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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Dead Pool (1988)



Reviews and Comments

The fifth and final installment in the Dirty Harry series has much to recommend it -- the usual solid dose of tough guy catchphrases, harrowing action scenes where inaccurate machine guns shatter entire sets, and a fantastic chase scene involving three cars, one of which is a remote controlled toy. What holds the film together, though, are the quieter moments between the adrenaline, when time is taken to treat the characters as individual persons, rather than pawns in a plot.

Yet, despite its strengths, The Dead Pool is the least satisfying of the five films in the series. It has the feel of a good idea put together haphazardly. All the obligatory pieces are fitted neatly into the now familiar Dirty Harry formula, but where the previous series entries had stories that felt like they just happened to fit the formula, this time the fit feels too deliberate and contrived. Still, fans of the series will probably still enjoy this final episode.

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