The Enforcer ★★★

Outside of the terribly misjudged last gasp that was 'The Dead Pool', this third entry in the Dirty Harry series is the weakest of the sequels; however, it's an entertaining enough excursion even if it lacks the magic of the better films.

This time around, Callahan is faced with another blackmail plot: this time, executed by a group of pseudo-revolutionaries clearly inspired by the real-life Symbionese Liberation Army. Herein lies one of the film's biggest flaws - the story really suffers from a lack of any attempt to probe the origins, ideas or intentions of its villains.

Instead, 'The Enforcer' ambles along with a combination of routine Callahan mayhem (our tough cop having to break up a hostage situation at one point) with a half-hearted exploration of the decade's hot topics: sexism, the changing roles of women, black militancy, and so on. The middle of the film drags significantly by getting caught up on this and neglecting the actual plot, and when the climax arrives it feels perfunctory and somewhat cobbled-together.

'The Enforcer' was definitely a wasted opportunity, as Tyne Daly's role and the story could have been so much better employed. As it is, the third Dirty Harry film feels like a holding pattern between the strong 'Magnum Force' and the darker 'Sudden Impact'. In any case, it's still a better second sequel than most film series have managed and deserves some credit in that respect.