Plot: What’s it about?
In his storied career as a police officer, Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) has had a lot of dangerous cases, but perhaps none as dangerous as his latest one. After a drugged up rock star (Jim Carrey) turns up dead under mysterious circumstances, some attention is given to an unusual game of bets. It seems a horror movie director named Peter Swan (Liam Neeson) has devised a list of local celebrities, then others place wagers on who will die next and of course, this puts some suspicion upon his head. Soon enough, more names on this twisted list are found dead and with no real explanation, all while new names are added. One of those new names is Callahan’s own, which means he has to watch his back even more than usual. He and his new partner Al Quan (Evan C. Kim) are now hot on the trail to track down the truth about the deaths, but Callahan is always looking over his shoulder, knowing someone is out there hunting him down. Can even Callahan crack this kind of case, or has he met his match in The Dead Pool?
The final installment in the Dirty Harry series, The Dead Pool wasn’t the “out with a bang” finale most had hoped, but it is still a solid flick. Clint Eastwood looks a shade long in the tooth this time around, but gives a nice turn and for fans of the series, The Dead Pool is a decent addition, though I would have liked a more powerful closer. I do like the premise however, as the issues of fame, the media, and of course, remote control cars with bombs attached. The Dead Pool has some great scenes and memorable moments, so don’t think I’m saying this is a terrible movie, as that isn’t the case here. I just don’t think it lives up to the potential laid out, both by the material present and of course, the previous films in the series. As I’ve revisited The Dead Pool over time however, the flaws have become less of an annoyance and I’ve enjoyed the film more, so I guess it has just kind of grown on me over time. In the end, this one has enough of Harry’s trademark elements to make it worth a look and for fans of the series, it is a must own title, I think.
As I mentioned above, Clint Eastwood is a little grey on top in his fifth turn as Harry Callahan, but he more than handles the task, to be sure. Although his material isn’t quite up to the usual series standards, he has some memorable lines and of course, plays them up to the bad ass limit, just as we’d expect. He gets to shake down some thugs, confront some questionable persons, and even romance a new squeeze, so this is the same old Callahan, just older than before. Eastwood proves he can still hang though, with a solid and often remarkable performance and a dominant screen presence, which is what this character needs to have. Other films with Eastwood include Dirty Harry, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact, and Magnum Force. The cast also includes Patricia Clarkson (The Pledge, The Green Mile), Evan C. Kim (Hollywood Vice Squad, Tv’s V), Liam Neeson (Michael Collins, The Haunting), and Jim Carrey (The Cable Guy, The Mask).
Video: How does it look?
The Dead Pool is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a more than solid visual effort, although some scenes look better than others. I found the brighter scenes to look excellent and have minimal flaws, even the grain remains minimal and unobtrusive. The colors are dead on and black levels seem rich, no real problems to discuss there. But in the darker scenes, we lose some contrast balance and the grain picks up, which means a lessened visual presentation. Even so, the image is solid at worst and simply gorgeous at best, so I think fans should be pleased with the complete, overall package here.
Audio: How does it sound?
A new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix has been included here and it sounds very good, much better than expected. As this film is more recent than the other Dirty Harry flicks, it lends itself better to a remix and that proof is in the pudding here. The bass kicks with more impact, the surrounds are used to more effective ends, and there’s no signs in the least to wear to the materials. No errors to be heard in terms of dialogue either, as vocals remain clear and clear from start to finish. I wouldn’t stack this mix up against more recent reference level soundtracks, but it is a powerful, immersive audio effort and fans should be thrilled. This disc also includes a French language option, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some production notes, talent files, and the film’s theatrical trailer.