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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
James Fargo
Cast:
Clint Eastwood, Tyne Daly, Harry Guardino, Bradford Dillman, John Mitchum, DeVeren Bookwalter, John Crawford, Samantha Doane, Robert F. Hoy
Writing Credits:
Harry Julian Fink (characters), Rita M. Fink (characters), Gail Morgan Hickman (story), S.W. Schurr (story), Stirling Silliphant, Dean Riesner

Tagline:
The "dirtiest" Harry of them all!

Synopsis:
Clint Eastwood's third go-round as Det. Harry Callahan matches him with a new partner, Tyne Daly as Inspector Kate Moore, who has two jobs: tracking down a band of armed-and-wacko terrorists - and winning Harry's confidence. Stoked with brisk humor, hard-hitting mayhem and the high-impact team of Eastwood and Daly, this exciting case carves another winning notch in the handle of Harry's .44 magnum.

Box Office:
Domestic Gross
$46.200 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
French Monaural
Spanish Monaural
Japanese Monaural
Portuguese Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 6/3/08

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director James Fargo
• “The Business End: Violence in Cinema” Featurette
• “Harry Callahan/Clint Eastwood: Something Special in Films” Featurette
• “Dirty Harry Trailer Gallery”


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Enforcer: Deluxe Edition (1976)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 10, 2008)

Clint Eastwood provides his third take on renegade cop Harry Callahan via 1976’s The Enforcer. In this tale, Inspector Callahan’s over the top antics get him transferred out of Homicide – again. He ends up in Personnel, where he becomes involved in promotion interviews.

During those sessions, Harry meets aspiring inspector Kate Moore (Tyne Daly). He thinks she’s unqualified, but Moore gets promoted to inspector anyway. Her first partner? To the shock of no one, the authorities pair her with Callahan when he goes back to investigations.

What prompts Callahan’s return to active duty? The activities of a left-wing terrorist group called the People’s Revolutionary Strike Force threaten havoc, and they make things personal when they kill Harry’s partner Frank (John Mitchum). The PRSF demand a ransom or they’ll blow up various targets. We follow the investigation by Callahan and Moore.

After 1973’s disappointing sequel Magnum Force, I hoped for a return to form with Enforcer. While it didn’t work as well as Dirty Harry, it certainly outdid Force. That film featured a softer, neutered Callahan, but Enforcer brings him back to a more hard-bitten status. Though he’s not quite as surly and aggressive as in the first flick, at least the third film’s Harry seems more in touch with the original movie’s character.

The tone of Enforcer better matches that of the first movie as well, though it seems awfully cartoony much of the time. Indeed, the flick borders on self-parody, but I prefer that to the blandness of Force. This film’s Harry has a pulse, and the story manages to keep our interest to a higher degree.

That’s one area in which Enforcer betters its predecessors. Both of them tended be offer loose stories, whereas Enforcer manages a more linear, concise tale. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a really good plot, but at least it stays on target and maintains our interest.

Eastwood was the best thing about the first film, and he returns to form here after the milquetoast Harry of the second movie. His pairing with Daly provides some decent sparks. Callahan’s partners tend to be forgettable and faceless, but Moore offers a bit of spark. The film’s dated sexual politics make it stale at times, but I like the chemistry between Eastwood and Daly.

Honestly, I don’t know if The Enforcer is a good Dirty Harry flick or if I like it just because it’s better than the disappointing Magnum Force. Whatever the case, it does prove enjoyable. While it never quite soars, it manages to create an entertaining action drama.


The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

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.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.1111 Stars Number of Votes: 9
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