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The Dead Pool (1988)

Action & Adventure movie directed by Buddy Van Horn

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"Harry! You left a toy car on my desk! I thought you didn't like me!"

  • Dec 31, 2010
The Dead Pool was the 5th and final of Dirty Harry's big screen adventures and after the tepidness of Sudden Impact, Harry's swan song could have ended worse.

Harry Calahan is making news after he just put away a major mob figure but wants nothing of the fame he has suddenly gotten or the mob hitmen who continue to harass him.  Meanwhile a schlock film maker  has gotten himself involved with a "dead pool" a list of celebrities who they think are going to die and sure enough, Harry is on one of these lists.  After a dead rocker and film critic show up on the list and, well die.  Harry sets his sights on finding this new killer before the killer finds him.

The Dead Pool has a playful sense of humor which after the gimmicky but enjoyable The Enforcer and the turgid Sudden Impact was very welcome.  No it's not a dark and dangerous movie like the first film but at least it isn't a stupid and boring movie.  Even the RC car chase while a little silly doesn't take it self seriously and with all the up and down hills of San Fran, it can only make one think of Bullitt and if anyone is badass enough to take up Steve McQueen's mantle it's Clint.

What was nice was that while Harry is detached from his cowboy persona a new theme has come up and that is celebrities and fame.  Everyone for the last many years is reaching for they're fame.  The victims in this movie had some level of fame and died.  The media gets lip service too as a lady reporter latches onto Harry to get some juicy insight. 

The Dead Pool does suffer from some repetition though.  How many times will we see either Harry or the media talking to Liam Neeson's director character?  How many clips of ammo will the goon squads after Harry waste before they realize they didn't kill him?  How many times will Harry dodge all that fire?  Yeah I know it's an 80's movie and I love Commando.  How many times will we get teased by the mystery killer and linger on him and NOT show him?

The Dead Pool was a nice way to close out the Dirty Harry movies.  No the first movie is still the best but damn it if this one didn't show a change of the times evolve a little bit to give us some new targets.  Targets to aim a nice big revolver at.

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January 03, 2011
Oh yeah!! I see you are still into the Harry Callahan kick! Happy New Year, John!!
December 31, 2010
Excellent review as always
December 31, 2010
Thank you.
More The Dead Pool (1988 movie) reviews
Quick Tip by . December 31, 2010
Fun and lighter final outing for Dirty Harry and his adventures in San Fransisco with Harry being put on a list of celebrities marked for death. A little repetitive in places but enjoyable in others.
review by . September 10, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Callahan is the same as always     Cons: ...     The Bottom Line: “It's your dying day  We all float down here in the dead pool  You'll float too my dear in the dead pool” ~ Phantom       Good old Inspector Harry Callahan has always been a favorite of mine and they couldn't have picked a better person to take on the role than Clint Eastwood. This is the final segment in the long running movie …
review by . April 01, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
This is the last of five "Dirty Harry" films in which Eastwood stars as a San Francisco police detective. By the time of its initial release (in 1988), Eastwood had aged and times had changed but Callahan's non-negotiaable values and unorthodox methods had remained essentially the same. In this film, he investigates a pool which attracts bets on which of eight celebrities will be killed. (Several are.) Although this basic premise is implausible, Callahan takes full advantage of every opportunity …
About the reviewer
John Nelson ()
Ranked #8
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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About this movie


After the drudgery ofSudden Impact, the fourth and worst sequel toDirty Harry, no one could have expected the fifth to have any signs of life. ButThe Dead Poolis fairly inspired, even playful--check out a "chase" scene between Clint Eastwood's Harry Callahan character and a remote-controlled toy car wielding a bomb--and it ended the long-running series on an unexpectedly positive note. This time, Callahan investigates a series of murders that appears to be on a "death list," while becoming romantically involved with a television reporter (Patricia Clarkson). Jim Carrey has a small but memorable part as a doped-up rock star, and Liam Neeson is on board, too. Directed by Eastwood surrogate Buddy Van Horn (Any Which Way You Can).--Tom Keogh
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Director: Buddy Van Horn
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: 1988
DVD Release Date: November 20, 2001
Runtime: 91 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
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