Sudden Impact ★★★

Or 'The One Where Dirty Harry Gets A Dog'.

Sudden Impact is absolutely mental. What makes it all the more mental is not just the things that happen in the film, all 25,000 of them, but the fact that Clint Eastwood took the directorial reigns for this one. That's the Clint Eastwood who would be directing Unforgiven less than a decade later.

Indeed, the man who directed one of the most beautifully judged and elegiac westerns of all time, directs a film where, in the first hour, he kills about seven people, injures two more, foils a robbery on a coffee shop, pisses his superiors off about four times and then procures a farting dog that he decides to call Meathead.

That's not to say Sudden Impact isn't a lot of fun because it absolutely is. Far more than the preceding The Enforcer, to say the very least, but to say that all of the stuff I mention in the previous paragraph is just the tip of the iceberg as to how bizarre this film is. In fact, they could definitely do an absolutely cracking episode of How Did This Get Made? on this film.

This list does contain spoilers, but like any film that is completely barking mad, seeing really is believing:-

1) Sondra Locke's fugues as she remembers what happened to her and her sister under the boardwalk all those years ago before murdering someone are extraordinary.

2) Her sister's a mute now. There seemed to be a run of crime thrillers in the 1970s and 1980s where the victims of rape would suddenly be struck dumb.

3) Pat Hingle plays almost the most stereotypical small-town sheriff in the history of cinema, almost passing out with exhaustion during a rant at Callahan after the second murder. Hingle is absolutely TERRIBLE in this film.

4) Locke is bloody awful as well. Just as she always was. A truly terrible actress who played every single one of her roles in Eastwood films exactly the same way.

5) There's a lesbian character. She's a typical 1980s lesbian character in that she wears dungarees, is deeply unattractive and spends most of her time shouting at people. She insults a friend of hers in a hardware store about 13 times in just a couple of minutes. She also uses the insult "SUCK MY ASS THROUGH A STRAW!" at one point.

6) Eastwood seems older than he would be in The Dead Pool a few years later.

7) Some blokes who are trying to assassinate Callahan chase him on to a bridge where he disappears. He could be hiding in one of two places - in a barrel or in a sandbox. They walk PAST the barrel, thinking that he couldn't possibly be in there, and of course when they are busy shooting up the sandbox he jumps out of the barrel and shoots them.

8) During another assassination attempt, he gets his car set on fire while in motion with a couple of Molotov cocktails. He stops the car, which is completely on fire aside from the driver's area, and from nowhere pulls out a Molotov cocktail of his own and chucks it at his would-be assassins. Where the fuck did he get that from?!

9) There's a flashback scene that Locke is involved in with the aforementioned lesbian to a bunch of years beforehand where they somehow manage to make Locke look OLDER than she is in the rest of the film. And by older I mean a LOT older.

10) Also, none of her victims recognise her at all even though the attacks she is avenging only happened a few years beforehand. Must have been all that de-ageing.

There is a lot more as well, not to mention the absolutely bonkers ending. Watch this film.

Steve G liked this review