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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 scene like strangers on a train..the carnival brings us back to 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 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 February 16, 2004
After Harry lands on a mafia hit list he is sent to the small town of San Paulo (actually Santa Cruz, CA) to investigate the background of a murder victim. What Harry uncovers is a serial killer settling a score.
Clint Eastwood doesn't like repeating himself, so it is no big surprise that the Dirty Harry movie he directed resembles the others in the series very little. It is largely set outside of San Francisco and his character has little to do with the actual plot for the first forty or so minutes. The action is nicely handled, but the story's pace is turgid - thanks in large part to Joseph Stinson's sloppy and underdeveloped screenplay. When Eastwood revealed that Sudden Impact was turned into a Dirty Harry movie late in the rewrite game, I was not surprised. The tape holding his character into the story in first few reels is quite evident. Harry fans will want to have this in their collection, but I just don't think it is as fun or exicting as the other movies in the long running series.
Trivia - Bradford Dillman makes his second Dirty Harry appearance in Sudden Impact. This time out his character is named Captain Briggs, although he played Captain McKay in the 1976 entry The Enforcer. Briggs was actually the name of the vigilante team leader in the 1973 sequel Magnum Force. Whether this is a knowing wink to that thriller or just sloppy continuity, I am not sure. But I'm edging towards sloppy continuity myself.
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on July 10, 2003
There is only one Dirty Harry movie for me, and that is the first one, the Don Siegel's version. The mixture of the first Dirty Harry is just too well (the charismatic Harry Callahan, the dangerous Scorpio, intense relationship between Scorpio and Callahan), that the other four only practically try to borrow Harry Callahan "tough-attitude" in a different background. I'm not saying this to say that the other sequels are bad, is just that i've seen those sequels more as a 'separate, different action' movie from the original Dirty Harry. Because i'm not expecting another Dirty Harry movie, but just merely a good action movie, then i'm not dissapointed nor feel betrayed when watching Sudden Impact. It has just the right thing that make this movie as a 'better movie' if compared to the previous Enforcer or Magnum Force...a good story, something that is rarely found in the present day action movie.
It told a story of a woman who avenge her sister by killing her sister's rapers...and here's where Harry Callahan steps in, not as Harry Callahan that we know in the good old 'Dirty Harry', but as a detective who have to face his inner morale question on the right of that woman to avenge her sister, and his obligation to arrest a murderer.
So to all of you who really want to see Dirty Harry, well go directly to the real thing..the first Dirty Harry. To all of you who want to see more action...well you have to see Magnum Force or The Enforcer....but for those who wish to see an action movie with a touch of good story, well here it is. Of course the action is there...and its a good one too (particularly the finalle shoot out in fun park near the beach)..there is also some mob issue that Callahan wanted to nailto add up more possibility for action sequence....and you can still have some good one liner's from Eastwood such as 'Go ahead make my day'..but all of those were not as 'heavy' as its two predecessor. But then again, the action and the story is balanced prety well, thus makes Sudden Impact is very enjoyable. Eastwood directing is moderate but sufficient...i'm in the opinion that this movie is far much better then Eastwood recent work, 'Blood Work'.
Recomended for those of you who like action movie with a better plot and deeper character, unrecomended for those of you who wish a 'total shoot out' .
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on June 9, 2003
I recently watched DIRTY HARRY and it's a masterpiece. After having seen a list of all of the other Dirty Harry flicks I decided to go with what's probably the most famous sequel, SUDDEN IMPACT.
"Nice job, meathead."
SUDDEN IMPACT is a disappointing sequel to Don Siegel's legendary film. It puts "Dirty" Harry Callahan (Eastwood) chasing after a female rape victim whom he just happens to fall in love with while, at the same time, bumping into her continuosly and never guessing she's the woman who has been murdering the people who raped her.
This film is a disgrace to the original classic. It changes Callahan's image of a justice-bringing tough guy (and hero) to a lazy, cranky old man who runs with his dog (who then urinates everywhere it goes). It's really pretty bad - even Lalo Schifrin's usually great score is forgettable. Could have been better - much better.
Unless you're a real Eastwood fan, you won't really care for SUDDEN IMPACT, which is foolish but watchable for one big reason:
To hear Eastwood say the legendary line, "Make my day."
OVERALL: *** (3) out of ***** (5) [Almost Above Average)
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on October 27, 2002
Actual rating : 3.5 stars .
Background .
From the beginning of the Dirty Harry series it was clear that Harry Callahan is a different kind of a cop . He is known for his unorthodox methods in pursuing justice , and is the role model of a cop that is interested in making the villains pay by all means necessary . Naturally , these facts have made him notorious and a very controversial character in and out of the silver screen .
Harry Callahan represents the dissatisfaction of the common people from the law enforcements' limitations . This figure became so popular from day one owning to its ability to do or express what the crowds would have wanted to do on their own but could not and should not do : Give all the bad guys exactly what they deserve , regardless of due process , lawful rights , the proof burden and the red tape .
Eastwood as Harry has always managed to step between the lines and has been on the verge of really breaking the law many times mainly due to frequently dealing with criminals the law can't catch or touch . The harsh relation of Harry to legal responsibilities such as 'telling the rights' to the suspect or pronouncing 'drop your weapon!' before shooting the desperado embodies the bitterness of many from the legal restrictions and limitations mentioned above .

The plot .
The movie starts with the usual Callahan stunts that come to remind the viewers who he is and what he stands for . Then the story develops into an investigation of a series of murders that Harry conducts pretty much on his own . Throughout the movie the resentment from his actions of every superior officer is emphasized to the absurd and the tendency of people to die around him is virtually comical . These recurring motives are the bases of the theatrical Harry series and are expected and even welcomed .
Significance .
In a much stronger manner , at least in my money , compared to its predecessors , the movie takes matters I pointed out before further and regards even the suitability and rightness of legal punishment for rape : The writers of the script imply that no punishment but death is what rapists deserve .
The strongest scene in the movie confronts one of the rapists with the victim that has come to get even . In a desperate attempt , while facing his doom , the rapist begs for his life and tries to convince the .../executioner that he does not deserve to die for his crime . Moreover , he says that he had been young , drunk and hadn't known what he was doing . At this point you stop to think real hard : What punishment does a crime like this call for ? To find out about the answer of the film you will have watch it .
This issue was then , as it is today , of grave implications to our society . With constant rise in the rate of rape cases and in the brutality and viciousness in which they are executed , the thoughts about this subject seem to favor much more serious punishments as means of revenge and intimidation than the ones the legal system carries out . This question is extremely controversial and divisive as is the question of the death penalty . I don't know the answers myself . All I know is that to rape a woman is like to murder her soul - and that it is unforgiven .
Final note .
This is a violent and dark film with an extra value to it . The producers should be commended for being brave enough to deal with this extremely hard and conflict-ridden subject . You will have to see it for yourself realize what final conclusion and moral they suggest .
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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 July 6, 2002
The vigilante has long held a fascination for audiences, inasmuch as it evokes a sense of swift, sure justice; good triumphs over evil and the bad guy gets his deserts. It is, in fact, one of the things that has made the character of Dirty Harry Callahan (as played by Clint Eastwood) so popular. He carries a badge and works within the law, but at heart, Harry is a vigilante, meting out justice "his" way, which often puts him in conflict with his own superiors, as well as the criminals he's pursuing. But it's what draws the audience; anyone who's ever been bogged down in bureaucratic nonsense of one kind or another, delights in seeing someone cut through the red tape and get on with it-- even if it's only on the screen. And that satisfaction derived from seeing justice done-- and quickly-- is one of the elements that makes "Sudden Impact," directed by and starring Eastwood, so successful. In this one, the fourth of the series, while working a homicide, Harry encounters a bona fide vigilante at work-- an individual whose brand of justice parallels his own, with one exception: Whoever it is, he's definitely not carrying a badge.
In his own inimitable way, Inspector Callahan has once again ended up on the bad side of the department and is ordered to take some vacation time. So he does; as only "Dirty Harry" can. In a small town north of San Francisco, Harry finds himself smack dab in the middle of a homicide case, which he quickly links to a recent murder in San Francisco because of the unique M.O. employed by the perpetrator. Unaccountably, Harry encounters resistance from the local Police Chief, Jannings (Pat Hingle), who advises him to take his big city tactics and methods elsewhere. Not one to be deterred, however, Harry continues his investigation, which ultimately involves a beautiful and talented young artist, Jennifer Spencer (Sondra Locke). Gradually, Harry discovers a link between the victims; the burning question, though, is where does Jennifer Spencer fit into the picture?
Eastwood is in top form here, both in front of and behind the camera, and it is arguably the second best of the five-film series, right behind the original "Dirty Harry." It had been seven years since the last "Harry" offering ("The Enforcer," 1976), but Eastwood steps right back into the character with facility and renewed vigor. And this one definitely benefits from having him in the director's chair, as he is able to recapture the essence of, not only his own character, but that "spirit" that made these films so successful, and he does it by knowing the territory and establishing a continuity that all but erases that seven year gap between #s 3 and 4. As with all the films he directs, Eastwood sets a deliberate pace that works perfectly for this material and creates just enough tension to keep it interesting and involving from beginning to end.
The screenplay, by Joseph Stinson, is well written and formulated to that distinctive "Dirty Harry" style; the dialogue is snappy and the story itself (conceived by Charles B. Pierce and Earl E. Smith) is the most engaging since the original "Dirty Harry," as it successfully endeavors to play upon the very personal aspects of the drama, rather than entirely upon the action. The characters are well drawn and convincing, and, of course, this is the film that gave us one of Harry's best catch-phrases: "Go, ahead-- make my day..."
As Harry, Clint Eastwood perfectly embodies all of the elements that make this character so popular: He lives by a personal moral code, a true individual made of the kind of stuff we envision as that of the pioneers who settled this country and made America what it is today. Harry personifies that sense of freedom and justice we all strive for and hold so dear, possibly more so today than ever before. No matter who we are or where we come from, there's undeniably a part of us that wants to be Harry, or at least have him around. "Dirty Harry" is an icon of the cinema, and it's impossible to envision anyone but Eastwood portraying him; for better or worse, Eastwood "is" Dirty Harry, without question, just as Sean Connery is James Bond and Basil Rathbone, Sherlock Holmes.
Sondra Locke is entirely effective here in the role of Jennifer Spencer, a young woman wronged and out for vengeance, or as she sees it, "justice." She manages to bring a hard-edged determination laced with vulnerability to her character, with a convincing, introspective approach that is far beyond what is typical of the "action" genre. Even amid the violence, Locke keeps her focus on Jennifer and the traumatic events that have brought her to this stage of her life. Her portrayal makes a perfect complement to Eastwood's Harry, and becomes, in philosophy and deed, something of his counterpart.
In supporting roles, two performances stand out: Paul Drake, as Mick, creates the best "psycho" since Andy Robinson's dynamic portrayal of the serial killer in the original "Dirty Harry." With actually very limited screen time, Drake establishes a genuinely disconcerting presence that is believable and convincing, which adds much to the purely visceral response of the audience. This is the guy you can't wait to see Harry take care of in the end. Also effective is Audrie J. Neenan, who makes her character, Ray Parkins, the epitome of the proverbial "low life," who can be found in any bar in any city. It's a performance that evokes a gut-level response, and it adds greatly to the credibility of the film, in that it helps provide that necessary sense of realism.
The supporting cast includes Albert Popwell (Horace), Mark Kevloun (Bennett) and Nancy Parsons (Mrs. Kruger). With a perfect blend of drama and action, "Sudden Impact" dispenses justice that is a fulfilling respite from reality; the perfect justice of a not-so-perfect world, that makes for a satisfying cinematic experience.
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on January 7, 2002
After the disappointing Enforcer from 1977, Sudden Impact is without doubt the best episode in the five Dirty Harry films - excellent storyline, well played soundtrack, well-used locations and of course a strong cast. The climax of the film is truly well staged and blends the taut, seriousness of the film throughout. The story of a rape victim seeking revenge on those that carried out the attack certainly brings the best out of Sondra Locke.
Once the film was released, Clint Eastwood was universally acclaimed for bringing such a delecate subject to the cinema. It was a gamble that had hansomely paid off.
Clint himself is on top form and plays it vintage style, like the first Dirty Harry. The best line has to be the:- "Go Ahead - Make My Day". Harry's dog - Meathead brings some light moments to the script as does his scene with Bradford Dillman.
Great support too from Eastwood film veteran - Pat Hingle.
It is no suprise that Sudden Impact is to this date the highest grossing Dirty Harry episode.
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