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A lesser known, but still worthwhile piece of Eastwood's film history

  • Jan 6, 2012
Rating:
+3
Hey look, Clint Eastwood is in another cop film! Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke star in this 1977 action film which, while not a masterpiece by any means is still worth a look for fans of action films.

Clint Eastwood is Ben Shockley, a down-and-out cop that is assigned to escort a prostitute (Gus Mally, played by Sondra Locke) from Las Vegas to Phoenix to testify in a mob trial. but it turns out that nobody wants them to turn up in Phoenix alive, including the cops, so the unhappy pair have to fight for their lives while making a mad rush to the Phoenix courthouse to get her to testify alive.

The highlights of The Gauntlet are the action sequences, which are slightly more over-the-top compared to what you might find in a typical Eastwood film (example: early in the film, cops surround a building Eastwood and Locke are hiding in and riddle the whole place with bullets) the film is also directed by Eastwood, and the great thing about Eastwood is he is a solid actor and director. I am probably not the best person to analyse/critique a director, but you won't find any of the irritating as hell techniques used in films like Battlefield Earth. all the action is clear in this film.

But like a lot of action films, there is the cliche action film romance and some bad dialogue you'll have to put up with. While the character of Gus Mally was written with the goal to be annoying, especially to Eastwoods character, chances are you'll find her a tad too grating. which will make that eventual romance between the two characters ESPECIALLY unbelievable. Eastwoods performance is just fine, this is the kind of performance he could do with his eyes closed, he is made for playing rugged cops. Not his best, and you may find it a tad too much like Dirty Harry, but he doesn't phone it in.

There is quite a bit of humor in this film as well, it'll be up to you to decide whether it works or not but to me it worked more often then not, but when it didn't, it was just kind of awkward. One scene in particular ran for far too long in my opinion.

While there is some silly writing in this film, the basic plot point of this film I found quite intriguing, and was able to hold my interest to the end. of course, some points of the plot might be predictable for some.

Final word: Worth a rent, especially if you're into Eastwood films. Not the best of his flicks by far, but if you decide to spend a the 1h50m or so to watch this film, it won't be a total waste of your time.

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More The Gauntlet (1977) reviews
review by . April 12, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
The Gauntlet may rank as one of Clint Eastwood's worst movies. It is so unrealistic and silly I frankly didn't want to even finish it. Released in 1977 after a string of some really good westerns and Dirty Harry movies, it stands out as being a real stinker.    Here Eastwood plays a loser of a cop, Ben Shockley, who is sent on an assignment to pick up a witness in Las Vegas for a trial. He's told it's a "nothing witness for a nothing case" so he thinks it'll be an easy assignment. …
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Wiki

Clint Eastwood is a down-and-out cop who is sent on a routine mission to pick up a witness and deliver her to the Phoenix courthouse. Sounds easy until he realizes he's been set up by the man who gave him this simple assignment. The interplay between Eastwood and the witness, a clever prostitute played by the actor's former girlfriend, Sondra Locke, is tough and playful. They obviously had strong chemistry. The story is highly implausible at times, but the action sequences are satisfying. Eastwood directsThe Gauntletvery much in the style of his Academy Award-winning WesternUnforgiven. Although the body count is surprisingly low for an Eastwood action film, a house, several cars, and a large bus get shot through with more holes than a big wheel of Swiss cheese. For Eastwood fans, this is the laconic hero at his prime.--Richard Natale
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Details

DVD Release Date: March 30, 1999
Runtime: 109 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video

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