This is Clint Eastwood week. The Dead Pool is currently available on instant Netflix.
PASS: The Dead Pool (1988) – Rated R
“A macabre sports pool is placing bets on which celebrity is going to die next and crossing names off a list as each of them meets their demise. A serial killer who preys on famous figures enters the scene, and suddenly the odds are dramatically changed. When rogue cop “Dirty Harry” Callahan (Clint Eastwood) and high-profile TV journalist Samantha Walker (Patricia Clarkson) suddenly find their names on the list, the game hits too close to home.”
“Do you like cops?” – “As long as they’re not in my rearview mirror”
Yes even 17 years later this is still Dirty Harry. Harry has no problem shooting a fleeing criminal in the back. At this point Harry hardly even seems like a policeman. He doesn’t do police work so much as stumble from shooting to shooting killing everyone. His decision at the end of the film is again vintage Harry.
The real problem with The Dead Pool is that this is a completely lazy by-the-numbers sequel. Instead of stumbling into a bank robbery or a hijacking as in the first two films, Harry stumbles into a restaurant killing which is tangentially related to the plot.
Instead of an African-American partner or a female partner, this time Harry gets a Chinese-American partner. Surprise, the Chinese-American partner knows martial arts (yawn). As with all Dirty Harry films, this partner may as well be wearing a red shirt.
There is a completely disposable, not to mention boring, subplot involving an imprisoned organized crime boss taking out a contract on Harry. This gives Harry an excuse to threaten, beat up, and shoot people.
The Dead Pool portion of the plot could actually have made for a good mystery movie but it is given a half hour at most even though it is the main plot thread.
Someone in production must have really loved Guns ‘n Roses. “Welcome to the Jungle” is prominently featured twice in the film which, while a good song, is a bit of overkill. In addition look for Steven Adler, Duff McKagan, Axl Rose, Slash, and Izzy Stradlin as musicians at a funeral.
There is a hilarious sequence late in the film where they replicate the famous Bullitt car chase. Only this time one of the cars barreling over San Francisco’s hills is a remote-controlled explosive miniature car. This inspired scene alone is almost worth recommending the film.
The Dead Pool is not good but it is quite watchable simply by virtue of Clint’s presence. It is a shame that this was how they chose to end the series.
People Watch: Look for Jim Carrey in an early role as Johnny Squares.