Clint Eastwood, Tyne Daly, John Mitchum,
On the 40th anniversary of this movie, I gave it a whirl. Clint Eastwood is doing his thing and Tyne Daly, who went on to Cagney & Lacey fame, was quite good. The rest of the cast was hit and miss from well done stereotypes to half-assed acting. It's really in the main villains where it fails. They're weak and one dimensional.
These movies worked for about 20 years which is something special, but 40 years is too much. They're dated in ways that can not be fixed. The plot is slow and the action pedestrian. The Enforcer also lacks the one-liners that made the series famous.
This isn't to say you shouldn't watch them or they aren't worth the time. Dirty Harry is a classic. In my case I originally saw him in Sudden Impact (Dirty Harry IV) and loved it way back when. In fact, if you wanted a good taste of these movies, I'd watch Dirty Harry, Sudden Impact, and then if you want to see a young Liam Neeson alongside Jim Carrey go to The Dead Pool. Magnum Force and The Enforcer could be skipped without missing much.
These movies will probably most appeal to those who saw them in the 70s/80s but considering how styles swing back around, popularity may return; but regardless they will always be classics.
One thing to note with this specific Dirty Harry plot is how closely it resembles the later Eastwood/Sheen flick, The Rookie.
Old school action; stereotypical good but tough cop who rubs everyone the wrong way but wins; ridiculous villains; a little tragedy so you can add the word drama; enough plodding to help you sleep.
Scorpion Tale Rating 6/10 (3 Stars)