Enforcer: Deluxe Edition (The)
R4 - Australia - Warner Home Video
Review written by and copyright: Shane Roberts & Noor Razzak (20th January 2009).
The Film

When a group of Vietnam veterans, now terrorists rob a warehouse of some heavy duty army weaponry and hold the city of San Francisco to a two million dollar ransom they become the first of ‘Dirty Harry’ Callahan’s current problems. The second is that his superiors are starting to promote women officers to detective and he now has one as a partner. He doesn’t intend to put up with either.

As a Clint Eastwood movie where he growls his way through his usual one liners and fires a big gun "The Enforcer" is typically enjoyable but, compared to "Dirty Harry" (1971) and "Magnum Force" (1973) it is easily the lesser of the first three in the series. Director James Fargo, like Ted Post before him on "Magnum Force" got the job because he had worked with Clint before. He was assistant director on five of Clint’s films; "Joe Kidd" (1972), "High Plains Drifter" (1973), "Breezy" (1973), "The Eiger Sanction" (1975) and "The Outlaw Josie Wales" (1976) as well as Steven Spielberg’s "Duel" (1971). He even went on to make "Every Which Way But Loose" with Clint in 1978 but his direction here is pretty average and looks more like an episode of a 70's TV series like "Streets of San Francisco" (1972-1977) or "Starsky and Hutch" (1975-1979) rather than a theatrical movie.

Although there are some good bursts of action there are real standout scenes and some of them are too drawn out (a foot chase through back alleys and across rooftops seems to go on forever) or just badly paced or weak which is a bit of a letdown. The final showdown wastes the great location of Alcatraz Prison on a pretty standard shootout and Harry takes out one of the main villains in a spectacular way but also anti-climactically. There’s no satisfying face-to-face confrontation that we got in the first two films or later in "Sudden Impact" (1983).

The villains themselves are also disappointing. Really nothing more than a bunch of caricatures they’re so underdeveloped that apart from one carrying a big knife and one being a woman, none of them have any actual personalities. Plus, the actors’ lightweight performances leave them lacking any of the menace that Scorpio or the renegade cops had in the first two films. Casting for the other side of the law was far more successful. In one of her first roles, and six years before the "Cagney and Lacy" (1982-1988) TV series made her famous, Tyne Daley as well as sharing some great natural chemistry with Clint is excellent as his inexperienced new partner who is determined to prove that she’s as capable as any of the male officers. Veteran character actors Harry Guardino (returning as Lieutenant Bressler) and Bradford Dillman as Harry’s arrogant new boss Captain McKay are also very good.

This is the only film in the "Dirty Harry" series that doesn’t have music by Lalo Schifrin, and he’s really missed. His classic scores, especially to the first film are one of their most memorable features and here we get palmed off with Jerry Fielding’s TV quality collection of tracks that half the time don’t even suit the scene they’re on (especially the above mentioned foot chase).

Clint is always watchable and even though it’s pretty enjoyable it is still a disappointment compared to "Dirty Harry" and "Magnum Force".

Video

Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1 this anamorphic transfer is newly struck for this release much like the other films in the series. While generally better in quality than the previous incarnations on disc this transfer still leaves a bit to be desired. The image is clean aside from some specks and dirt at the beginning. Overall it's a bit flat but sharpness is there, detail looks good as well as deep blacks and shadow detail is consistent. I was happy that skin tones were consistent and the disc is clear of any compression related problems.

Audio

Three audio tracks are included in English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, German Dolby Digital 2.0 mono and Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 mono. For the purpose of this review I chose to view the film with its 5.1 sound track. Unfortunately much like the other films this was originally presented in mono, and for this track the audio was expanded to cover the 5.1 space. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but these tracks aren't entirely mind blowing, the track lacks any aggression, immersive quality and overall sounds a bit wimpy, which a word that's should never be associated with Dirty Harry".
Optional subtitles are included in English, English hearing impaired, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, German, German HoH, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish.

Extras

Warner Brothers have released this film with an audio commentary, two featurettes and a collection of theatrical trailers. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

First up is a feature-length audio commentary by the film's director James Fargo. This is a pretty standard track that covers all the bases, the director takes us through various details regarding the production and remains screen-specific for the most part. He comments on shooting the film, his working relationship with Clint among other things such as story details, location shooting and sharing his memories from the set. There are some moments of silence and it would have been beneficial to have included other members of the cast and crew along with the director but overall it's a tolerable track that delivers some nuggets of information that's worthwhile.

Next up is the "Harry Callahan/Clint Eastwood: Something Special in Films" featurette which runs for 6 minutes 1 second and is an extra that is ported over from the previous release. This is a fairly typical EPK style clip from 1976 that covers takes us through the film's set, it's a promotional piece that doesn't really deserve repeated viewing.

"The Business End: Violence in Cinema" is a new featurette that runs for 30 minutes and examines the use of excessive violence in films and their impact, the clip features interviews with cast and crew of the Harry films as well as other Hollywood profiles who have been influenced by these films and the use of violence. While you won't exactly learn anything earth shattering or new for that matter, it's an excellent addition to this DVD and worth checking out.

FInally there's a "Dirty Harry" trailer gallery that features the original theatrical trailers for the following:

- "Dirty Harry" which runs for 3 minutes 19 seconds.
- "Magnum Force" which runs for 2 minutes 13 seconds.
- "The Enforcer" which runs for 2 minutes 9 seconds.
- "Sudden Impact" which runs for 1 minute 22 seconds.
- "The Dead Pool" which runs for 1 minute 24 seconds.

Overall

The Film: B Video: B+ Audio: C- Extras: C+ Overall: C+

 


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