When a mad man calling himself “the Scorpio Killer” (Andrew Robinson) menaces the city of San Francisco, tough police Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is assigned to track down and stop the psychopath.
It’s easy to see why Dirty Harry is a classic and one of Eastwood’s definitive roles. Eastwood is great as Callahan, he’s a tough cop who won’t quit and won’t put up with bureaucratic nonsense. That being said, while he is a loose cannon, he does respect the law and the way it works – most of the time.
Dirty Harry is not only a sharp action film but it is a great political police drama, looking at the right and wrongs of policing and the hoops people have to jump through. It also has some great lines (Eastwood delivers sarcastic quips wonderfully) and the music is a great accompaniment as it’s often tense and unsettling, especially whenever the Scorpio Killer is about to make an appearance.
The Scorpio Killer really is quite creepy and sometimes terrifying. Robinson does a great job as his baby-faced appearance goes against the methodical killer he really is. Also he is just as smart as Callahan and the San Francisco Police Department who doesn’t go back on his threats so he’s a worthy opponent for Callahan.
There’s some great sequences in Dirty Harry, one which stands out is when the Scorpio Killer leads Callahan on a chase around the city – Callahan has to get to different phone booths in a certain amount of time or a girl will die. It’s a tense sequence and the Scorpio Killer never lets up. The finale when the Scorpio Killer has taken a school bus hostage is also thrilling, especially when Callahan takes matters into his own hands and jumps on top of the moving bus to stop him.
Dirty Harry is fast-paced, action-packed and also has a smart wit, it’s easy to see why it’s a classic and much-loved film. 5/5.