Review: ‘The Dead Pool’

Dirty Harry Callahan isn't the best and brightest of cops but you can't kill him with cannon, mace and chain. The Dead Pool isn't the best and brightest of the Dirty Harry films, either, but just as invincible. It's possible that Clint Eastwood and crew are just enjoying a bit of self-mockery with this one [the fifth in the series].

Dirty Harry Callahan isn’t the best and brightest of cops but you can’t kill him with cannon, mace and chain. The Dead Pool isn’t the best and brightest of the Dirty Harry films, either, but just as invincible. It’s possible that Clint Eastwood and crew are just enjoying a bit of self-mockery with this one [the fifth in the series].

From the original on, Harry has always been a fantasty character but his stories have been involving. Here, he remains absurdly separate from reality in an exceedingly lame yarn [by Steve Sharon, Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw] that lurches from one shootout to the next.

The plot has something to do with a crime lord whom Harry has dispatched to San Quentin and a psychotic film fan out to eliminate local celebrities, which includes the cop and lady friend Samantha Walker (Patricia Clarkson, in the current cliche role of the peppery newscaster). In the background is a low-budget film company boringly run by Peter (Liam Neeson), a suspect who’s never remotely suspicious for a moment.

There are chuckles here and there and a wildly preposterous car chase up and down the hills of Frisco. This time, though, it’s a teeny little toy car in pursuit of the policemen, intending to overtake them with a bomb.

The Dead Pool

Production

Malpaso/Warner. Director Buddy Van Horn; Producer David Valdes; Screenplay Steve Sharon; Camera Jack N. Green; Editor Joel Cox, Ron Spang; Music Lalo Schifrin; Art Director Edward C. Carfagno

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1988. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Clint Eastwood Patricia Clarkson Evan C. Kim Liam Neeson David Hunt Michael Currie
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