Saturday, September 25, 2010

'Sudden Impact' is weakest Dirty Harry film

Sudden Impact (1983)
Starring: Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke
Director: Clint Eastwood
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

A rape victim (Locke) is taking brutal revenge on her attackers, and SFPD's most rebellious police inspector, Harry Callahan (Eastwood) is trying to catch her.

I once wrote that "Magnum Force" is the weakest link in the "Dirty Harry" cycle. I take it back. That dubious distiction properly goes to "Sudden Impact", a film without any likable characters (with the possible exception of Meathead the Dog); flat performances from most of the actors (even Eastwood); a story that relies waaay too much on coincidence to keep moving (yes, there always needs to be some sort of coincidental convergence of events and characters, but "Sudden Impact" features so many that it's just plain bad writing); and the end is out of step with the way Callahan has been portrayed in previous films, how he is portrayed in the final film in the series... and it's just a bad ending all-around. (Without providing too many spoilers, Harry pretty much abandons any moral high-ground he once may have been able to claim, because as the end credits roll in "Sudden Impact", he's no longer a good cop by any stretch of the imagination.)

To make the experience even worse, Sandra Locke appears to have received a talent-ectomy before filming on "Sudden Impact" began.

I remember liking this movie alot when I saw it as a kid some two decades ago. All I really remembered was the startling final shot of the main bad guy, and the scenes with Meathead. I really should have watched all the "Dirty Harry" movies again before condemning "Magnum Force." It's interesting how tastes change as we grow older.