By Clint Morris
I have a confession to make : Though named after the Oscar Winning star of the series, the first â€œDirty Harryâ€ film I saw at a theatre was â€œThe Dead Poolâ€. Yep, I started at the end and made my way back.
It was 1988. I was I my mid-teens. The local theatre had a double feature : â€œHot to Trotâ€ starring Bobcat Goldthwait (remember the one? The guy-with-the-funny-voice had a Horse that talked?) and Clint Eastwoodâ€™s return as â€˜Dirtyâ€™ Harry Callahan. Not knowing any better, I was pretty much only there to see the silly comedy with the wisecracking horse and the â€œPolice Academyâ€ guy.
This would be the day that Iâ€™d meet Lt. Harry Callahan â€“ one of the coolest cats working in the cinematic crime field. And though Iâ€™d seen him in those crazy monkey-buddy comedies (â€œEvery Which Way But Looseâ€?) and in bits-and-pieces of films like â€œHeartbreak Ridgeâ€ and â€œPale Riderâ€ on video, it mightâ€™ve just been my introduction to Eastwood too. At least the first time Iâ€™d ever sat through, from start-to-end, one of his films.
Though I remember enjoying the heck out of it (Guy had a big gun! Whatâ€™s not to like!?), â€œThe Dead Poolâ€ got a real battering from the critics at the time. Having set such a high benchmark with the legendary â€œDirty Harryâ€, anything less â€“ especially something not quite as compelling, and just a little tacky â€“ was always going to be looked upon less than favourably, but people everywhere took a bat to this one. It got savaged. Which is kinda strangeâ€¦ because it ainâ€™t such a bad film.
Revisiting it all these years later â€“ actually, I pop it in the machine every two or three years â€“ I can see why fans (and the critics â€“ all of whom but Roger Ebert, who claimed it to be the best one since the first, loathed it) of the series didnâ€™t really go for this one. Itâ€™s definitely the cheesiest of the series.
In this one, Callahan is trying to find a killer â€“ someone whoâ€™s involved in the â€˜Hollywoodâ€™ game. After film director Peter Swan’s (Liam Neeson â€“ he was starting to do a lot of movies back then, I believe he was also in â€œHigh Spiritsâ€ and that Justine Bateman thing â€œSatisfactionâ€ the same year, but his name meant shit) producer is killed in a Chinatown restaurant robbery, Callahan discovers that he, together with Johnny Squares are part of a game in which participants try to predict the most celebrity deaths, presumably from natural causes or from those that work in dangerous professions, and in a turn of events, two more celebrities (one played by a then-unknown Jim Carrey) on the list are killed.
If thereâ€™s one thing we can all agree on itâ€™s that Eastwood still remembered how to play Harry Callahan â€“ despite the long break between movies. This is the same chap who emptied his chamber on the Scorpio Killer a decade before, no butts about it. Heâ€™s still as tough-as-nails, selfishly independent and markedly reckless.
And while the script itself is nowhere near as gritty, or as memorable, as â€œDirty Harryâ€ or â€œSudden Impactâ€, itâ€™s still fun â€“ though it does get a little hokey in parts (the whole â€˜Special appearance by Guns â€˜Nâ€™ Roses â€“ who provided some of their tunes to the soundtrack â€“ thing is a bit wanky) â€“ and thereâ€™s some great moments. A highlight would have to be the car chase â€“ where a remote controlled car, equipped with explosives, chases down Callahan in his car (sounds ridiculous, but itâ€™s actually well executed).
If the worst kind of sequel the 80s produced were the likes of â€œThe Dead Poolâ€, â€œJaws IV : The Revengeâ€, â€œFright Night Part IIâ€ or â€œA Nightmare on Elm Street 2 : Freddyâ€™s Revengeâ€ then sign me up for a Delorean joyride back to the Dukakis-era any day â€“ sure beats living in a world occupied with uber-expensive over-hyped junk like â€œPirates of the Caribbean : At Worldâ€™s Endâ€, â€œShrek the Thirdâ€, â€œX-Men : The Last Standâ€ and â€œBatman & Robinâ€.
Even if you remember being severely disappointed by â€œThe Dead Poolâ€ first time around, give it another look â€“ youâ€™ll probably find itâ€™s now no worse than the last â€œSpider-Manâ€ flick.
Extras on this new â€˜Deluxe Editionâ€™ DVD include a featurette on some of the musicians, production designers, cinematographers etc that have worked on the series, as well as a reasonably â€“ thereâ€™s a bit too much â€˜dead airâ€™ – Commentary by producer David Valdes and Cinematographer Jack N. Gree.
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Against the Current - the band, not adventures in dangerous swimming 101
Zedd - If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? (Well, answer my question!)
Arrow (Okay, Felicity from Arrow!)
Chrissy Costanza (cat eyes and buttery lyrics!)
Girls (TV) (Okay, Allison Williams!)
Movies - especially when they play in the dark.
Twin Peaks (TV)
Friends (TV) (It had me at "No way are you cool enough to pull Clint"; damn straight, Chandler!)
Traveling - preferably where water is, so I can splash someone!
Star Wars trilogy - no, the other one, fella!
Alex G - far more talented than her younger brother Alex H
Cameron Crowe movies - Say Anything..., Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous
The sign 'Free Wi-Fi'.
Reenacting dance/song scenes from "Grease" with my little girl (hey! Wait till you see my 'Summer Lovin'! - don't judge)
Die Hard - 40 stories of Sheer Adventure!
Alex Goot & Friends (his enemies aren't half as talented!)
Cooking up a nice dish and sitting in the entertainment area, on a cool night, basking in it's greatness.
Inflatable kids pools full of Vodka Lime Crush.
Acidic Email from angry, over passionate teenagers after I trash something "Twilight"-related on the site. Sparkle elsewhere.
My baby girl's big, caring heart.