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"This is the .44 Magnum Automag...and if properly used, it can remove the fingerprints."

The above is a memorable line from this fourth movie in the "Dirty Harry" series. This movie breathed new life into the series after the mediocre "The Enforcer" (1976). (The first two movies in the series were the excellent "Dirty Harry," 1971 and the good "Magnum Force," 1973.)

This time Clint Eastwood (as SFPD Inspector Harry Callahan) took over the reins by producing & directing this movie and it shows. As well, Eastwood seems to have renewed interest in the character, giving it the energy and intensity it deserves. (He seemed to have lost this interest in "The Enforcer.")

Sondra Locke plays a "revenge" killer in this movie. She does a good job in her role.

This is the only "Dirty Harry" movie to be primarily set and filmed outside of San Francisco.

This movie is especially known for the catchphrase "Go ahead, make my day" (uttered by Harry). In fact, it became so famous that then-President Ronald Reagan used it in a speech to Congress to challenge them on an issue.

This movie was a box-office success. It was the highest-grossing movie of the five films in the "Dirty Harry" franchise.

Finally, the DVD itself (released in 2001 and part of the Clint Eastwood Collection) has five extras.

In conclusion, this is a must-see movie that breathed new life into the "Dirty Harry" movie series. And remember:

"Nobody, but nobody, puts ketchup on a hot dog anymore!"

(1983; 1 hr, 54 min. excluding end credits; wide screen; 37 scenes; rated `R')

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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We can credit Clint Eastwood with bringing the Dirty Harry series back from the precipice, after the resounding thud of "The Enforcer."

This time, Dirty Harry himself took control of the moviemaking process. "Sudden Impact" has a more polished, sleek filming style, but Clint Eastwood's tight, brutal direction and steely-eyed performance make this as gritty a 80s noir as you can ask for. And like the best movies of this series, it dances along the fine line between law and justice.

"Dirty" Harry Callahan (Eastwood) is having his usual clashes with the legal system over his butt-kicking, take-no-prisoners style -- especially when he accidentally causes a prominent mobster to drop dead during his own daughter's wedding. Awkward. So Harry is forced to take a vacation, despite the fact that the mobster's hitmen are now out to kill him.

Meanwhile, a young woman named Jennifer Spencer (Sondra Locke) who was gang-raped along with her sister, is taking bloody gruesome revenge on the men responsible. This isn't much of a spoiler, since she admits this early in the movie. Now Harry finds himself facing vigilante justice vs. a corrupt local police force, and may have to put himself on the line to save a killer.

After the stifling genericness of "Enforcer," it's nice that "Sudden Impact" gets back to the central theme of the Dirty Harry series -- the timeless clash between justice and the law, between vigilantism and corrupt police forces. Between the deadly femme fatale, the prickly anti-hero and the moral murk, it feels very much like a modern noir story.

Clint Eastwood really displayed his directing chops here, long before he became as well known a director as an actor. The direction is sleeker and more polished than the previous three movies, but it's underscored by a sense of bloody chaos that is only lightly held in check. He also knows quite well that we want to see horrendous, repulsive characters get their just desserts, and he unleashes plenty of wonderfully tense action scenes, but a rather bleakly satisfying ending.

And Eastwood really brings in a wicked sense of humor. An early scene involves him casually interrupting a robbery at a diner, claiming that he just came in to gripe about his coffee -- and then he utters one of the two lines that Dirty Harry is known and loved for: "Make my day."

And despite a gap of seven years between these movies, Eastwood seems to have renewed enthusiasm for the role -- Harry is all squinting, prickly gunslinger who exists in his own law-enforcing zone, with his own moral code. He's a truly fascinating character who both scares and fascinates, and Eastwood is absolutely brilliant at showing the character's intricacies.

Sandra Locke is also quite good, playing a pale, shy, sylph-like artist with a cold inner rage -- exactly the last person you can envision going off and killing people. And Paul Drake is absolutely scary as Mick, and every scene containing him leaves you craving his death at... SOMEBODY's hand. Harry or Jennifer, either will do!

"Sudden Impact" yanked the Dirty Harry series back on track, and Eastwood's astounding skills -- both behind and in front of the camera -- are nothing short of amazing. It's a dark, bleak story that is sometimes hard to watch, but definitely worth seeing.
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on August 22, 2012
Dirty Harry is back again and in this venture,which may be the most popular entry,much is thrown in in a
well directed venture which the bonus notes by Schikel,in a good and learned commentary,with much tidbits about
the film and also some notes about american life,but we can also extrapolate it to life around the world,and the critic notes a creeping anarchism growing worldwide...and he finds an absence of order,or perhaps meaning or something missing in the government,but worldwide,but what exactly is missing. Of course is that the issue or is that a misnomer...and here we have Harry and this did well since probably it has a women's issue at the forefront in a women being assaulted/raped and how she deals with the situation. The story is not really seen from Harry's standpoint but how she acts and he reacts. There is a problem here..but ill get to that. The critic notes Harry appears as a strange character a throwback to a past person but with a modern flair,an antagonist who besides helping out also wants to have the victim,learn,although he commits a fatal fault. Does he realize the victim here,is not perfect,but far from it,although she is no nymphomaniac a traumatized person would have trouble sexually engaging Harry which she does,and he presents a flaw in himself in accepting her overture,why the film went this way we dont know,especially since the critic states "heaven knows he's aware" and there are religious references in all these harry movies,and his religious sense if you will is in making himself vulnerable for the victim,the woman,and a target,for people in the way they reciprocate who dont really deserve it at times...but there's no one else around...and as the critic notes in our times "no one sticks their neck out" for anyone...but then what is exactly going out in modern times,and in these stories,..and eventually the women murders her assaulters,and is that fate,and should we allow such morality..or is it the act of a vigilante...this point would go over better and he lets her off...but the sexual escapade ruins it...this point does make a good point that help is its own reward although this is not fully there,or is that the fragmented Harry here they want to show..but anyways its a good film and tells us much about why people feel the way they do...the carnival scene ending...an ending scene like strangers on a train..the carnival brings us back to youth..how we feel when we first went to a
carnival and that is superimposed with all the emotions and feelings and we have a final shootout..and the conflict is resolved...a popular tale...the current problems worldwide is how we view this film today and if the world was tranquil and ideal..if we were different than we actually are ...there would be no need for dirty harry..but dirty harry is there...and if we all were more uxorious and not so fragmentary...but isnt that saying the same thing...its a film looking for permanence in our daily life...in the victims of our daily life,,,which has made more of a mark than all those dreadful liberal paul newman films and its successors which are forced and created all the problems we are trying to run away from..
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on August 27, 2002
Seven years after "The Enforcer", Harry is still trying to "run these hoods out of San Francisco". He just happens to be around while a couple of felonies are being committed-- "I just came back to complain about the service". Sure enough, a bunch of criminals wind up dead. After throwing a Molotov cocktail from his car through the windshield of the punk's car who he couldn't bust because he didn't follow proper procedure, he's shipped off to the coast town of San Paulo. Incidentally, the punks end up in San Francisco Bay. And Harry winds up in San Paulo. A bunch of small time hoods are being shot execution style and Harry is sent to investigate. The police chief (Pat Hingle) wants Harry to keep his nose out of it and Harry wants to find out why. Albert Popwell, who has played a bank robber, pimp and "black militant" in previous shows, is in this one too. In Sudden Impact he's a cop and Harry's friend. Paul Drake, one of the most despicable bad guys you'll ever see in a movie is the last guy to get. Hingle has him in jail but he gets bailed out and shows up at Hingle's residence with his two cohorts from their "bereaved" sisters fish place. You could compare the Dirty Harry shows to James Bond movies---you know how they're going to turn out but you want to see it happen anyway.
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on November 30, 2001
Rogue SFPD Inspector #71, 'Dirty' Harry Callahan himself, returns in this somewhat ineffective entry in the popular action series.
When Harry's harsh questioning gives an eldery mafioso a heart attack, the hitmen come gunning for revenge. Thankfully there is a murder case the brass can send Harry out of town to investigate. Too bad it shapes up to be a serial murder case linked to a small town's dark secret.
Sudden Impact turns Dirty Harry into even more of a fish out of water by sending him to 'San Paulo' (which Northern California residents will recognize as Santa Cruz) to dispatch criminals. Malpaso regular Pat Hingle does a real nice turn as the small town Sheriff gnashing his teeth over Callahan's intrusive digging to find the nasty clues linking the killings, but Sondra Locke is wooden as the killer turned love interest. Though the film is filled with action and humor, visually stylish, and graced with another fine score by Lalo Schifrin, the script by Joseph C. Stinson is incredibly weak. Sure it has some classic dialogue, but the storyline is shoddy and Harry's character behaves in a manner not consistant with the personality established in the first three films. Only Eastwood's strong performance both as Harry and as director of the movie (I hesitate to call his bloody confection a 'film') save this from getting three stars. Recommended for fans only.
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on July 4, 2001
When I first saw this film I thought Clint Eastwood had flipped out. He took the realistic base from the first three "Dirty Harry" films and replaced it with some type of pseudo surrealistic parody that seemed so repulsive it bordered on bad taste to say the very least. However, after repeated viewing it started to grow on me and I actually wanted to watch over and over. I couldn't get enough of it. It certainly was not the same Dirty Harry but it had a very blunt approach for dealing with crime and criminals. In the first three films the bureaucrats constantly accused Harry of crossing the line yet the audience knew Harry was right and the bureaucrats were just a bunch of crybaby liberals (at least that's what the directors wanted us to think). In SUDDEN IMPACT Clint Eastwood is at the helm. Eastwood proposes a question to the audience: You like crazy? Do you want to see crazy? I'm going to give you crazy. Filmmaking is a business and like a good businessman Eastwood gives his audience what they want. Yet Eastwood is no fool. Without artistic merit this film would have been a failure. Eastwood is playing the auteur filmmaker here and he is very successful at it. This film is way ahead of its time. The fabric of a sane society is being pulled apart. Family values, if you like, are out the window. Eastwood collects the most vile, repugnant and repulsive villains for this film that literally defines the meaning of trailer trash. The Mafia hoodlums at the beginning of the film look like impotent choirboys compared to the bunch of wacko amusement park crazies he ends up exterminating by the film's end. If Eastwood had not directed this film with his offbeat humor and unconventional style, if he had played it as a straight drama, the critics would have screamed murder. This is a good film. It's a stand-alone modern day apocalyptic tale delivered for your approval by Dirty Harry. I can still remember Reni Santoni asking, "Why do they call you Dirty Harry?" Now we really know.
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on June 28, 2001
When I first saw this film I thought Clint Eastwood had flipped out. He took the realistic base from the first three "Dirty Harry" films and replaced it with some type of pseudo surrealistic parody that seemed so repulsive it bordered on bad taste to say the very least. However, after repeated viewing it started to grow on me and I actually wanted to watch it over and over. I couldn't get enough of it. It certainly was not the same Dirty Harry but it had a very blunt approach for dealing with crime and criminals. In the first three films the bureaucrats constantly accused Harry of crossing the line yet the audience knew Harry was right and the bureaucrats were just a bunch of crybaby liberals (at least that's what the directors wanted us to think). In SUDDEN IMPACT Clint Eastwood is at the helm. Eastwood proposes a question to the audience: You like crazy? Do you want to see crazy? I'm going to give you crazy. Filmmaking is a business and like a good businessman Eastwood gives his audience what they want. Yet Eastwood is no fool. Without artistic merit this film would have been a failure. Eastwood is playing the auteur filmmaker here and he is very successful at it. This film is way ahead of its time. The fabric of a sane society is being pulled apart. Family values, if you like, are out the window. Eastwood collects the most vile, repugnant and repulsive villains for this film that literally defines the meaning of trailer trash. The Mafia hoodlums at the beginning of the film look like... choirboys compared to the bunch of wacko amusement park crazies he ends up exterminating by the film's end. If Eastwood had not directed this film with his offbeat humor and unconventional style, if he had played it as a straight drama, the critics would have screamed murder. This is a good film. It's a stand-alone modern day apocalyptic tale delivered for your approval by Dirty Harry. I can still remember Reni Santoni asking, "Why do they call you Dirty Harry?" Now we really know.
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on May 14, 2001
After the disappointment of The Enforcer (1976), it appeared as if the DIRTY HARRY films would remain a trilogy...until at long last came Sudden Impact (1983) in full force. After seven years, Eastwood was willing to give the series another shot. This time he insured that the film would not be a miss-fire by producing and directing the film himself.
Sudden Impact does not let down and is the best of the DIRTY HARRY sequels, partly due to its similarities to the first film. After an absense in The Enforcer, Lalo Schriffin returned to compose the memorable music and Bruce Surtees came back to do the amazing cinemaphotography. Then theres Eastwood as producer, director, and star. In Sudden Impact, he does his best portrayal as Inspector Harry Callahan, chewing up every scene he is in. This is the funniest and the most entertaining "Dirty" Harry of them all. The Callahan of the first film is a choir boy compared to this one. He's definitely not at all mellow and calm like he was in Magnum Force (1973). The script of The Enforcer began a trend in Eastwood's dialogue that was more grim-jawed than usual. In Sudden Impact, Eastwood's put-downs are hilarious.
As for the rest of the cast, Bradford Dillman returns as Captain Briggs (didn't he die in that car explosion in Magnum Force?) and Sondra Locke is the main antagonist, whom nearly half the film centers on. If the film has a flaw, it was that. However, Locke does not steal the film and sink it. Instead, the film is all Eastwood in some of his best scenes. Some of the most memorable moments of the DIRTY HARRY series are packed into this one film.
The plot concerns a rape victim (Locke) who seeks revenge against her attackers. Callahan follows the body count to a small urban town where most of the rapists reside. Once he gets there, its a no-holds-barred adventure/comedy/drama with Callahan battling what seems like the whole town, a town that could be seen as an old western town in any of Eastwood's westerns (Callahan is totally out of place and is not welcome by the local sheriff).
Sudden Impact should be seen by anyone who believes that sequels are inferior and pointless.
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on November 28, 2001
This is one of the best "Dirty Harry" movies. This is probably the craziest of the bunch but it is still one of the best. When Harry is sent on an assignment for some rest and recreation he finds himself involved with some really repugnant and vile seaside creeps that define the meaning of scum. Under the direction of Clint Eastwood this movie takes on some strange and weird twists on the morality of justice and law and order. This is a very entertaining film yet it plays out like an allegory to the first "Dirty Harry " movie. You'll think twice about going under the boardwalk after you see this one.
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on April 18, 2001
Dirty Harry is back, and with some of the best quoteable quotes in the series. However, this third sequel is overlong, sometimes unpleasant, and doesn't have that Dirty Harry "feel" to it. Harry is tracking a female serial killer (Sondra Locke) who's knocking off all those who participated in the gang rape of her and her sister years before. Some of the thugs are genuinely despicable and Eastwood is very watchable here. But it's basically a vehicle for Locke, his then girlfriend. Dirty Harry returned to form in 1988's "The Dead Pool."
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