The Enforcer appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though not without concerns, the transfer usually satisfied.
Only minor issues affected sharpness. Wide shots sporadically looked a bit ill-defined, but most of the film offered good clarity and delineation. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement stayed minor. Source defects were also modest, as the movie suffered from just a handful of specks; most of the flick seemed clean.
Like the prior “Dirty Harry” films, Enforcer went with a natural palette. The colors looked bright and lively throughout the movie, so the DVD replicated the tones well. Blacks were dark and tight, but shadows could be a little dense. Nonetheless, this was a solid “B” transfer.
Both of the first two “Dirty Harry” DVDs presented very good audio, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Enforcer continued that trend. As with its predecessors, the movie boasted an involving soundfield. Music showed nice stereo imaging, and elements meshed together in a smooth manner. The elements moved well across the spectrum and created a fine sense of place. Louder scenes boosted the action well, and the surrounds added a lot of useful information to the mix.
Audio quality held up well over the decades. Speech was the weakest link, as the lines could be a little thin. Nonetheless, they were usually reasonably natural, and they lacked edginess or other flaws. Music sounded bright and dynamic, and effects fell into the same range. Those elements came across as accurate and full, with nice low-end response. I found a lot to like in this strong soundtrack.
When we shift to the supplements, we start with an audio commentary from director James Fargo. He gives us a running, screen-specific examination of cast and crew, working with Clint Eastwood, performances and the flick’s tone, how he got the job, music, stunts and action, and script notes.
Though not a great piece, Fargo does provide the best of the five “Dirty Harry” commentaries. He proves consistently enthusiastic about the subject and manages to fill time well. At no point does the track threaten to achieve greatness, but it offers an informative and enjoyable commentary.
Two featurettes come next. The Business End: Violence in Cinema lasts 30 minutes, five seconds as it mixes film clips, archival elements and interviews. We hear from Clint Eastwood, authors Neal King, Emanuel Levy and Richard Rhodes, former WB executive John Calley, filmmakers Jay Cocks, Peter Hyams, John Milius, John Lee Hancock, Steven E. de Souza, Tom Fontana, Joe Carnahan, Shane Black, David Ayer, John Badham, and Paul Haggis,
and actors Hal Holbrook, Reni Santoni, Tyne Daly, Andy Robinson, and Michael Madsen. “End” looks at the depiction of violence in movies over the years - with a particular emphasis on the “Dirty Harry” series, of course – and how this material may affect the public.
The two sides create a reasonably stimulating discussion. It touches on controversial topics and does so in an intriguing manner. This turns into an enjoyable half an hour.
Harry Callahan/Clint Eastwood: Something Special in Films goes for six minutes. The vintage 1976 featurette tells us a little about the movie and takes us to the set. Those moments are fun to see, but the promotional nature of the piece makes it less than enthralling.
The set finishes with a Trailer Gallery. It includes ads for Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact and The Dead Pool.
1976’s The Enforcer doesn’t stand as the best “Dirty Harry” flick, but it’s not the worst. Although it falters at times, it manages to create a generally involving story bolstered by better than usual chemistry between its leads. The DVD features pretty good picture, very strong audio, and a few minor extras. This is a quality product for an enjoyable movie.
A purse-strings note: you can buy The Enforcer on its own or as part of a seven-DVD “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” boxed set. That package includes Enforcer along with Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, Sudden Impact, The Dead Pool, and the documentary Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows. In addition, the set gives fans a small book and some other non-disc-based materials that I’ll cover in the review of the package as a whole.
Purchased separately, the five movies would cost $80.90 MSRP, while the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” goes for $74.98. If you want all the films, it’s obviously the way to go.