Picks and Pans Review: Sudden Impact

updated 01/16/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/16/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

Like Sylvester Stallone, Clint Eastwood is a peerless actor in one kind of role. Eastwood's is that of the brutal San Francisco detective Harry Callahan. It is hardly a one-shot proposition—this is the fourth Dirty Harry film—but it's certainly a one-note character: Harry can be violent, more violent and turn-on-the-blood-making-machine violent. So much for emotional range. This time, Harry is assigned to track down a killer in the San Francisco Bay area. Sondra Locke (Eastwood's real-life love) has been avenging the gang rape of herself and her sister in a small Northern California town by systematically eliminating the rapists. When Harry goes to the town for some R&R, he meets Locke and, because they share a taste for mayhem, romance blossoms. Taut at the beginning, even funny, the movie deteriorates when Eastwood, who also directed, launches an endless series of shoot-outs. One gun battle can be exciting; a half dozen become tedious. If Meathead, the bulldog who pals around with Eastwood, wants to be the new Lassie, he picked the wrong film. This is something only a gunsmith could love. (R)

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