Film Review: The Enforcer (1976)

Also known as: Moving Target, Dirty Harry III (working titles)
Release Date: December 16th, 1976 (London premiere)
Directed by: James Fargo
Written by: Stirling Silliphant, Dean Riesner, Gail Morgan Hickman, S.W. Schurr
Based on: characters by Harry Julian Fink, R.M. Fink
Music by: Jerry Fielding
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Harry Guardino, Bradford Dillman, Tyne Daly, John Mitchum, DeVeren Bookwalter, Albert Popwell, John Crawford, Dick Durock, Jocelyn Jones

The Malpaso Company, Warner Bros., 96 Minutes

Review:

“I’ll tell you what you are to me, little man. You’re just a maggot who sells dirty pictures.” – ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan

By the time you get to the third film in a movie series, one would usually expect the quality to start waning. However, Death Wish 3 has the greatest action finale of any movie ever made, so maybe Dirty Harry 3 a.k.a. The Enforcer would follow suit.

Well, this is no Death Wish 3 and it’s also not Dirty Harry 1 but I do like it slightly better than Dirty Harry 2 a.k.a. Magnum Force and thought that it was a very worthy sequel that kept the Harry character relevant.

This film gets away from the “system is broken” plot line that was featured so heavily in the first two movies. Sure, we see an idiot mayor and city officials that run the town like morons but this is also San Francisco and we all know how that city turned out in the future: hobo poop and dirty needles everywhere.

Anyway, this film focuses on a different political message in that it forces Harry to have to team up with a new partner: a woman. This woman is played by Tyne Daly of Cagney & Lacey fame and I’ve always kind of liked her, so it was cool seeing her play another female cop, albeit younger than she would be by the time that television show rolled around.

The story is about a group of extreme revolutionaries that steal some high grade military shit and start terrorizing the town. There is a subplot featuring black militants, as they are set up by the mayor’s people to take the fall. This is also done to give credit to Harry and his new female partner, which the mayor uses to “prove” that his feminist cop initiative is a success. Of course, this doesn’t sit well with Harry or the female cop, especially since Harry worked out a deal with the leader of the black militants minutes before they were arrested.

As should be expected, this is an action heavy film and it moves at a much better pace due to its shorter running time. I like the bad guys, the subplots, Harry is still Harry, Tyne Daly is really good and I dug the finale, as it takes place at Alcatraz.

Sadly, Tyne Daly gets killed in the end, which was predictable but also cost the series a really good co-star. Her chemistry with Clint Eastwood was good and I really wanted to see her grow over the course of future films.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: the other Dirty Harry movies, as well as the Death Wish series.

Film Review: The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)

Release Date: May 12th, 1989
Directed by: Jim Wynorski
Written by: Neil Cuthbert, Grant Morris
Based on: Swamp Thing by Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson
Music by: Chuck Cirino
Cast: Louis Jourdan, Heather Locklear, Sarah Douglas, Dick Durock, Monique Gabrielle

Lightyear Entertainment, Batfilm Productions, Millimeter Films, 88 Minutes

Review:

“Immortality? Yuck! What did you do, sell your soul to the devil?” – Abby Arcane, “More like a lease with an option to buy.” – Dr. Anton Arcane

A friend of mine thought I was harsh on the first Swamp Thing and its director, Wes Craven. But my opinions are my opinions. He was also confused as to why I remembered this one more fondly.

Well, having now seen it again, the first time in about three decades, I still have the same opinion. While this is far from a classic and a pretty mediocre comic book adaptation, it’s still a fun, stupid, popcorn movie.

What makes this one work better for me, which seems to be why others dislike it, is the added comedy element. It’s not trying to take itself too seriously. This film is pretty self-aware, so it hams it up.

I think that the first one was made in an effort to be taken seriously. Craven has only successfully achieved that with the first A Nightmare On Elm Street, his reinvention New Nightmare and his voodoo thriller, The Serpent and the Rainbow.

Jim Wynorski, this film’s director, seems like the just wanted to have a good time making something somewhat lighthearted and goofy in a charming way. The scenes with the kids in this movie are hysterical and they’re more brilliant than anything in the first flick.

I also like that this is Dick Durock’s second time playing the title character and he seems a lot more comfortable and is allowed to let his personality come through. I also liked the return of Louis Jourdan’s Dr. Anton Arcane, even though he got killed in the first picture. This is a wacky, over the top, sci-fi movie… so why couldn’t he come back?

The supporting cast was also decent. Sure, the acting here shouldn’t be used as an example for students in drama class but everyone in the movie looked like they were having a ball and there were three pretty enchanting women in this between Sarah Douglas, Monique Gabrielle and Heather Locklear, who was surprisingly the one I found least attractive. Sarah Douglas has had my heart since Superman II and Monique Gabrielle became the woman of my dreams once I saw her shooting a machine gun.

In conclusion, I guess I understand why most people like the original more but fuck it, this is a lot more fun, has extra babes, extra cheese, extra charm, better effects and two kid actors that should’ve got their own spinoff movie trying to photograph cryptids in the swamp.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: the first Swamp Thing movie, as well as the TV show that came just after this film.

Film Review: Swamp Thing (1982)

Release Date: February 19th, 1982
Directed by: Wes Craven
Written by: Wes Craven
Based on: Swamp Thing by Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson
Music by: Harry Manfredini
Cast: Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise, Dick Durock, David Hess

Swampfilms, Embassy Pictures, 91 Minutes (theatrical cut), 93 Minutes (DVD), 89 Minutes (alternate DVD cut)

Review:

“A man who loves, gives hostages to fortune.” – Dr. Anton Arcane

Other than A Nightmare On Elm Street and The Serpent and the Rainbow, I’m not a big fan of Wes Craven and actually think he’s one of the most overrated horror directors of all-time for a guy considered to be a legend.

Sure, that statement probably pisses off some fans of ’80s and ’90s horror but would you rather I lie?

Swamp Thing is another example of why I don’t like Craven.

It’s boring, dopey and looks like shit. And frankly, Swamp Thing is such a rich and cool character that this should have been a really easy movie to make even with a scant budget.

Hell, you’ve got Ray Wise, Adrienne Barbeau, Louis Jourdan and Dick Durock, who would at least become a great Swamp Thing once the television show debuted in 1990.

I mean, this motion picture had the benefit of fascinating and marvelous source material, as well as a more than capable cast. But it just kind of sucks and the few things that should be somewhat endearing just don’t hit their mark in a way that lets them rise above the muck. Hell, I’m a sucker for nostalgia, even stuff I didn’t necessarily like from my childhood but revisiting this Craven flick was something I kind of put off and dreaded. But I had a friend that wanted to revisit it, so I got lured in.

And with that being said, many consider the sequel to be worse but I’m actually kind of looking forward to rewatching that one because from memory, there was more that I liked in that one.

Rating: 4.75/10
Pairs well with: it’s sequel and the original Swamp Thing television show.

Film Review: Raw Deal (1986)

Release Date: June 6th, 1986
Directed by: John Irvin
Written by: Gary DeVore, Norman Wexler, Luciano Vincenzoni, Sergio Donati
Music by: Tom Bahler, Chris Boardman, Albhy Galuten
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathryn Harrold, Darren McGavin, Sam Wanamaker, Paul Shenar, Steven Hill, Ed Lauter, Robert Davi, Dick Durock

Famous Films, International Film Corporation, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, Embassy Pictures, 107 Minutes

Review:

“He molested, murdered and mutilated her.” – Mark Kaminsky

This is an old school Schwarzenegger film that I had never seen until now. Actually, it is probably the only Schwarzenegger film I have never seen. Although I have seen a few clips here and there over the years like the scene with his awesome line, “You should not drink and bake.”

Anyway, Raw Deal is sort of a raw deal. It isn’t a good picture by any stretch of the imagination. There is one amazing scene where Schwarzenegger blows up a massive oil refinery but that short sequence was the entire budget of the picture, one would have to assume.

Also, he looks good in that he wears a nice suit and puffs a large cigar for most of the movie. He’s essentially the Austrian James Bond with extra muscles and not a lot to do.

The movie feels cheap and it is cheap. The quality of the film is a big step down from where Schwarzenegger was at this point in his career. The cinematography is ugly, the quality of the film and camera work is shitty and the script is awful apart from a couple funny Arnold lines.

The film also has Robert Davi and Ed Lauter in it, which is cool but not cool enough to make the film anything other than a less-than-mediocre action film.

Raw Deal is no Terminator or Commando or Conan. It is like a script that Chuck Norris said “no” to even though he made around 1700 films in the 1980s.

So, I hate to do this to Arnie but I have to run Raw Deal through the Cinespiria Shitometer. So, what we have here is a “Type 3 Stool: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface.”

Rating: 4/10