The Enforcer

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

The Enforcer is the third movie in the Dirty Harry series, and like most sequels, it could use some work, but it does have it’s high points as well. Harry is still the same bigoted, foul-mouthed person he always was (and always will be), and after losing his partner, he is even more displeased with the criminals of San Francisco. In this latest installment, a group of rebels which is putting it lightly, is on the loose and is intend on holding the city for ransom. First they ask for a small amount, but it grows to two million and then five million dollars. Bear in mind that the dollars in question are 1976 dollars, so double the amount to fit today’s standards. Harry has just crashed his car through a liquor store to stop a robbery in progress and has once again managed to pull out his .44 magnum and blow three "punks" away. Needless to say, the higher-ups don’t like this, but they do bust him down to personnel, where as Harry puts it: "Only assholes work in personnel!" It’s not long that this group of mishaps makes it’s way to town and their intent is to kidnap the mayor and hold him hostage until their demands are met. Obviously they haven’t met Dirty Harry…

Harry has just received another partner, one who he helped "interview" for the job. Kate Moore (Tyne Daly of Cagney and Lacey fame though for the life of me I couldn’t tell you which one she was. We’ll say she was Cagney for argument’s sake) is a go getter from personnel (how odd) who is trying her best to become an inspector. After Callahan humiliates her, he is more than stunned to find that she is his new partner, a role that is not that secure in any Dirty Harry movie! After Harry tries to make a deal with a local group of African-Americans, namely their leader Mustapha, we learn that the police department double crosses Harry and arrests the group. Mustapha was supposed to help Harry find the leader of the group that is holding the mayor hostage.

The Enforcer is Dirty Harry at his peak. The first two movies were major successes, and this was riding on the coattails of Magnum Force. Though another Dirty Harry movie wouldn’t be made until 1983’s Sudden Impact, this was the last of the 1970’s Harry’s. And boy did it immortalize that decade! The soundtrack is stereotypical of that era with the Disco music prevalent and Harry’s snarl at an all-time high! While I prefer the original Dirty Harry, as it showed a truer more realistic Callahan, this is a close second in terms of grittiness. We can kind of connect the dots as to what happens to Harry’s new partner, but he is a loner and it wouldn’t seem right if he were to have a companion. While I’m not exactly sure of the box office for The Enforcer, I assume that Mr. Eastwood either moved on to bigger and better things (Every Which Way But Loose) or just got tired of the character and waited a few years to take it up again. In any case, Dirty Harry, Magnum Force and The Enforcer make up a perfect trilogy of 1970’s Dirty Harry. Odds are that if you like one, you’ll like them all.

Video: How does it look?

Like every other Dirty Harry movie (except The Dead Pool), we are shown an anamorphic 2.35:1 image that for the most part looks good. While the level of detail is extremely sharp, the main fault I noticed was a bit of artifacting in some of the city shots. These could have been stock footage from earlier and not even associated with this movie for all I know, but they didn’t have the same clarity as most of the other scenes. Black levels are right on target as they are in all the other movies and there is hardly any edge enhancement to be found. While not looking quite as good as the first Dirty Harry, this looks very good considering the age of the film.

Audio: How does it sound?

A re-mastered Dolby Digital 5.1 track is used here and I did notice quite a few spots where the surrounds were active. There are several missile explosions as well from a weapon used in the movie. Every time it is used, the subwoofer is activated and it gives a nice feeling of ambiance to the movie. While Harry’s .44 magnum doesn’t deliver the same amount of "oomph" that it does in the later versions of the films, it still sounds quite impressive. What grabbed me the most was one of the ending scenes in which Harry sprays a high-powered stream of water to knock a man off a tower. When the water comes right at the screen, it activates the rear surrounds and sounds very good. Not a bad track, as I was expecting a lot worse.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There is a six minute featurette entitled "Harry Callahan/Clint Eastwood: Something Special in Films" which is a nice little piece that was made at the time of filming. Obviously you can tell that they didn’t concentrate much on supplemental material, and the difference in quality of this piece and the final DVD version of the film is night and day. It shows a bit of behind the scenes footage and how some shots were set up. Nothing too Earth-Shattering here, but it’s a nice little feature to have. As on the rest of the series, some Memorable Quotes, On Location and Cast and Crew Bios are shown as well as the theatrical trailer in anamorphic widescreen.

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