DVD Review: Sudden Impact: Deluxe edition

Warner Home Entertainment

SRP: $14.97
Dir: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Sandra Locke
Sudden Impact saw Clint Eastwood return to his most famous character after a seven-year absence. The time away appears to have been a good thing because SI is a much better film than The Enforcer.

This time around, Clint directs as well as stars. Much of the grittiness of The Unforgiven and Mystic River is here, as well as a remarkable amount of humanity.

After upsetting his superiors (not to mention some of the local criminal element), Harry is sent away to investigator some killing in San Paulo.

While there, he meets Jennifer Spencer, an artist that is in town to paint the local carousal. The two connect and get to know each other.

Unfortunately, Jennifer is in town for another reason: To kill the men that raped her and her younger sister (who has since been in a catatonic state) years earlier. There is a flashback to the attack that will remain with you for days to come.

Like Magnum Force, SI forces Harry to take a look at his own actions as well as the legal system he seems to despise. In some of the films, Harry is simply an iconic action character, but SI gives us a real person to root for. Harry clearly sympathizes with Jennifer, but his job, as a cop, is his entire life and, honestly, his identity.

Sudden Impact stands out from the other films in the series because there is, as I said, quite a bit of humanity. We can certainly understand Jennifer’s rage, but the attackers have grown up and not all are portrayed as evil beings. Is her vengeance justified? And even if it is, can Harry stand by while she eliminates them?

This film also features what may very well be Harry’s most famous line: “Go ahead, make my day.”
Now on to the extras,
Sudden Impact starts out with a very nice commentary track by Eastwood biographer Richard Schikel. Schickel talks about this film, but also about Eastwood in general, talking about the films place in the series as well as its place in Eastwood’s career. Fans of Eastwood should find it interesting and enlightening.

Next up is The Evolution of Clint Eastwood: This twenty-five minute featurette has comments from Eastwood, Michael Madsen, Tyne Daly, Hal Holbroock, Tom Fontana, Joe Carnahan, The Hughes Brothers, Paul Hagis and others. It looks at Eastwood’s career, covering his acting, directing and even his influences. An excellent piece and one that other studios should really look at. This is the kind of piece that should be done more often, with such a wide variety of interviewees; it provides a well-rounded and interesting look at the man.

Also included are trailers for each of the DH films.

Sudden Impact stands out above the other sequels and, in hindsight, would have been a better film to wrap up the entertaining series with. Looking at what Eastwood’s directing added to this film (and what he has done since), I can’t help but wonder what Clint might be able to do with Harry were he to revisit him today?
If you are not buying the box set, Sudden Impact is one of the DH films that should be purchased. It is a solid action flick with enough humanity to rise above the standard fodder of the genre.
Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.