"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Sudden Impact

I’m not sure what the title means on this one, but if it were up to me it would be called A DIRTY HARRY SALUTE TO DEATH WISH II. The three before this all felt like “DIRTY HARRY” but in this one he goes to San Paolo and all the sudden he’s in Charles Bronson’s jurisdiction.

Let me point out a few connections: The score is by Lalo Schifrin, but the opening credits are still DEATH WISH sequel style cheeseball drum machine and keyboard rockafire explosion over establishing shot of the city (Lalo’s revenge for not getting to score part 3, I bet). Kevyn Major Howard, the gang rapist Stomper in DEATH WISH II, plays a criminal who gets off due to improper police work by Callahan. And like most DEATH WISH movies the lead villains are maniacally overacting gang rapists. In DEATH WISH and DEATH WISH II Bronson is getting revenge after (among other things) his daughter was gang-raped into a state of catatonia. In this one Sondra Locke is getting revenge because she and her sister were gang raped and her sister is in a state of catatonia. Speaking of which, Bronson’s wife Jill Ireland was in DEATH WISH II, and here we have Clint’s live-in lady friend at the time starring in this one. It ends a little more like the first DEATH WISH with the police (in this case Harry) knowing about the vigilante actions and letting it go because they sympathize.

Sudden ImpactThis is the only DIRTY HARRY directed by Clint, and although it’s not the best one it’s got some of his thoughtfulness in it. In the DEATH WISH series there was always a little sense of some kind of patriarchal shit where it’s always the women in his life getting hurt and he’s getting revenge, it’s like they keyed his car or something. Here it’s the actual victim of the crime getting the revenge, and evening the score by shooting off their balls. (I wonder if this is the first review where I tried to describe a movie as thoughtful because of guys getting their balls shot off? Probaly not.) Anyway, THE ENFORCER explored gender equality and this one still seems down with this idea (although still not enlightened about the gays – check out the small town cop casually referring to one of the villains as “the dyke”).

It further explores the “where do you draw the line?” question of MAGNUM FORCE but this time comes out on the side of vigilantism, at least in this case when it’s not done by a cop. Harry seems a little less sure about what’s right and what’s wrong. This lady is saying shit that he could’ve said. “What about my rights?”

Even the climax of the movie is reminiscent of a DEATH WISH because it takes place in an amusement park (Santa Cruz boardwalk I think) and uses some western showdown meets horror movie type imagery when Harry appears down the boardwalk completely covered in shadow and holding his gun. It’s weird having Harry so out of his element – even out of San Francisco – so it seems like the least Dirty Harry DIRTY HARRY movie. And yet it’s the one that used the line always associated with the character: “Go ahead, make my day.” They probaly couldn’t have known how much that line would catch on, but they knew it was a good one because they use it twice. They do not have a scene where he foils a crime while eating, but they do have a scene where he criticizes a colleague for putting ketchup on his hot dog, which is a good point. Also Albert Popwell returns, this time promoted to partner. Kind of a mixed blessing – he’s graduated from punk to partner, but of course both categories of characters are doomed in a DIRTY HARRY movie. So what’s the point? Also he gives Harry a dog named Meathead.

Sondra’s character is an artist – she funnels her troubled psyche into spooky paintings, but clearly she doesn’t do enough of them to get it all out. She mentions that she’s in town to restore the horses on a carousel, but somehow I didn’t see the PERFECT VILLAIN DEATH coming. The lead rapist falls off the top of a rollercoaster, breaks through the top of the carousel and is impaled on a unicorn horn. I mean that would be a cool death no matter what but in this case you can read it as his victim raping him with her art – pretty fuckin amazing. I mean I enjoy a good impalement regardless and I’m not a big fan of looking for phallic imagery in everything, but in this case it works. That’s right, a unicorn horn is actually a big dick. Keep them out of your daughter’s room.

SUDDEN IMPACT is not as good as THE ENFORCER, which is not as good as MAGNUM FORCE, which is not as good as DIRTY HARRY. But it’s better than most DIRTY HARRY and DEATH WISH ripoffs. Between “make my day” and the villain being fucked to death by a unicorn I think it’s safe to say this is a worthwhile artistic venture.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 8th, 2008 at 10:33 pm and is filed under Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

50 Responses to “Sudden Impact”

  1. I thought this was pretty good, like the first four DIRTY HARRY epics in their own way. Well shot, with obvious Hitchcock influences in those scenes with that female lead who was Eastwood’s squeeze at the time.


  2. The scene that leads up to the first “go ahead” line is so brilliantly shot and edited, it makes the line that much more perfect. And “cheeseball drum machine and keyboard rockafire explosion”? Genius.

  3. I love this movie. Its so packed with great shit. On one hand you have Harry hunting down mob guys who has been on his tail and then you ALSO have a rape/revenge subplot and Harry foiling an occasional random crime as he always does in each movie.Whether it be a mugging or a bank robbery he is always there to take out the trash. These movies are probably the most played series of movies in my dvd-player along with LETHAL WEAPON perhaps.

  4. From the scripts that were written as Dirty Harry movies and the movie scripts Eastwood chose to do as Dirty Harry movies, it’s interesting to compare the direction the writers wanted to take Mr Callahan versus the direction Eastwood himself wanted the character to go.

    In FIREPOWER (1979) he was supposed to help a widow against a mafia Don in the Caribbean. I don’t know it they saw him doing this on his free time or if he had quit the force, but in either case I don’t think it would have worked. That’s probably why it ended up as a James Coburn hitman movie (after Bronson turned it down).

    In THE BIG SCORE (1983) he was supposed to go up against the mob AND corrupt colleagues, but this script is just awful and ended up as an awful Fred Williamson thriller.

    Then, and this is the controversial bit, if Eastwood had chosen the script for CODE OF SILENCE instead of SUDDEN IMPACT, I’m convinced that the fourth DIRTY HARRY movie could have been a little bit better. At least free of farting dogs. CODE, as we all know, ended up as Chuck Norris best acting part. And it has the line “If I want your opinion, I’ll beat it out of you” that is almost as iconic as “Go ahead…”.

    Of course, in a perfect world he would have made them both!

  5. pegsman- Are you farting on SUDDEN IMPACT? You should be ashamed of yourself…

  6. Call me crazy, Shoot, but I’ve just never understood Clint’s fascination with farting animals…

  7. The Original... Paul

    August 4th, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Shoot – he can fart on “Sudden Impact” all that he wants. I don’t know that it’s a bad movie, but to me it and “The Enforcer” are even less than “Dead Pool”, which at least has a certain bizarre charm to it. (Apart from the infamous Jim Carrey cameo, how often do you see a villain who’s not in a “Jaws” movie get shot with a freakin’ harpoon?)

    But “Sudden Impact” and “The Enforcer” felt, from start to end for me, like cash-ins. They’re neither bizarre nor good enough for me. I don’t think I can remember a single iconic Clint line from either of them (compare that to “Dirty Harry” or “Magnum Force”, the two really good Dirty Harry movies – hell, “Dirty Harry” is a great movie all on its own.) I would actually say “The Enforcer” is a little worse than this one – that’s a movie I can barely make it through half an hour of before starting to nod off – but it’s a close one.

    In short, I’m not going to argue too much with Vern’s ranking of the “Dirty Harry” movies, but I gotta disagree that this one is worth the time of anybody but an absolute Dirty Harry fanatic.

  8. Paul – No iconic lines?! What about “Go ahead, make my day”?, Now, the line itself had appeard elsewhere before, I know. But that is easily one of THE iconic lines of the Harry callahan Saga.

    As for bizarreness, don´t you think its weird to have mobrelated shootouts completely unrelated to the movie´s rape/revenge plot?

    THE DEAD POOL , well Clint had the relationship with Warner Brothers that he made some more personal movies he would like to do in return to do some more commercial movies for WB. And DEAD POOL was one of the commercialones. SUDDEN DEATH was also one of those, but turned out way better than DEAD POOL in my opinion.Not that its bad. Hell, I may even prefer it to THE ENFORCER. I agree with you, paul on that one. That´s probably the weakest one.

  9. I never knew that about Code of Silence. Would Harry have had to team up with the robot?

  10. The Original... Paul

    August 4th, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Shoot – I didn’t even remember “Make my day” coming from “Sudden Impact”. (Yeah, I completely missed the point of the first few comments.) This is how little impact it had on me.

    I think it’s kind of a pity that it DID come from a Dirty Harry movie actually. Were they trying to ape an Arnie one-liner when they wrote it? “Go ahead, make my day” sounds like a line that should be delivered with a gleeful little smile by a cheesy eighties action star in a movie like “Commando”. Not a world-weary cynical bastard like Dirty Harry Callahan.

  11. In it’s defense, it works very well with the coffee shop scenario. He comes back into the place because he noticed the coffee wasn’t too his liking, a subtle hint something was going on (also a nod to the first film, with him chewing on some burger while blowing the bank robbers away). And the whole build-up to the line, as I said earlier, is so wonderfully constructed it makes the delivery that much sweeter.

    But I completely disagree about ketchup on hot dogs though. I rarely eat them but catsup is the only thing I put on it.

  12. Paul, you’re way out of line. THE ENFORCER is Eastwood’s funniest movie ever, with lines like “Personel, that’s for assholes” and the whole scene with the personel questioning (Miss Grey and the donkey). And SUDDEN IMPACT’s dog shit speech, make my day, ketchup on a hot dog and go suck some fish heads lines, are Eastwood gold! I wasn’t “farting” on any of the Dirty Harry movies, I just wanted to get rid of Meathead.

    Vern, I don’t know about the robot, but CODE OF SILENCE had a great script that would have made a good Dirty Harry movie.

  13. The Original... Paul

    August 5th, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Sheesh, I’m gonna have to rewatch “Sudden Impact”. See if it’s better than I remember it. It’s been a long time anyway. I’ll put it on my “to be reevaluated if it comes on TV and I can be arsed” list alongside “Conan the Barbarian”.

    I will stick to my guns on “The Enforcer” though. I’ve watched it, or at least tried to watch it, a few times now, and each time I’ve had to force myself to finish it (or just give up trying). And that’s coming from somebody who loves “Dirty Harry” and “Magnum Force”.

  14. “Go ahead. Make my day.” A badass line that was so nice, in the trailer they used it twice!


  15. Apparently Arnold’s glasses in the first TERMINATOR were inspired by seeing Clint’s in this one, as they’re the same brand.

  16. The Original Paul

    July 4th, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    So, in the three years since I last commented on THE ENFORCER and SUDDEN IMPACT, I’d pretty much forgotten which was which. THE ENFORCER was definitely better than I’d given it credit for before. MAGNUM FORCE on the other hand was quite a bit worse.

    So how was SUDDEN IMPACT, which according to the majority of the Internet is the worst DIRTY HARRY movie? Worse than even DEAD POOL, which it seems that most people dislike a helluva more than I do? Well, let’s put it this way: this thing was so painfully bad to watch, I couldn’t even stick around for the unicorn rape.

    SUDDEN IMPACT is a grimy, unpleasant, unrewarding mess of a movie. It has a story but it comes off more as a series of “incidents”, most of which involve Harry Callahan acting like a fucking asshole and sabotaging his own career. It obviously has a few iconic lines (“What are you doing?” “My job.”) which have been widely parodied, but I doubt many people remember where those lines even come from. My favourite scene involved Harry doing target practice with the black militant from THE ENFORCER, but the film screws that up by having him approach Harry quietly from behind with suspenseful music before Harry almost turns and shoots him. (There are two targets already set up, and Harry is clearly expecting the guy, so this makes no fucking sense, as well as setting the scene using completely the wrong tone. This would be less unforgiveable if it wasn’t for the fact that ten minutes earlier there’s a cafe robbery scene in which every single black person in the cafe is a robber, and every single other [white] person is innocent.)

    All that aside though, the black militant guy’s scenes were probably the best thing about two separate DIRTY HARRY films. He should’ve appeared more.

    Sondra Locke becomes the fourth professed liberal character in the DIRTY HARRY series to actually be a murderous hypocrite. (They’ve had one in every single film so far!) She starts the film by tempting her own gang-rapist to come out with her to a romantic and isolated spot (don’t even ask me how she manages this) where she shoots him. Like most of this movie, the opening scene is bungled: the direction tries to make it look unclear as to who’s actually in danger, suggesting that it might be her and not him, which 1) doesn’t create tension, 2) doesn’t make me care about a mystery that’s going to be solved in about twenty seconds anyway, and 3) completely obscures what’s actually happening in the car. More bad decisions.

    Anyway, Locke is actually pretty good once she finds her voice, but she spends most of the film hiding who she is. I think the most notable thing she does before the finale is telling some jerks to get away from her car. I’d also point out here that this is the third Eastwood movie I’ve seen her in where she portrays the victim of either an attempted or actual rape. Lovely. (Wasn’t she dating him at the time?)

    The title of this movie is ironic, because this movie has no impact. There is nothing about it that could have an impact. This is cinematic sludge. Watching it is like swimming blind through a fetid swamp of badly-directed, unpleasant, grimy shit. It might be the worst score that Lalo Schifrin has ever done, but it’s also possible that I’m judging the scoring more harshly because of the rest of the movie. It’s the adventures of an awful fucking fascist with a badge, told from the point of view of said fascist, in a way that makes clear that everybody who opposes him doing things like interrupting an old man’s granddaughter’s wedding and giving him a fatal hard attack is an obstructive asshole. It makes THE ENFORCER look like a masterpiece of subtlety in comparison.

    In case you can’t tell, I did not like this movie. I did not like anything about this movie. I did not like the experience of watching this movie. I did not like Clint Eastwood for making this movie. This movie made me dislike Clint Eastwood. Fuck you, SUDDEN IMPACT.

    Internet, I’ve criticised you in the past, but let us make peace right now. You called this one dead right.

  17. The Original Paul

    July 4th, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Also the opening scene of SUDDEN IMPACT was schooled by the first scene of the first series of the first episode of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. If you want to do a “girl and boy making out in isolated location where girl appears to be in peril but is actually the real killer” then that’s how you fucking do it. Not like this crap.

    Man, I want to go and watch BUFFY now. Or just something – anything! – good. To get this unpleasantness out of my brain.

  18. This reminds me that I need to look into getting one of those DIRTY HARRY COLLECTION blu-ray sets.

  19. The Original Paul

    July 4th, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    *First episode of the first series* I meant in that first paragraph above. Well anyway, you know what I mean.

  20. The Original Paul

    July 4th, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Broddie – I just bought a DVD collection of the five DIRTY HARRY films. I decided to start with MAGNUM FORCE, then go onto the two I remembered not liking (THE ENFORCER and SUDDEN IMPACT), then go onto DEAD POOL (the one I like a lot more than it probably deserves), and finish with the original and classic DIRTY HARRY. Apparently, liking THE ENFORCER more than I thought I would made me overly optimistic about the next one on the list.

    And if there’s one thing re-watching SUDDEN IMPACT will do for you, it’ll cure any residual optimism you had. So thanks for that, you shitty, shitty movie.

  21. The Original Paul

    July 4th, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Oh, and Broddie… I was curious as to how my violent evisceration of this awful movie could possibly motivate you to want to go out and buy it; but then I remembered that pretty much every ounce of curiosity I had about JURASSIC WORLD came about because I wanted to see if it was genuinely as bad as Majestyk’s impassioned case against it suggested it might be. If I hadn’t read what he’d written, honestly all of the echoes of “It’s not the original but it’s a decent time at the movies” wouldn’t have stirred my interest at all.

  22. Actually Paul it was as simple as “oh yeah Dirty Harry!”

    I’ve been meaning to buy those discs for some time now but haven’t gotten the chance.

    Actually the only DH movies I really used to watch were the first 3. Outside of the movies with the ape, Dollars trilogy and HEARTBREAK RIDGE they were the Clint movies I watched the most growing up. Well unless you count BIRD as a Clint movie. This one and DEAD POOL not so much but. They used to bore me as a kid but I will get them in addition to the other 3 anyway which will be what I really pay for. So it’s ok…it’s still Clint. Even his worst is better than most others best.

  23. For the record Majestyk pooping on JURASSIC 4 also got me curious but not enough so that I will bother with it at the movie. Something tells me I’m perfectly fine waiting for it to hit cable TV.

  24. The Original Paul

    July 4th, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Broddie – I’m right there with you on JURASSIC WORLD. I’ll probably see it eventually but I’m not going to go to the cinema for it.

    Regarding this:

    “It’s ok…it’s still Clint. Even his worst is better than most others best.”

    Nah, man. Don’t make that mistake. I’ve always regarded the likes of THE ROOKIE, HEARTBREAK RIDGE and THE GAUNTLET as lower-rung Clint, and I’d agree with you if you were talking about any one of them. SUDDEN IMPACT makes all three of those movies look like masterpieces. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that of all the Clint movies I’ve seen (which is a very lot), SUDDEN IMPACT is the worst, and I don’t think there’s a close second-place finisher either. I criticised MAGNUM FORCE for what it did with its characters, and for generally not holding up as well as it used to; but holy hell, it’s also a masterpiece compared to SUDDEN IMPACT.

    Y’know how much this movie annoyed me? I want to keep going into what’s wrong with it. The first two minutes and twenty seconds or so of it is nothing more than the credits set to a constant helicopter-shot flyover of a city. Which is fine except that it looks way, way better than anything else in the movie (at least until the theme park finale). It doesn’t even seem to be the same city as the one where most of the action takes place.

    The next two minutes and thirty seconds establish that: 1) Two people are making out in a car. 2) There are two gunshots. 3) One of those people gets out of the car and walks down to the riverbank.

    And that’s it. There’s nothing else there. No character is established. We barely see either of the two people’s faces while they’re kissing. We have no idea if they’re enjoying it, if she’s more into it, if he’s more into it. When her hand reaches down and grabs the gun, we have no idea how he reacts. We don’t see the shooting, we only hear it. (It’s presumed that she shoots him in the head first, then the balls, since we don’t hear a cry of pain from him or anything, but surely if she wanted to hurt him that much it would make more sense to do it the other way around? Anyway we don’t find out about the dickshot until much later in the movie, so it has no relevance to the opening scene when you’re watching it.) We barely see her face so we have no idea how she’s reacting. We have no idea what her motivation is. Is this guy her husband, her boyfriend, her one-night stand? Why does she kill him? Does she hate him, is it a sex thing, or is the sex incidental and she’s only using it to lure him so she can kill him for other reasons? None of this is shown in the scene.

    I mentioned that opening scene from BUFFY. In it, we see the apparently reluctant girl and the more forceful guy sneak into the school together. He’s obviously enjoying the thrill of the chase, whereas she’s more worried about being caught. It’s left a little ambiguous as to how “into it” both of them are, but there’s plenty to inform us about what’s going on – their dialogue, their actions, their body language. The two characters are instantly relatable and we’re instantly invested in the scene. So that when the payoff comes – it turns out that she lured him there to kill him, not the other way around – it’s both surprising and gratifying. Moreover, we know why she did it – she’s a vampire! It’s a great introduction to the world that these characters inhabit, and it’s all done through providing us with just enough information about the two characters and their situation.

    SUDDEN IMPACT’s opening scene has none of this. There’s no character motivation. It’s entirely mechanical. It gives us plot details but no reason whatsoever to care about any of it. There was literally no way this could’ve been filmed that would’ve given us less of an idea who these two people are, why they’re there, what they’re doing, what they’re feeling. It’s a waste of two and a half minutes of my life. And it’s not as though the rest of the film is any better.

    Ok, I think I’m done now.

  25. The Original Paul

    July 4th, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Y’know what, I’m not quite done.

    I think an entirely reasonable case – not one I’d necessarily agree with, but one that fits the information that the film gives us – could justifiably be made that the root of Harry Callahan’s entire character in this film (meaning the reason why he’s a fascist egomaniac asshole) comes down to the fact that he dislikes watching people eat hotdogs with ketchup on them. I’m not even fucking kidding.

    Ok, NOW I’m done.

  26. I think Razorfist has a similar comment on the hot dog if I remember correctly lol

  27. The Original Paul

    July 4th, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Well that Razorfist video is, I feel pretty safe in saying, the most enjoyment I or anybody else will ever have from this movie. Thanks!

    I didn’t realise Eastwood actually directed it himself. Can we have a name for when an action movie star directs the movie he’s starring in and it turns out to be one of the worst things he’s ever done? I think we should call it EXPENDABLES syndrome or something.

  28. Paul, I always found Sudden Impact dreadfully boring. I’ve had the DH Blu rays, the Clint Eastwood 35 film DVD and 20 film Blu ray sets and I never watch Sudden impact. Dead Pool is fun tho.

    I’ve always wondered about the Sondra Locke thing. Wonder if he was actually seeing how many times he could cast her as a rape victim and she’d still stay.

  29. The Original Paul

    July 5th, 2015 at 3:52 am

    Fred – I found pretty much the same thing, with an added layer of grimy unpleasantness. There’s just nothing to hold your interest here, is there? I mean, the chief reason that I liked THE ENFORCER more than I used to was because of Tyne Daly’s character arc. SUDDEN IMPACT didn’t have anything like that.

  30. I remember liking Sudden Impact but I appreciate your passion for disliking it, Paul. I do think most importantly it’s course correction for The Enforcer, which is not bad, but moved the series away from it’s roots which is about the never-ending line between cops and vigilantes, justice and revenge, etc… Just as Magnum Force is the flipside/apology to Dirty Harry’s perceived “shoot first, ask questions later” reputation, Sudden Impact plays as a slasher movie where you sympathize with the slasher (like The Crow), I kinda like that Dirty Harry just stumbled into a 70s-era rape-revenge movie, but I like genre mash-em ups, so sue me.

    Can’t wait for your write up on The Dead Pool, it’s the one in the series i’ve probably seen the most and seen most recently, and it’s always as bad as I remember it being.

  31. The Original Paul

    July 5th, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Neal – I would love that movie that you describe, if it were done well. I just think that it’s not done well, at all, in SUDDEN IMPACT. I mean, I’ve gone into great and exhaustive detail about why the first scene utterly fails, and I could make similar arguments for most of the scenes in the movie. I’m not going to do that, I’ve said enough!

    I do think that your point about “course correction” is interesting though. Of all the DIRTY HARRY sequels that I’ve seen so far, their success or failure seems to depend on how well they do it, and I think there’s an element of it in each one of them. MAGNUM FORCE, for example, clearly wanted to compensate for the “shoot first, ask questions later” politics in DIRTY HARRY, but I don’t think it does it particularly well. I get the necessity of making Harry question himself and his methods, but making him completely incompetent was not the right way to go about it. THE ENFORCER corrects this again, and brings back a Harry Callahan who’s smart enough to know what’s going on when the people around him don’t – a much closer Callahan to the original DIRTY HARRY’s version, in fact. SUDDEN IMPACT continues in that direction, but takes it waaaay too far – this Callhan is an out-and-out fascist psychotic with major control issues, who keeps making bad decision after bad decision that the movie keeps on validating.

    (One interesting thing about MAGNUM FORCE that I never picked up on before now… Harry not only suspects the wrong man, but is pretty much responsible for getting him killed by the actual villains. It seems like it’s Harry’s investigation that prompts them into trying the frame-up in the first place.)

    I might have to disappoint you on DEAD POOL because it’s always been my “guilty pleasure” of the DIRTY HARRY series (I’ve always regarded it as less good but more fun than MAGNUM FORCE). My favorite, of course, has always been the original DIRTY HARRY. God, I hope that one holds up better than SUDDEN IMPACT did!

  32. So I finally bought the collection recently and watched this and THE DEAD POOL first. Man I don’t get the hate for meathead not after his fate at the hands of the villain. For that alone the unicorn death was justified and I’m generally a cat person.

    Also the molotov cocktail chase is hilarious as fuck but not as insane as the RC chase in the next one. Also found it’s use of GODFATHER PT. II supporting players inspiring. It also has the funniest takedown fate for a Paul Drake character until BEVERLY HILLS COP. So I can’t really spew too much vitrol towards it. I do think Vern’s DEATH WISH sequel parallel is dead on. Tonally next to PINK CADILLAC and THE GAUNTLET this is the closest an Eastwood joint came to the Cannon Films aesthetic.

    I do agree with Paul that I do prefer part 5 to it. However that boils down to 5s great quirks like Quan’s martial arts prowess and culturally relevant tats and Clint’s reactions to them, the RC chase and more importantly Liam Neeson’s inconsistent “where the fuck does he come from” accent and the villains hilarious appropriation of it. Plus prime era Patricia Clarkson.

    Still though I agree with the consensus that it’s the worst of the bunch I do agree that it’s better than a lot of other genre fare. So I can’t quite bring myself to loathe it like Paul seemed to. I don’t know what it says about me that my least watched Dirty Harry movies as a kid were 2 of the most entertaining to me as an adult but that’s just the way the cookie crumbled.

  33. Nice review you have done above. I wanted to point out one small thing that you missed. You commented on Harry chewing out his partner for putting ketchup on a hot dog. Most people find that scene amusing…but nobody, I mean nobody ever picks up on the symbolism. They are two cops investigating a murder of a “cock shot stiff”…while one of them is toting around a ketchup slathered wiener. Get it?

  34. At this point I half-expect Vern’s next book to be about condiment usage in badass cinema.

  35. Broddie reminds that damn, I would love to get your take on THE GAUNTLET, Vern. It is prolly my fave non-Leone Eastwood movie. Mostly coz I can’t help but love an underdog, and this is the most underdog Eastwood movie ever, but it’s also such a swerve from his Dirty Harry prime. I might have to bust that one out once I get this strange ’90s horror kick out of my system.

  36. Absolutely! Vern’s review of THE GAUNTLET is something I’ve wanted for the last few new years. All the more so since Sondra Locke died. This is an Eastwood movie with a Frank Fazetta poster; I’d take a Vern review of that alone.

    Look at this!

  37. Sorry. Link failed. Mally No Show again.

  38. Maybe The Gauntlet will be 2020’s first review for Vern. It would make sense because I can already feel 2020 being a gauntlet to get through.

  39. I have never really taken the time to appreciate how amazing that poster is. I’ve been thinking of getting a new poster recently for my stairwell, which is a mini art gallery of dope classic posters. Like any right-thinking individual with good taste and functioning eyes, I prefer the painted ones. I think this one would fit right in near my BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA and GATOR posters.

    Let me give the link a shot and see if I have better luck.

  40. Thanks, Mr M. I trust you’re in a good place right now, but however life is treating you I can’t imagine that poster will make it worse.

    The GATOR poster is already a very fine choice.

  41. I bought it in tribute the day Burt passed on. The funny thing is, GATOR isn’t my favorite Burt movie (it’s not even my favorite in the Gator series) but the poster is just so awesome that it was the obvious choice. It’s probably the ultimate distillation of the Burt ethos you could ever hope to find. I’m really happy with my purchase.

    For those who haven’t yet experienced the glory:

  42. Should have known not to push my luck by trying to post two links in one afternoon.

  43. I’m not even gonna try. Google it people and be happy.

    Now, I don’t want to detract from my key points from above, which are (a) that I heartily endorse any call for a review of THE GAUNTLET, and (b) that Frank Frazetta’s poster for THE GAUNTLET is truly awesome, but…

    Off the top of my head, Burt movies I love:
    DELIVERANCE – because
    HUSTLE – Burt & Deneuve & Robert Aldrich; it gets me every time
    THE MEAN MACHINE – the Aldrich movie, obviously
    WHITE LIGHTNING – the best of the Gator series
    SHARKY’S MACHINE – the best of Burt’s director gigs
    THE MAN WHO LOVED CAT DANCING – Burt in an actual Western
    BREAKING IN – little seen, but written by John Sayles and directed by Bill Forsyth it always seemed like this was made for me
    THE CANNONBALL RUN – yeah, where else can you see Jackie Chan, Dean Martin and Adrienne Barbeau in a Burt movie?
    MALONE – now Vern has taken the quote down, go read his review:

    I could go on. I really could, but I fear my age is showing.


  45. I like CANNONBALL RUN better too, but that’s just my love for ensemble comedy slapstick extravaganzas in general.

  46. But there’s really no good car chases in it. SMOKEY really delivers in that department. And it’s one you can enjoy sober as well as shitfaced.

  47. I only remember watching SPEED ZONE as a kid, which was a quasi-sequel with the same premise but with a lot of SCTV alumni in Burt’s place.

  48. Yeah, I thought at the time I was probably being more controversial than I intended to be. To be clear, I like all the Burt-Needham movies – there’s a time and a place for STROKER ACE – and I hope this is a subject we all get to revisit when Vern reviews ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. But CANNONBALL RUN just edges it for me – over HOOPER, if I’m being completely honest – although SMOKEY is more Burt’s show. The sketch show, star power silliness of CANNONBALL RUN is still – to me, your mileage may vary – charming rather than annoying, and any movie that inspired Jackie Chan to run a blooper reel over the credits deserves some love. Roger Moore sends up his Bond persona, which was already close to send up, better than anyone ever did, and it has Jack Elam doing comedy.

    And SMOKEY has Jackie Gleason, who I do find annoying.

  49. I found Sudden Impact to be the best of the Dirty Harry series. Of course, you do have a right to your opinion I have to disagree with you on the opening scene though Paul. The woman played by a Sondra Locke looks erotic while she is making out with the man and she easily seduces him to the point where he is thinking with the wrong head. He is definitely enjoying getting kissed by the sexy woman he picked up, and when she reaches into her purse and pulls out that shiny gun, he does not notice: 1) because her face is in front of his while she is kissing him and he cannot see what she is doing. 2) He is getting his jollies and then the gets him even more excited when she undoes his pants and pulls down his zipper. He was expecting something “else” to come next. Also, she does not shoot him in the head first. She cocks her gun on his testicles and that is where she shoots him first. Then she mercifully blows his brains out. This is pronounced because later, when the victim is found lying dead in the front seat of his car, his hand is over his bloody crotch clutching it. It is obvious his hand would go there the moment the woman blew off his genitals, so no, she did not shoot him in the head first. Why would she do that? She made him suffer before she killed, that is for sure. Did he deserve to get murdered? That all depends on peoples point of view. I personally think the Sondra Locke character goes too far when she kills the first guy is such a deceptive way and becomes a murderer. She wanted revenge, an eye for an eye, but this was more like an eye for two eyes! The guy was no angel and had raped her so many years before, but did he deserve to get killed like that? Like I said, Sudden Impact is very dark and it is Sondra Locke that makes it dark and she does in exceptionally well.

  50. Just saw it again and I liked it Original Paul. Jennifer ( Sondra Locke ) shot him in the testicles first! There is no doubt about that. When she pulls the pistol out of her hand bag he is getting kissed by her and by kissing him and passing him erotic smirks she is seducing him. Not so unrealistic as you say. She is an attractive woman and she is stimulating him. It is pretty creepy, and if you are a guy watching this add scary to that. As a woman I found it pretty disturbing seeing the man getting his genitals blown off by her. I even felt a bit sorry for him seeing the shock on his face when he hears the pistol being cocked on his privates by what he thought was a very sexy woman only seconds before. Yes he was a scumbag as we later find out. He had raped her many years before, but I don’t think what she did was any better. She is an angry woman and the film in no way tries to make her look sweet, which anybody can attest to after seeing how she killed that guy in the car. This woman, though pretty, is no darling! She is a bitter, ruthless lady and she does not seem at all troubled by what she did. That makes her a psychopath to me. She even brags about it later when she visits her sister and tells her how she killed the guy. The only decent thing she did was kill him quickly by blowing his brains out after the crotch shot, and I am sure she did not do that to be merciful either. She wanted to leave the scene asap. Cool film, and it is this vengeful woman that made it cool because there are people out there that condone it and others that do not making Sudden Impact not only dark but controversial too.

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