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There is something to be said for the phrase "Go Ahead, Make My Day!" that has become probably the most famous of one-liners in the whole of movie history. However, two things must be said regarding where this witty retort first came from. As far as the Dirty Harry series of movies is concerned, the phrase found its place in THIS 1983 film and NOT the original 1971 movie as some people may have mistakenly assumed.  However the phrase itself was actually born the previous year in a flick called Vice Squad, where the extra word "scumbag" was originally included right within the middle of the now-famous quotation.

Sudden Impact
Before when I said that Magnum Force may not be the most popular instalment of this series was more to do with my understanding of what the fans had to say about it and not my own personal opinion.  But my belief is that everyone has a best and worst for whatever franchise they pick from, so it's really down to personal choice.  I have a slight problem with Sudden Impact (not that it's a bad movie), it's just that the old 70s gung-ho method of crime-fighting is seen to still be tolerated in the more sensible 80s era - much like bringing back the old James Bond of the 50s kicking and screaming into the politically correct 90s.

All things considered though, it makes up for this clash of cultures with a great story, namely the dispensation of vengeance against the perpetrators of a horrendous crime - which includes an effective performance by head starlet Sondra Locke and direction by Clint Eastwood.

As you may have already noticed I decided to review these discs out of order, the reasons for doing so will be revealed in a future review to come.  So in keeping with the tradition of anti-chronology I have decided to make my second review on the fourth Dirty Harry movie, Sudden Impact.

Movie
Harry Callahan is pissed off with the world again and this time he's even crosser!  People are trying to blow him away, blow him up, some just want to blow him, and blowed if he's gonna put up with it any longer.  It seems that everyone's out to get him these days ... nothing that his trusty .44 Magnum Auto-Mag can't handle.  Aside from that, Callahan is sent out on assignment to San Paulo to investigate a growing number of murders that have something to do with the rearrangement of genitalia as well as various attempts at headbutting bullets.

Sudden Impact
If you think I've spoilt things for you by telling you this, don't worry because you'll have worked it out within the first five minutes of the film anyway.  It's a relief to know that the scriptwriters didn't slip up by trying to make this a "who-done-it" as we would have quickly gotten bored knowing the painfully obvious from the start.  It's actually a great tale of personal revenge with a welcome moral debate that drives the story along.

Video
Surprisingly, the quality here isn't quite up to the same standard as that set by its predecessors ... the presentation left me with the impression that it was kind of (dare I say it) boring!  At the time of filming there was some effort taken in creating an individual mood for the scenes, but the darker ones unfortunately lose out in essential detail that kind of frustrated me.  I think the DVD producers may have attempted a slight brightness boost to compensate for some of this, so the blacks are mostly black to very dark grey.  The colours are better than average but they're still kind of bland and uninteresting.  There are only a few nicks and scratches which hardly detract from viewing.  So generally it's a good all-round transfer, but nothing particularly remarkable.

Audio
Pretty good actually, it still has some faults but I think this is due to the source elements.  It has lots of powerful guns going off whereby the subwoofer gets a really good kicking in.  Split-surrounds are very effectively used and quite surprising in a few places.  There is hardly any hiss even from the on-set recorded dialogue, so this makes it a very clear sounding mix.

The place where it falls down on in spots is the dialogue ... this is especially evident in the bar-room sequence where the characters are situated further into the background and their voices are virtually indistinguishable, so I was forced to utilise the subtitles to catch what was being said.  Apart from this little niggly, a great pumping soundtrack.

The French and Italian 1.0 mono soundtracks are, as usual, perfectly perfunctory.

Sudden Impact
Extras
Almost as sparse as carousel horse droppings.  First we have the now mandatory one-page Cast & Crew listing with as many words in it as a serving suggestion for Corn Flakes.  Then we get the theatrical trailer that seems like more of a teaser to me, since we get to see Harry spout out his famous one-liner - twice - in the same room!

Summary
This movie actually contains less action than what the previous instalments managed to deliver, but thankfully this is not at the sacrifice of an interesting story.  Some may see this film as just a simple revenge plot, but there's so much more on offer - namely Clint Eastwood's expert handling of conveying a character's thoughts without words, as though you were able to read their minds.

I'd say that this is one of the better movies from the series, it's a case of the whole sum being greater than its parts.  But in regards to owning this on its own, personally I would get bored too quickly from watching only one of the Dirty Harry movies all the time, wouldn't you?


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