Sunday, July 09, 2017

The Enforcer

Directed by James Fargo and screenplay by Stirling Silliphant and Dean Riesner from a story by Gail Morgan Hickman and S.W. Schurr, The Enforcer is the story of Harry Callahan teaming up with an inexperienced yet determined woman detective to take down a terrorist ring. The third film in the Dirty Harry series has the often-prejudiced and cynical Harry team up with a woman for the first time as he shows her the ropes in the world of homicide and crime as he’s once again played by Clint Eastwood. Also starring Tyne Daly, Harry Guardino, Bradford Dillman, and DeVeren Bookwalter. The Enforcer is an exhilarating and intense film from James Fargo.

The film revolves a terrorist plot in which a group of people claiming to be revolutionaries as they demand a huge ransom prompting the police to try and stop things with Harry Callahan trying to find their identity after one of his colleagues was killed during a theft. While it’s a revenge movie of sorts, it’s also a film that explore a cop trying to do what is right but know he’s dealing with something different as well as coping with some of the politics in the police force. Joining Callahan in his pursuit is his new partner in a female rookie in Kate Moore (Tyne Daly) who has been selected as part of a new affirmative action enforced by the mayor which makes Callahan uneasy due to Moore’s inexperience on the field as she spent much of her work in records.

The film’s screenplay doesn’t just explore Callahan’s reluctance in taking in someone inexperienced as his partner but also the fact that he’s dealing with a group of people who are just causing terror. When Callahan talks to a black militant leader in “Big” Ed Mustapha (Albert Popwell) who knows a former member of his group that is part of the organization. Things become complicated behind the scenes as it’s an election year where Callahan’s superiors want to make Callahan and Moore as poster-people for all that is good yet neither of them are proud. Especially the former who sees what he does is just a job and nothing else as commendations and such don’t mean anything other than see that justice is served.

James Fargo’s direction is quite simple in terms of the compositions he creates as it doesn’t have any kind of stylish angles though it begins in a darkly-comical manner in which two men from a gas company pick up a gorgeous woman wearing scantily-clad clothing. Of course, they are just pawns in the game of these individual who practically kill them and use their truck for other means as it establishes who the antagonists are and what they aim to do. Much of Fargo’s direction has him use medium shots and close-ups to focus on some of the action and interaction between characters while he would a lot of wide shots for the many locations in and around San Francisco where the film is set. Fargo’s approach to the action is intense as is some of the violence where there are moments that is quite graphic in how some people are killed which is something that Moore is being introduced to in such a big way. Even as the film include a bombing and a scene early in the film in which Callahan disrupts a robbery by giving them what they want as it shows his no-nonsense approach to getting the job done. The film’s climax at the island of Alcatraz prison where it is this big showdown between this gang of terrorists and the duo of Callahan and Moore as it’s all about trying to save San Francisco. Overall, Fargo creates a thrilling and gripping film about a cop and his new partner taking down a terrorist group wreaking havoc in San Francisco.

Cinematographer Charles W. Short does excellent work with the film’s cinematography as it is quite straightforward in the way the daytime scenes look as well as the usage of low-key lights for the scenes at night. Editors Joel Cox and Ferris Webster do nice work with the editing as it is straightforward for its approach to the action and suspense. Art director Allen E. Smith and set decorator Ira Bates do fantastic work with the look of some of the places the characters go into such as a church, a mysterious brothel, and a porno film set during a chase scene.

Costume designer Glenn Wright does terrific work with the costumes from the ragged hippie/army-like clothing of the terrorist group to the more straight-laced look of Callahan and Moore. The sound work of Bert Hallberg is superb for the presentation some of the action as well as way gunfire and rocket launchers sound. The film’s music by Jerry Fielding is amazing for its jazz-driven score that help play into the suspense and some of the film’s action scenes as it is a highlight of the film.

The casting by Mary Goldberg is brilliant as it feature some notable small roles from Joe Spano and Rudy Ramos as a couple of liquor store robbers that are taken down by Callahan, M.G. Kelly as a corrupt priest who is helping the terrorist group, Jocelyn Jones as the scantily-clad woman that is actually part of the terrorist group, Samantha Doane as another female member of the terrorist group named Wanda, Michael Cavanaugh as the terrorist group’s second-in-command, and John Mitchum as Callahan’s old friend and partner Frank “Fatso” DiGiorgio. John Crawford is terrific as the mayor who sees the pairing of Callahan and Moore as good publicity that he wants to use for his re-election while Albert Popwell is superb as the black militant leader “Big” Ed Mustapha who would help give Callahan some information as he sees Callahan as one of the few white people he can trust.

DeVeren Bookwalker is wonderful as the crazed terrorist leader Bobby Maxwell as someone who is just trying to pretend to use a cause for his actions when he is really just about money. Harry Guardino is excellent as Lt. Bressler as a superior of Callahan who is a man of reason as he’s trying to make sure Callahan doesn’t go overboard. Bradford Dillman is fantastic as Captain Jerome McKay as Callahan’s top superior who doesn’t like Callahan or his methods as he tries to make him the poster-boy for accepting this new wave of affirmative action as he’s more concerned with advancing his career prospects rather than do what is right. Tyne Daly is amazing as Inspector Kate Moore as a police officer who transferred from records to homicide in this new affirmative action initiative is someone who is determined to do her job and impress Callahan as well as get into the real aspects of her work in homicide. Finally, there’s Clint Eastwood in a marvelous performance as Harry Callahan as the no-nonsense police detective who knows how to get the job done as he’s trying to fulfill his duties for justice while being reluctant in taking in a new partner as he also copes with the loss of a friend and refusing to become some poster-boy for one’s political gain.

The Enforcer is a remarkable film from James Fargo that feature top-notch performances from Clint Eastwood and Tyne Daly. Along with some thrilling action and suspense scenes as well as a look into the world of homegrown terrorism and political ambition. It’s a film that explore a man dealing with changing times but also knowing that justice still matters. In the end, The Enforcer is an excellent film from James Fargo.

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