(director: Clint Eastwood; screenwriters: Michael Butler/Dennis Shryack; cinematographer: Rexford Metz; editor: Ferris Webster; music: Jerry Fielding; cast: Clint Eastwood (Ben Shockley), Sondra Locke (Gus Mally), Pat Hingle (Josephson), William Prince(Blakelock), Bill McKinney (Constable), Mara Corday (Jail Matron), Michael Cavanaugh (District Attorney John Feyderspiel), Carole Cook (Waitress), Jeff Morris (Desk Sergeant), Roy Jenson (Biker Leader), Dan Vadus (Biker in white cap); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: R producer: Robert Daley; Warner Brothers; 1977)
“Hokum action pic.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Clint Eastwood (“The Eiger Sanction”/”Sully”) directs and stars in this hokum action pic. The only reason for the mindless film was to stage one action scene after another. It’s scripted by Dennis Shyrack and Michael Butler to get laughs from its one-liners and gasps from it’s over-the-top shoot-outs.
The lowly-regarded alcoholic macho Phoenix cop, Ben Shockley (Clint Eastwood), is ordered by the new police commissioner Blakelock (William Prince), to go to Las Vegas and bring back Gus Mally (Sondra Locke) for a trial in Phoenix. In Las Vegas, the prisoner turns out to be a female hooker, who informs him that the local bookies are giving long odds the cop and prisoner won’t reach Phoenix alive. Mally’s a key witness in a mob trial, and both the mob and the corrupt police commissioner and corrupt DA Feyderspiel (Michael Cavanaugh) will do everything they can to make sure she doesn’t testify.
The action goes explosive when the cop’s rental car to the airport blows up, and the two retreat to her house. When Ben calls Blakelock about getting a local police escort to the airport, instead the police surround the house and start shooting until the house collapses. Ben commandeers the police car of the boorish constable (Bill McKinney) to take him to the Arizona border and again is betrayed by Blakelock after calling for help, who has the police fire at the car without asking questions. As a precaution the couple had abandoned the car and only the constable is killed, so they thereby leave the area to steal a motorcycle from a biker gang on an outing to the canyon. They then hop a freight train, arriving at a small town bus depot. Ben hijacks a bus and makes it bullet-proof, as he goes to the steps of Phoenix’s city hall while getting past a long gauntlet of police sharp-shooters. The only help Ben gets is from his ex-partner Josephson (Pat Hingle), working a supervisory desk job, who informs the baddies of his pal’s plans so he can trap them.
If you can handle such a violent nonsensical film, one where Clint can’t stop being Dirty Harry, then you must be a loyal fan of Clint’s.
REVIEWED ON 5/13/2017 GRADE: C+