrase "make my day", wasn't uttered until Sudden Impact.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:01 AM
Dirty Harry:****1/2
Magnum Force:****
The Enforcer:**1/2
Sudden Impact:***
Tightrope (Lost Dirty Harry movie):****
The Dead Pool:**1/2

I think that they're all watchable, but the first two are the highlights. The Enforcer simply lacks a strong villain, and think that's it's biggest downfall.
But Sudden Impact had some good lines and some good scenes, but Sondra just weakens every Clint movie that she appears in. She has a such a large role, but is lacking in... Well, pretty much every way. She has a really annoying and unlikable personality, she really is not attractive, and she has little acting abilities.

I know Tightrope really isn't a Dirty Harry movie, but it's surprisingly strong IMO. Or at least most of it. It does become a bit standard in the 2nd half, but the inspiration behind the Dirty Harry character sort of died after the 2nd one, and those one sort of adds more some intrigue to his cop character. It seems like a lot of people don't really strongly to this. I think many dislike the movie because it is much darker than the DH movies. Sure some lines were blurred in the first Dirty Harry film, but a film exploring this type of perversion is obviously not what people wanted at the time.

The Dead Pool has a really amusing case scene, and that's really the highlight of the movie. It's watchable, but so not needed. Maybe you could say that about most sequels, but the well was clearly dry here.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:14 PM
I've only seen the first one and I thought it was overrated. I've often heard that an action film is only as good as it's villain, so it's no wonder why this movie didn't work for me. The villain sucked. What an annoying little bitch. I couldn't wait for Clint to kill this guy and not because he's the kind of bad guy you love to hate but because of how annoying he was.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:22 AM
I didn't mind Sudden Impact, but I thought the Dead Pool was an abomination. Seriously, little remote control cars blowing people up? Whatever.

Dirty Harry - 9/10
Magnum Force - 9/10
The Enforcer - 7/10
Sudden Impact - 7/10
The Dead Pool - 3/10
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:23 PM
Originally Posted by Badbird View Post
If I were to rank them:

1 - Dirty Harry
2 - The Enforcer
3 - Magnum Force
4 - The Dead Pool
5 - Sudden Impact
Yeah, me too. I would love to see an update series of them with Hugh Jackman as the lead. The whole Dirty Harry concept was pretty awesome. We have not seen many good cop movies in this vain lately
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:49 AM
Nice list of Dirty Harry movies and thanks for the briefing.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:25 PM
I got the Dirty Harry collection for Christmas, I watched the first four films today and Sudden Impact was better than what I remember. I like The Enforcer but it does really lack a strong villain.

My ranking as of right now:
Dirty Harry- 10/10
Magnum Force- 9/10
Sudden Impact- 8/10
The Enforcer- 6/10
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Old 12-25-2012, 08:10 PM
Dirty Harry - Close to perfect for what it was. But I wonder if there was an alternate ending to this movie - I remember the back of the old VHS tape of this at my video store having a picture of Harry pointing a gun at Scorpio while his back was against the school bus, a scene that was obviously not in the movie.

Magnum Force - The worst of the five. Great concept on paper - Dirty Harry taking on crooked cops that are offing criminals - but the actual movie just dragged on and felt like it went on forever.

The Enforcer - Average Dirty Harry movie. As mentioned, it lacked a strong villain and that hurt it a bit, but it was still an enjoyable film. Better than the previous film for sure. I was glad to be some continuity from the first film with the returning LT. and everything.

Sudden Impact - My second favorite. I loved the dark storyline and the fact that there seemed to be two "villains" - the woman doing the killing, who Dirty Harry is after the whole movie, and then the ones who turn out to be the real villains, which is the main guy who raped her (and his buddies.)

Dead Pool - Enjoyable movie. Had an interesting plot and it's better than the second film but not quite as good as the first and fourth. It's tied with the third movie as far as rank goes.

I also wanna say that there was an actor who played a part in four movies in a row. The guy that Dirty Harry shot in the bank robbery scene near the beginning of the first film also played a murdered pimp in the second movie, the guy Harry talks to about the porno place in the third film, and then Harry's murdered friend in the fourth. This bugs me since I assumed all the films take place in the same universe, and yet having one actor play different roles in four different films kinda ruins that.

I'd rank them as:

Dirty Harry
Sudden Impact
Dead Pool/The Enforcer
Magnum Force
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