The Enforcer - Review
Review by Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Dirty Harry 2 Disc Special Edition; Magnum Force Deluxe Edition; The Enforcer Deluxe Edition (exclusive to the box set); Sudden Impact Deluxe Edition (exclusive to the box set); The Dead Pool Deluxe Edition (exclusive to the box set); Clint Eastwood: Out Of The Shadows – Feature length documentary DVD narrated by Morgan Freeman; 40 page hardcover book containing rare behind the scenes photos; Replica Harry Callahan wallet with Inspector’s badge and ID Card; Scorpio: Portrait Of A Killer 19” x 27” Poster: San Francisco Street Map detailing Harry’s hunt for the killer; Lobby art cards; Never-before-seen production notes and internal studio correspondence.
Synopsis: Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) must foil a terrorist group made up of disgruntled Vietnam veterans. But he’s less than impressed to be teamed up with a rookie female detective (Tyne Daly) to do so.
Our verdict: James Fargo’s stab at the Dirty Harry legend was a solid but much less hard-hitting addition to the series. While the spectre of Vietnam continued to provide the obligatory slice of social commentary, the addition of a female partner to irritate Callahan provided more of a comedy edge.
To be fair, Tyne Daly (of Cagney & Lacey fame) stepped up to the task well, holding her own against plenty of sexist jokes and male innuendo. Eastwood also found his character’s misogynist tendencies tested to the limit, but seemed to have fun placing his partner in awkward situations. The two eventually (and obviously) developed a begrudging respect for each other, which made the fate of Daly’s character all the more poignant in the end.
The case itself, concerning the People’s Revolutionary Strike Force, was – once again – ripped right out of the headlines as the terrorist group in question was based on the Symbionese Liberation Army, which kidnapped Patty Hearst. But the terrorist leader Bobby Maxwell (played by DeVeren Bookwalter) carried much less of an impact than previous Dirty Harry villains and the script, by Stirling Silliphant and Dean Riesner, failed to properly explore his frustrations and motivations.
Indeed, The Enforcer felt like a watered down Dirty Harry movie in many ways, that was more interested in pandering to commercial concerns rather than emphasising any social grievances. A scene in which Harry demolishes a shop with a car in order to gain the upper hand against some more robbers was typical of the cartoonish approach to dealing with bad guys that the franchise latterly favoured. It pleased audiences, but failed to do justice to the origins of the character.
That said, the final scenes on Alcatraz, as Harry and partner attempt to save the city’s Mayor, were well choreographed and led to a suitably rousing finale that left audiences with a bittersweet taste.