Dirty Harry: Ultimate Collector's Edition

Dirty Harry: Ultimate Collector's Edition
No red tape could hold him back, no baddie could escape his aim and if there was ever a character that could deliver a better biting one-liner in the face of bureaucracy or corruption, well, they never appeared on screen. Finally the Dirty Harry films have been gathered for the ultimate edition — one that comes with a replica Harry Callahan SFPD inspector’s badge! Of course, also included are the five films that introduced and defined the decisive, no-nonsense, swift-and-blinding-violence-delivering renegade cop. Debuting at a time in the early ’70s when the U.S. was suffering from political and social unrest, Dirty Harry (1971) gave audiences someone to cut through the bullshit and take out the trash. The original is the obvious critic’s choice, a ballsy action flick that tackled the famed Zodiac killer case (known as Scorpio here) without discretion, putting him up against Inspector Callahan (Clint Eastwood), who with .44 Magnum in hand manages to gun down crooks even in the midst of chewing a hotdog. Two years later, the first sequel, Magnum Force (1973), appeared, showing that even Harry had a weakness, and in this case it’s an inferior script that finds the star up against crooked cops who are committing preventative killings. The third instalment, The Enforcer (1976), was an improvement that paints Harry’s vigilantism in a more cartoonish manner, teaming him with a lady cop (Tyne Daly) against terrorist group the People’ Revolutionary Strike Force (an adaptation of the Symbionese Liberation Army), and giving him more memorable lines to chew on. It’s his most destructive path and arguably the most entertaining flick of the bunch. A seven-year gap produced Sudden Impact (1983), the darkest of the lot, where Harry tracks down a rape victim (Sondra Locke, Eastwood’s ex) seeking vengeance against the gang that assaulted her. The mood is ominous and the subject is severe, but it refreshes the franchise’s waning premise, plus Harry upgrades to the super-serious, super-cool .44 AutoMag. Finally there’s The Dead Pool (1988), which will always be remembered as the finale, and even more so for one of Jim Carrey’s earliest roles — as a rubber-faced Axl Rose impersonator hooked on skag, no less — but it should be remembered as a relentless onslaught of caustic violence that ended the series in true ’80s senseless action fashion. Sure, he’s a geriatric at this point but it only takes six minutes for him to prove he’s still willing and able to use his gritty force. The bonus material elevates the box set past normal standards, presenting a fantastic documentary on Eastwood called "Out of the Shadows,” narrated by friend and co-star Morgan Freeman, which demonstrates the actor/writer/director was talented enough to exist in other roles without forever being Harry. "The Man from Malpaso” is another featurette on the man behind the gun, but feels cheaper and much more dated by comparison, while "The Long Dark Shadow” interviews action film writers, directors, actors and Clint to discuss the impact Harry made on viewers and the movie business. This is a comprehensive package that screams, "Go ahead, he’ll make your day.” Plus: commentaries, poster, cool postcards. (Warner)