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One of Clint Eastwood's Worst Movies

  • Mar 14, 2009
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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. Well, poor Shockley finds out differently when not only the bad guys but the good guys are trying to kill him and his witness. It seems some conspiracy is afoot. The rest of the movie is Shockley, and his female witness, Gus Mally, running from cops and mobsters trying to kill them in increasingly ridiculous bad action scenes. And plot is so ludicrously predictable it's pretty clear early on just who the bad guy behind the curtain is.

Unless you really, really like Clint Eastwood, this is one to forget. I'll bet he wishes he could.

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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 directs The Gauntlet very much in the style of his Academy Award-winning Western Unforgiven. 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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