Sudden Impact (1983)

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Released 20-Nov-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio
Listing-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 112:21
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:09) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Clint Eastwood

Warner Home Video
Starring Clint Eastwood
Sondra Locke
Pat Hingle
Bradford Dillman
Paul Drake
Audrie Neenan
Jack Thibeau
Michael Currie
Albert Popwell
Mark Keyloun
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Lalo Schifrin

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This is the fourth Dirty Harry movie. The first three are: Dirty Harry (reviewed here), Magnum Force (reviewed here), and The Enforcer (reviewed here). 

    This is perhaps the weakest of the Dirty Harry movies, partly because it includes Sondra Locke. She's a painter and merry-go-round restorer who goes on a killing spree in revenge for the gang rape of her and her sister - I'm not giving much away because we get to see all of her killings. We're not spared the gang rape either - a nasty and overlong flashback. Add in a psychotic killer (or should that be a second one?), a very poor depiction of a lesbian (why would she hang around with a bunch of red-neck guys?), some unrealistic behaviour from a small-town police chief (Pat Hingle tries very hard to sell the character, but he fails), and you have all the elements you need for a weak script.

    There are some nice bits: I do like Harry's way of handling a robbery in a coffee shop (beats Pulp Fiction), and this is the movie where he utters those immortal words: "Make my day", and "You're a legend in your own mind".

    The essence of the story is that Harry is sent away from San Francisco to San Paulo to investigate the background to a homicide because he's made himself a target for assassination by giving a mob boss a heart-attack at a wedding. As you'd expect, a simple background investigation becomes something much larger with Harry involved.

    Early in the film we're introduced to Harry's new toy - a .44 magnum automatic - another hand-cannon even more intimidating that the .44 magnum revolver Harry carries on duty.

    For those of us tracking Albert Popwell, in this movie he's Horace, a colleague of Harry's, one of the ones who likes Harry. He even gives Harry a dog.

    Even a weakly-scripted Dirty Harry movie is worth seeing. I have to suggest you get the others first, because they're better films, but this one is not a complete waste of time.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is sharp and clear. Shadow detail is limited, especially in low light, resulting in quite a lot of plain black. Night-time scenes look like they came from the first season of Buffy, with a mostly black shot punctuated with a few visible elements. Daytime scenes are nicely detailed, though. There's no low level noise.

    Colour, especially in daylight, is solid and well-saturated; there is no oversaturation or colour bleed to be seen.

    There is a whole heap of shimmer, which isn't helped by the clothing choices - lots of plaid and tweedy fabrics. And there's aliasing in almost every shot: car grilles and door frames, window treatments, even road markings; it is omnipresent, but never hugely objectionable. There are one or two tiny film artefacts, but they're completely negligible. 

    The subtitles are easy to read, in white with a black border. They are rendered with a simple sans-serif font, located over the bottom of the picture (rather than under it). They are definitely subtitles, rather than captions, because they don't cover the sound effects.

    The disc is single-sided and dual-layered, formatted as RSDL. The layer change at 57:09 is placed at a scene change, and is not noticeable on some players. On others it is barely noticeable. Nice work, but not the best I've ever seen. I do like the way that they're getting better and better at hiding the layer change, though.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Every Dirty Harry movie is the same; we get three soundtracks: English, French, and Italian. The English soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384 kbps - that's what I listened to. The other two soundtracks are Dolby Digital mono at 192 kbps.

    The dialogue is clear and easily understood. There are no visible audio sync problems.

    The score is by Lalo Schifrin. After trying Jerry Fielding for The Enforcer they went back to Schifrin again. It means that the soundtrack is what we expect for a Dirty Harry movie.

    The surrounds are used well for gunfire, but that's about all the use they get. The subwoofer is not noticeable. Considering that the original soundtrack was mono, that's not too bad.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    It seems like each movie in the series gets fewer extras.


    The menus are static, with sound over the main menu. It is a plain photo, but it's functional. They've done one slightly unusual thing - the menu is arranged horizontally, with the choices as vertical bars.

Cast and Crew

    A one-page list of the main players.

Trailer (1:24)

    A trailer presented in anamorphic 2.35:1. Emphasises "Go ahead, make my day". 

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie has not been previously released in R1; it is being released as part of the Dirty Harry box set, on 20 November 2001. The features sound like they will be the same.


    Sudden Impact is the weakest Dirty Harry movie, presented on a reasonable DVD with quite a bit of aliasing and shimmer.

    The video quality is very good, except for the aliasing and shimmer.

    The audio quality is good, but doesn't really use the 5.1 mix. The original soundtrack was mono.

    The extras are basic.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, November 03, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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