The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

SUDDEN IMPACT (1983) ***

Sudden Impact went down in cinematic history for the scene where Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) goes into a coffee shop and blows away a couple of gun-toting hoodlums and delivers the immortal line, “Go ahead, make my day!”  The line was later used by Ronald Reagan and became a national catchphrase.  While I personally preferred the “Do you feel lucky?” line from the original Dirty Harry film, there’s no denying just how flat out awesome this scene is.  Not much of Sudden Impact measures up to that classic moment, but it’s still a highly enjoyable Dirty Harry flick.


This time out, Harry’s foe is a female Charles Bronson type (Sondra Locke) who goes on a Death Wish against the men who raped her and her sister.  Harry also has to deal with a posse of Mafia hitmen who want him dead for the death of their godfather. 


Sudden Impact was the first and only Dirty Harry flick directed by Clint himself and the film benefits from his glossy panache behind the camera.  It’s also the first Harry movie that doesn’t mostly take place in his hometown of San Francisco as he goes on vacation to the small town of San Paolo.  The change of pace suits the film well I guess and Eastwood gets a lot of mileage out the boardwalk and pier locations.  Eastwood films the action sequences in a fine manner and handles the rape scenes delicately.  They aren’t explicit but they still pack a punch.


In front of the camera Eastwood gives another “swell” performance.  Unfortunately since this is an early 80’s Clint movie, we have to put up with his longtime girlfriend Sondra Locke.  She’s OK in the role of the avenging rape victim, but the role could’ve used someone with a little more acting chops. 


For comic relief, Harry gets an ugly bulldog that pisses and farts.  I’m sorry but farting bulldogs just don’t belong in a goddamned Dirty Harry movie.  Another miscalculation on Eastwood’s part was by having Harry have an intimate relationship with Locke’s character.  Harry is a loner and shouldn’t be shacking up with emotionally unstable broads, even if they both have itchy trigger fingers.  Yeah, I know that they were going for that whole “You’re like me because you blow people away!” thing, but it just doesn’t stick.  Even though Harry doesn’t play by the rules and will go outside the law to get his man, he never plays judge, jury and executioner the way that Locke’s character does.


While the film runs on too long and the pacing gets kinda pokey during the middle section of the film, it’s still got Clint in classic iconic form, gunning down criminals every ten minutes or so, so it’s A-OK by me.  Despite its flaws, Sudden Impact is still a fine hunk of 80’s action entertainment, enough to make anybody’s day.

Tags: action, clint eastwood, dirty harry series, s, sequel
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