After being blown away by the one liner, magnum toting Dirty Harry, I just had to grab the box set with all the films. How could you leave Harry when you know there are another five adventures to see? Jumping in on a series which had constantly switching directors and increasingly large time gaps between releases, there is that concern over quality. Were the sequels just for milking, or do they provide some integrity to the classic original?
Covered here: https://joerayw.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/dirty-harry/ . Viewing it once more the film shows off its qualities further. The story of Dirty Harry tracking down mental killer Scorpio is punchy and well-directed. The story never loses focus as he hunts down this mad man, and the state of the law being put into question stops it from just being a brainless thriller. Though only just. Lines to quote for the rest of our lives and a cartoon like villain to etch into our minds.
The sequel feels more ambitious in scope, but fails to offer on the key things. The police motorbike killer is a good way to up the intensity of the murder technique, but so many people are in on it, none really stand out. Dirty Harry himself is still a cool as hell badass, but he seems to have been given some James Bond traits this time, pulling every woman he meets.
The first showcase that the franchise was heading in the wrong direction. Sick hippy bombers are all fine and dandy, especially when you see how heartless they can be, but they don’t get enough screen time to have the impact the previous villains did. The film seems to centre on how Harry must deal with a female sidekick,let the comedy ensue. It does have one of the longest, yet fun chase scenes I’ve seen in a long time, though Black Dynamite has done parody on this sort of thing killing any serious faced viewing. Needed more on the villains, less on the male/female cop combo gags.
This is more like it. With Clint directing himself, Sudden Impact ends up being the best Dirty Harry film after the first. An artist is off on a revenge mission, killing off all those who raped her and her sister at a carnival. Harry sees a change of scenery, though still follows the routine of villain doing bad things, Harry solving minor crimes, then solving the big case through force. An interesting aspect of the film is Harry staying close to the killer, developing some sympathy to her plight. A bit darker, but manages to maintain what makes Dirty Harry so good. One liners and great gun fights. Also features a dog called Meathead.
The Dead Pool
Then we question why this had to happen. Harry once again has to solve a case which brings his life on the line, only this time he is on a list of celebrities expected to die soon, The Dead Pool game. A nice idea of an obsessed fanboy of a movie director trying to be him keeps you reeled in, but wacky rock stars and remote-controlled cars with bombs draw you out. Almost like a bad parody on the classic series.
Dirty Harry> Sudden Impact> Magnum Force> The Enforcer > The Dead Pool
Still, there is enjoyment to be squeezed out of even the worst of these films, Dirty Harry was such a great character the mighty Clint played. They milked it dry, but some of the milk was really tasty!