This was the first Dirty Harry movie to be made in the 1980s, and as such the change in tone was very noticeable. This was a time when marketing and product placement became much more obvious in movies, and these kinds of movies more or less became vehicles to establish catch phrases and make flashy trailers, and also tell a story if there was enough budget left at the end of the explosions.
Clint Eastwood returns here in his fourth go around in the role, and you can tell he’s just kind of here for the paycheck with this one. That said, as someone who digs these kinds of movies, it’s certainly at least a passable effort.
It has my least favorite of all the Dirty Harry stories, featuring long time Eastwood collaborator Sondra Locke as a rape victim who goes on a vigilante spree, in between displaying the acting skills of a female version of Barry Pepper on Prozac.
This gets Harry on her case, and eventually sends him down to a little Podunk town far removed from the classic rolling hills of San Francisco where his character belongs. Another change made here is the adoption of a new side arm for Callahan who at one point decides to put down his old trusty Smith & Wesson double action revolver for a big awkward looking semi-automatic .44 magnum hand cannon.
This is not a Dirty Harry movie I’d go out of my way to see, but it is memorable for an early scene in which the catch phrase “Make my day!” is introduced into the American pop culture lexicon.
That lone scene is more memorable than anything else in the entire movie.
Sudden Impact gets a three out of five: SATISFYING.