Projections - Movie Reviews

The Gauntlet

Clint Eastwood's attempt at directing is a clumsy one.  The Gauntlet is laughable.  Eastwood is not the old Harry Callihan he was in Dirty Harry and Magnum Force.  This time he plays a has-been drinking cop who is considered expendable by Phoenix Police Commissioner Blakelock.

Eastwood is assigned to bring Gus Mally, Sandra Locke, from Las Vegas to Phoenix to testify at a gangster's trial.  Eastwood soon finds out that Mally is the target of just about everyone and, as her protector, so is Eastwood.  "The Gauntlet" is their trip from Vegas back to Phoenix.

Clint Eastwood films generally appeal to macho interests and can usually be enjoyed in that vein.  The Gauntlet, though not excessively violent, is so over-done it becomes a joke.

When over one hundred Nevada Troopers shoot up Mally's house to the extent that it falls to the ground there is a sense that the film is either going to be symbolic or ridiculous.  Eastwood probably is reaching for symbolism.  He sees a corrupt district attorney, a mindless police force and a sex-perverted police commissioner as part of a declining society.  In past films his appeal has been to sneer at constitutional rights which appear to protect criminals.  This time it is the official bureaucracies that are his target.

But the film fails in two ways.  First, it is not as exciting as his past films and, second, his directing skills fall far short of producing a satire of American police power.

There is, however, one bright light in The Gauntlet.  Sandra Locke as the prostitute who is witness to Commissioner Blacklock's perversion is excellent.  She plays an educated young woman who earns a living as a streetwalker.  Her expression and movement impart the attitude and vulnerability of a young woman who has toughened early in life, but who retains child-like dreams and hopes.  Though Ms. Locke is worth seeing, the film is a poor one.  Most will find it silly; others will be bored.

Gauntlet is rated R because of nudity and language.

The Gauntlet

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