The Bottom Line on the Dirty Harry Franchise

I was a little worried about Dirty Harry.

I think we have all seen the “Do you feel lucky punk” done to death, and Harry has a few more catchphrases:

Nothing wrong with shooting as long as the right people get shot!

A man’s GOT to know his limitations.

Personnel? That’s for assholes!

Smith and Wesson… and me.

Listen, punk. To me you’re nothin’ but dogshit, you understand? And a lot of things can happen to dogshit. It can be scraped up with a shovel off the ground. It can dry up and blow away in the wind. Or it can be stepped on and squashed. So take my advice and be careful where the dog shits ya!

You’re a legend in your own mind.

and of course, go ahead, make my day.

So is Clint Eastwood doing Arnold before Arnold?

No. They became catchphrases, or quotes because they come in the flow, as all good ones do. This is why SNL isn’t as much fun as you grow up. Simply yelling Cheeseburger Cheeseburger over and over again isn’t funny, but in context? Oh it’s a riot.

One thing I have noticed, since we are looking over 30 years in the past, is how similar all the movies are to each other, from the partners to the clashes with the groups to trying to just finish a damn meal. Clint does try and move on and do other things, but it always comes down to the gun. It’s a very matter of fact type of ending. All else fails, shoot the sumbitch. Clint can’t find a woman, or a partner, or even a friend that isn’t burnt out by the system. He does have acquaintances, people that know and trust him, but none truly know him. I think that Harry was of the opinion that if he keeps going to work, and does the right thing, then everything is going to work out OK, and then he’ll be happy. Sadly some punk just keeps getting in the way, or the suits at 1PP wont man up and support him, and as we get to see Harry as he’s Dirty Harry, he just wants to make the 3 square miles around him safe. Harry just wants his own corner clear and hell with everything else- but he just can’t let stuff go.

Let’s check the scorecard:

Dirty Harry – 10
Magnum Force – 8
The Enforcer – 6
Sudden Impact – 8
The Dead Pool – 7

Find me the movie series where the 5th movie is a good movie on it’s own right, and had I found out that there was a 6th Dirty Harry in 1985, I would seek it out. Dirty Harry flips from fighting the Lunatics to fighting the system, and the best part is, he doesn’t change. He moves left and right if you really want to look at the politics but he really doesn’t change himself, only his surroundings do.

Dirty Harry, bottom line, is a solid, cheap, popcorn franchise that does it hurt a bit by being so obviously cheap, first and foremost, and the fact that I have seen so many police procedurals that have done the shots, the screaming civilians, the incompetent suits in charge, it’s all be done. Had it been done at the time? Or so well? To me, it doesn’t matter. I am watching these movie in 2017.

And I recommend them all. If you catch a pack of them, and want something to do on a football less weekend, you could do far worse than throw these in and watch with your buddies.

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