(director: James Fargo; screenwriters: Stirling Silliphant/Dean Riesener/Harry Julian Fink/R.M. Fink/Gail Morgan Hickman & S.W. Schurr; cinematographer: Charles W. Short; editors: Joel Cox/Ferris Webster; music: Jerry Fielding; cast: Clint Eastwood (Insp. ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan), Tyne Daly (Insp. Kate Moore), Harry Guardino (Lt. Al Bressler), Bradford Dillman (Capt. McKay), John Mitchum (Insp. Frank DiGiorgio), DeVeren Bookwalter (Bobby Maxwell), John Crawford (Mayor), Albert Popwell (‘Big’ Ed Mustapha), Samantha Doane (Wanda), M.G. Kelly (Father John), Adele Proom (Irene DiGeorgio), Tim Burrus (Henry Lee), Robert Hoy (Buchinski); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Robert Daley; Warner Bros; 1976)
“A series that has become too familiar using the same old formula.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This is the third Dirty Harry film (“Dirty Harry” and “Magnum Force”) in a series that has become too familiar using the same old formula. Clint Eastwood is Inspector Harry Callahan, the tough but honest San Francisco cop who is in constant battle with his liberal superiors (liberals are viewed as crooked, softies, feminist lovers, appeasers of criminals, radicals and pornographers) and the street weirdos and criminals. The script by Stirling Silliphant and Dean Riesener leaves a lot to be desired; the bland directing by James Fargo shoots for the action sequences and leaves behind any serious take on politics or the mindset of a cop; the acting by all, save Clint, is nothing to write home about. The characters are created by Harry Julian and R.M. Fink. In this episode, Clint goes after a radical psychopathic hippie group who are money crazy and homicidal.
After killing two truckers for a gas company, the People’s Revolutionary Strike Force (a group inspired by the Symbionese Liberation Army) led by psycho former Viet-nam vet Bobby Maxwell (DeVeren Bookwalter), use the stolen truck to rob a weapons warehouse handling sophisticated military firearms such as rocket launchers. Trying to break up the heist was Harry’s partner Frank (John Mitchum), who gets killed. Frank’s wife says “It’s a war, isn’t it?” Harry is partnered with newly appointed Inspector Kate Moore (Tyne Daly) by the incompetent police captain McKay (Bradford Dillman), who sucks up to the incompetent mayor (John Crawford) in order to gain favor for promotions. There’s lots of action as the radicals demand millions or else they’ll blow up parts of the city, which escalates to the kidnapping of the mayor. He’s held hostage for a $5 million ransom at the abandoned Alcatraz. In the climactic shootout Kate proves a woman who spent 10 years in Personnel and never made an arrest can do the distaff side proud by her heroics, even though she doesn’t know how to grip a gun properly and makes for an awkward street cop, while Harry has no trouble gritting his teeth and knocking off the baddies. He does it almost as easily as he sneers at liberals.
Clint carries this dog home on his back, while Tyne makes the best of a poorly written part. Somehow it passes as an entertaining but insubstantial film–a formulaic one that has finally run out of gas.
REVIEWED ON 9/12/2005 GRADE: C https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/