Known as one of the first of the action genre, Dirty Harry now exists like an aged veteran – definitely showing its age, but can still kick ass when needed.
Dirty Harry (1971) is directed by Don Siegel and stars Clint Eastwood as hard-boiled anti-hero cop Harry Callahan. After the city of San Francisco is set upon by ruthless terrorist ‘Scorpio’, its up to ‘Dirty Harry’ to track down the crazed psychopath.
Classic story for a classic film. A few twists and turns crinkle out what is a very straightforward narrative, but overall the cat-and-mouse game between Scorpio and Harry is still thrilling to watch. There are a few odd ancillary scenes and a sub-plot that goes nowhere, but the simple storytelling keeps the forward momentum and tension running for most of the film. It does show its age in the pacing being closer to the previous aged veteran over the Marine-esque action films of today, but that doesn’t hinder enjoyment too much.
There’s a reason ‘Dirty Harry’ has become an iconic character, and that reason rhymes with ‘feastwood’. Clint Eastwood, straight off many of his iconic western roles, is badass as Harry Callahan. Not only does Eastwood’s previous personas make him an easy choice for the hard-edged role, but his delivery of such iconic lines and serious glares is enough to arouse any film or action fan.
Andrew Robinson as the antagonist Scorpio plays off Eastwood in a few key scenes very well. He plays the character with an off-putting air of malice and sadism that makes him compelling enough to root against. Granted his character (and Harry himself) isn’t much more than an archetype by today’s standards, but when you had a hand in creating the modern action archetype yourself, that’s an easy thing to forgive.
So while Dirty Harry may be a crinkled old veteran in comparison to the shiny chrome blockbusters of today, its still got a few lessons to tell the next generation. So anyone interested in classic action, Clint Eastwood, or pure badassery will find your due in Dirty Harry.
General Audiences: Recommended
Film Buffs: Highly Recommended
Citizens: Highly Recommended