Dirty Harry Movies Ranked

4. Magnum Force (1973)

The original Dirty Harry sequel Magnum Force had a high standard to replicate (or even attempt to reach) a mere two years after the original’s release. It’s safe to say that it tried but ultimately failed.

With the first film being such a huge success, it is very obvious that Magnum Force hoped to stretch out the character of Harry even more whilst also trying its hand at doing something new. It is precisely those elements that let it down, the most notable example being in its attempt to turn Callahan into some sort of sex symbol (a development in character that surely no one wanted to see).

Magnum Force attempts to replicate the anti-law, every man for himself message that the first Dirty Harry movie had brought before it, but in a far less subtle way; this time through a group of police officers working as a crime syndicate.

Not as subtle nor as exciting, and featuring a very weak climax, Magnum Force proved to be a noticeable step down from Dirty Harry and ultimately one of the lesser franchise entries.

3. The Dead Pool (1988)

The final Dirty Harry movie, The Dead Pool, is famous for inspiring Frank Miller’s “Sin City” graphic novels – Miller apparently ran straight out of the movie theater after seeing The Dead Pool declaring “this is not a Dirty Harry movie!” and promised to craft his own final Dirty Harry story (that story would go on to become the “That Yellow Bastard” arc from the “Sin City” Graphic Novels).

In spite of Miller’s feelings for The Dead Pool, the film is an admirable finish to the Dirty Harry series, though it is understandably polarising for Dirty Harry fans (picture The Dead Pool as being the Last Jedi of the Dirty Harry franchise), leaning more towards a horror than a straight cop story.

Following Harry on the hunt for a serial killer on a movie set, whilst he simultaneously starts a romantic relationship with a local news reporter, the backdrop of TV studios and movie sets gives the film a unique look that hadn’t been seen before in the series.

As with The Enforcer, The Dead Pool cast a minority character in search of publicity, and while the story may not quite stick the landing on this, the character it creates, Inspector Al Quan (Evan C. Kim), is a welcomed addition to the film’s cast.

Add in some Jim Carrey, an extremely random Guns ‘n’ Roses cameo and some exhilarating action sequences (most notably one involving an RC car) and you get maybe not the best but definitely the most enjoyable Dirty Harry movie in the series; a suitable goodbye to a character who had come to define close to two decades of American action cinema.

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