The Enforcer (1976): Review

Last night I decided to continue my exploration into some of the Clint Eastwood classics. I watched the second Dirty Harry movie Magnum Force last month so I decided to continue with the third movie The Enforcer. Eastwood's third turn as Harry Callahan is the weakest of the three films I've seen to date.

In the 5 Dirty Harry films there was never a director who returned for a second attempt at the series. Eastwood intended to direct the film himself but when he intervened and became the director of The Outlaw Joesy Wales that was released earlier in the year he decided to pass the duty off to the James Fargo who would direct Eastwood again in Every Which Way but Loose.

Much like the first sequel The Enforcer works just as a well as its own film than it does as a sequel. There are a couple of returning actors from the past films, but there are hardly any references to the past films. In this entry San Francisco is being terrorized by a group of Vietnam war vets and Harry's new partner is a rookie female detective.

There probably some more attempts at humor this time around, obviously Clint's one liners are always pretty good for a laugh or two, but its actually Harry's new female partner that seems to get to be the brunt of the jokes. Tyne Daly plays his partner Inspector Moore who intended to be fairly incompetent when compared to Callahan. Eastwood's performance got somewhat criticized, probably because he didn't really bring anything fresh to the role. I didn't have any problems with the performance it was just Clint being Clint.

At his point the Dirty Harry films put their own spin on real events and made a film out of them. The first killer in Dirty Harry was based on the Zodiac killer. The second film dealt with vigilantism. The Enforcer is no different receiving some inspiration from Symbionese Liberation Army. The group of villains in the film have the technology that should make them more of a threat than they end up being. The group acquire some high powered weapons early in the film, but the film feels so rushed that they never really get a chance to make a stand.

At 96 minutes The Enforcer feels short. I would even say it feels like an 80 minute movie. If they built up the villains a little more I would've been completely happy with watching another 20-30 minutes of this movie. Harry just lines them up and he knocks them down. There is really hardly any battle of wits.

Of the three films I've currently seen in this series The Enforcer is certainly the weakest. Its entertaining enough but it doesn't have as much to say as the previous entries. I've gotten the impression from fans of the series that franchise gets gradually worse as it goes on. I'll probably move on to the 1980s movies at some point this year.

The Enforcer gets 57 out of 100


Popular Posts