I pride myself on having watched most of Clint Eastwood’s films. Yet for some reason, I’ve avoided watching The Dead Pool, which was the final installment for the great Dirty Harry franchise, for the longest time.

Until last night.

And it made me wonder why they didn’t make another Dirty Harry movie. Clearly Eastwood was going out on top of his game. Maybe at the spry age of 92, Clint will pull out .44 Magnum and terrorize the streets of San Francisco once more. But until then, we’re left with The Dead Pool, co-starring the delightful Patricia Clarkson and a ponytailed Liam Neeson.

Now Buddy Van Horn does a pretty solid job here. You’re probably wondering ‘who the fuck is Buddy Van Horn?’ And the answer is simple: he was a stunt man who Clint Eastwood inexplicably chose to direct this picture. But he handles the romance between Harry Callahan and Patricia Clarkson, who is 30 years Eastwood’s junior, with a particular delicacy. It’s very easy to understand why a young, attractive, and ambitious journalist would fall for a crabby, old San Francisco cop that everyone is trying to kill.

Not only is Liam Neeson particularly Irish in this picture, we’re also treated to an early performance from Jim Carrey, who, though on the screen for only five minutes, poorly lip synchs to Guns N’Roses and overacts his way through a drug overdose.

Now if Clint Eastwood is good at one thing, it’s engaging in sensitive cultural issues, especially regarding Asian-Americans (see Gran Torino). For this installment, Harry Callahan is paired with Evan C. Kim, an actor born to Korean immigrants, this time playing a Chinese-American. The shootout in a Chinatown restaurant is superbly handled as Callahan fires away after reading from a fortune cookie.

So how does this picture stack up to other San Francisco based action flicks? Pretty good. Especially if you’ve ever wondered how the chase from Bullitt would have looked if it featured a remote controlled toy car. 👍

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