After the drudgery of Sudden Impact, the fourth and worst sequel to Dirty Harry, no one could have expected the fifth to have any signs of life. But The Dead Pool is fairly inspired, even playful--check out a "chase" scene... more » between Clint Eastwood's Harry Callahan character and a remote-controlled toy car wielding a bomb--and it ended the long-running series on an unexpectedly positive note. This time, Callahan investigates a series of murders that appears to be on a "death list," while becoming romantically involved with a television reporter (Patricia Clarkson). Jim Carrey has a small but memorable part as a doped-up rock star, and Liam Neeson is on board, too. Directed by Eastwood surrogate Buddy Van Horn (Any Which Way You Can). --Tom Keogh« less
"This is the last of five "Dirty Harry" films in which Eastwood stars as a San Francisco police detective. By the time of its initial release (in 1988), Eastwood had aged and times had changed but Callahan's non-negotiaable values and unorthodox methods had remained essentially the same. In this film, he investigates a pool which attracts bets on which of eight celebrities will be killed. (Several are.) Although this basic premise is implausible, Callahan takes full advantage of every opportunity to accuse the news media of glorifying, hence encouraging (albeit unintentionally) serial killings by focusing so much attention on them. Samantha Walker (Patricia Clarkson) is a case in point. Given the power of her personality on television and the thrust of her ambitions for a career in journalism, she is an obvious "target" for Callahan's criticisms of the news media. (Of course, she and he become involved romantically.) There are humorous elements and moments such as Liam Neeson playing a horror film director and the remote control toy car which pursues Callahan for several blocks, obviously a parody of car chases in Bullitt and other films. Lalo Schiflin's musical score is quite effective. Other than Neeson, however, most of the cast members seem listless under Buddy Van Horn's direction. (Yes, that's Jim Carrey in the role of Johnny Squares, one of the victims.) The fact that much of this film seems tired or recycled suggests to me that it's time for the Callahan series to be retire. It has been commercially successful while enabling Eastwood to refine his acting and (in Sudden Impact, 1983) directing skills. People are still buying or renting one or more of the five films, all of which also appear on television, so it looks like Callahan will be with us for many years to come.Among the many reasons I admire Clint Eastwood so much is the fact that, as he as become older, he has allowed that to be indicated on screen; better yet, he has played roles appropriate to his age and addressed aging issues in many of them. Most other actors (and yes, actresses) star in many films over a period of many years during which the aging process takes its toll on them. However, given the skills of make-up specialists and what new cosmetic technologies make possible, these actors (and actresses) continue to portray characters many years younger than they. Often, older male actors are cast opposite a romantic lead young enough to be their daughter. That is seldom true of older female actors. By the way, I still think Erica Barry should have selected Julian Mercer rather than Harry Sanborn in Something's Gotta Give. Apparently Eastwood agrees with Harry Callahan: "A man's got to know his limitations." Consider the evolution of the Eastwood persona from Tightrope (1984) through Unforgiven (1992), In the Line of Fire (1993), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), and Absolute Power (1997) to True Crime (1999) and Space Cowboys (2000). Hopefully other roles appropriate to Eastwood's age await his talents as an actor. As Mystic River (2003) clearly demonstrates, his talents as a director are undiminished by the 31 years since Play Misty for Me. On the contrary, they are greater now than ever before."
DIRTY HARRY TAKES A LIGHTER TURN
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 11/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is a decidedly comic touch to this installment in the Dirty Harry franchise, the kind that makes it more eminently watchable than its otherwise strict formula of boilerplate action and escape sequences would have you believe.
Eastwood had visibly aged by this film, which he does well to display in his mature reserve as he takes potshots at the mafioso, television news, horror movies. His antics are strongly supported by an able lineup, including a very convincing Patricia Clarkson as a pesky news reporter with morality pangs, Liam Neeson as an avant-garde director from across the pond, and, surprise surprise, a young Jim Carrey as a rocker-slash-druggie. Probably the best cast of any Dirty Harry caper.
The plot is hardly an intrigue, but barring some cheesy ideas like a certain danger posed by a toy-car, the film has a good deal of suspense to keep you glued for its length.
Dead Pool is the weakest of the series but still good
Adam Paul Bailey | australia | 03/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the weakest of all the series but it is a little like the original. There is a male serial killer in this one as in the original but he is not half as interesting as Scorpio in Dirty Harry.
As well as trying to find this serial killer, Harry is in trouble for putting a mob kingpin in jail and the mobboss sends his soldiers out constantly to kill him-if you can believe that. But Harry visits the mob boss in prison and tells Lou Genero, the kingpin, that if anything happens to him, one of the other prisoners who killed a bunch of men with his teeth, will pay a visit to Genero and it won't be a friendly one.So the assassination attempts cease and Harry beats up two guys following him, thinking that it was another hit. He soon discovers that they were now his bodyguards and Harry has just beat them up.
In the meantime Harry is investigating the serial killings, suspecting a movie director of the murders. Harry also tells him he doesn't like being on his betting pool called the Dead Pool, a betting system where people bet people in high risk jobs or situations will die soon. The movie director is exonerated and it is later learned that someone who wrote to the director many times is the killer.This killer kidnaps Harry's girlfriend, a reporter and Harry goes after them. But this time he doesn't kill him with his Magnum.At the end when the authorities arrive one cop asks Harry where the killer is, Harry says, "He's hanging out back there.""
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 12/08/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Clint Eastwood has a little pop-culture fun in this somewhat cartoonish Dirty Harry outing. "The Dead Pool" (1988) is a slight improvement over the unpleasantness of "The Enforcer" and "Sudden Impact," but Inspector Harry Callahan no longer resembles the cinematic icon depicted in director Don Siegel's 1971 classic. Still, we get an inventive car chase, a few memorable Clint one-liners, and a stronger-than-average cast (Liam Neeson, Patricia Clarkson, Evan C. Kim, Jim Carrey). Running only 91 minutes, the film moves at a good clip until stumbling at the finish line. It's a ludicrous climax as Harry blows away his final psychopath with a hand-held harpoon gun. Though a commercial success, "The Dead Pool" lacked the box-office firepower of its predecessors and Eastwood wisely bid adieu to his most famous character."
HARRY AND THE MINI-CAR CHASE
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 11/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This fifth and last entry in the Dirty Harry series has some crackling good scenes and an above-average plot, making it one of the best in the series. Clint Eastwood brings his square-jawed hero to life once again, this time paired with a Chinese-American, effectively underplayed by Evan Kim. He also finds himself somewhat enamored with a hot shot tv reporter (the talented Patricia Clarkson) in this case which involves a "dead pool", a list of celebrities who are predicted to die within the year. Harry is not too happy to find he's on the list, which was instigated by a movie crew as a game. Liam Neeson in one of his earlier roles plays the egocentric, deadly director who is one of the game's players and a suspect once several of the list's celebrities meet untimely deaths. The movie is tightly wound, and you can even spot Jim Carrey in a small role as a drug-addled singer. The movie's highlight is an incredible chase scene between Harry and a deadly bomb-rigged electonically controlled car. It's a great parody of Harry's previous movies and it works well. THE DEAD POOL let Harry go out in style and it's a fun ride."