“I didn’t start shooting at anyone that didn’t start shooting at me first.”
“Dirty” Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) hunts down a team of rookie cops who are murdering notorious criminals.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Clint Eastwood Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary notes that this second installment in the “Dirty Harry” franchise “lacks the gritty feel and stylistic impositions of the original” but has some “tough, cleverly directed” action scenes and an “exciting”, morally ambiguous script (co-written by Michael Cimino). Since the identity of the killers is made clear from the beginning, there’s no “murder mystery” to be solved; instead, the film’s interest lies primarily in watching how a notorious vigilante cop like Dirty Harry reacts when confronted with a group of sharpshooting fascist rookies (led by blonde David Soul) who take his own cynical attitude to a deadly extreme.
(Harry himself states at one point, “I hate the goddamn system, but until someone comes along with changes that make sense, I’ll stick with it.”) The film’s title (magnums are ultra-powerful cartridges) hints at an emphasis on firearms and ballistics throughout, and the scene in which Eastwood battles Soul for top prize in a shooting contest is particularly exciting. However, I could do without the inane “subplot” involving Harry’s sexually available Asian neighbor (Adele Yoshioka), whose two-dimensional presence merely serves to tap into Orientalist fantasies.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- An intriguing premise
- Effective use of San Francisco locales (including the infamously twisty Lombard Street)
No, though it’s certainly worth a look, and must-see for “Dirty Harry” completists.