Taglines: Dirty Harry just learned a new game.
Fame finally catches up with Harry Callahan. His testimony against crime kingpin Lou Janero puts the mobster in prison and Callahan on the cover of San Francisco Magazine as the city’s ace crime fighter. Callahan is attacked by Janero’s men at a turnoff near the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge while driving. He knocks down one with his car and shoots the remaining men dead.
Callahan discovers he has been assigned a partner: Asian American, martial arts-skilled partner Al Quan (Evan Kim). Unimpressed, he advises Quan to get a bulletproof vest, as his partners often get killed. They are assigned to investigate the death of rock singer Johnny Squares (Jim Carrey), who was killed in his trailer outside a meatpacking plant during filming of a music video for a slasher film directed by Peter Swan (Liam Neeson).
Later, Dean Madison, Swan’s executive producer, is shot and killed during a Chinatown restaurant stickup. Harry and Quan see the holdup and rush to stop it. Harry manages to gun down four of the robbers inside the restaurant; the one who manages to escape out the front door is subdued by Quan, an expert martial artist. Harry wryly compliments Quan’s skill, accepting him as his partner in fact.
When they examine the dead producer’s belongings, they discover a list in his pocket with Harry’s and Johnny Squares’s names on it. It turns out that the dead producer and Swan are participants in a “dead pool” game, in which participants try to predict celebrity deaths, either by natural causes, old age, or as a result of working in dangerous professions. In a turn of events, another celebrity on Swan’s list, movie critic Molly Fisher, is stabbed and killed in her condominium by an intruder claiming to be Swan.
Callahan is asked to cooperate with the media, particularly reporter (and later love interest) Samantha Walker (Patricia Clarkson), to balance their interference with the investigation. Walker proposes to do an in-depth profile on Callahan for her news report, to make up for an incident earlier in the film where Harry threw and ruined Walker’s camera in an attempt to stop her crew from harassing Squares’ hysterical girlfriend.
However, Callahan wants to simply perform his job and stay out of the limelight. Days later, Callahan apologizes for his rude exit at their first dinner, and he and Samantha have a second dinner date. Afterwards, they narrowly escape being killed by Janero’s men, leading the reporter to reconsider the plight of police officers versus the public’s right to know.
Callahan drives to San Quentin, where Janero is serving his sentence. He promises a huge, chain-smoking triple murderer named Butcher Hicks a carton of cigarettes for his help in convincing Janero that if anything bad happens to Callahan, the vicious Butcher will pay him a visit. This results in Janero calling off his men, and assigning a couple as Callahan’s personal bodyguards to keep any other hoods from killing him.
The Dead Pool is a 1988 American action film directed by Buddy Van Horn, written by Steve Sharon, and starring Clint Eastwood as Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan. It is the fifth and final film in the Dirty Harry film series, set in San Francisco, California.
The story concerns the manipulation of a dead pool game by a serial killer, whose efforts are confronted by the hardened detective Callahan. It co-stars Liam Neeson, Patricia Clarkson and Jim Carrey (in his first action dramatic role), each of whom eventually went on to greater film fame. It is the only film in the series to not feature Albert Popwell, an actor who had played a different character in each of the previous four films.
At 91 minutes, it is the shortest of the five Dirty Harry film series. Like those films, The Dead Pool is notable for coining catchphrases uttered by Clint Eastwood’s gun-wielding character, one of which is:”Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one”
The Dead Pool (1988)
Directed by: Buddy Van Horn
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Liam Neeson, Patricia Clarkson, Evan C. Kim, David Hunt, Michael Currie, Michael Goodwin, Darwin Gillett, Anthony Charnota, Jim Carrey
Screenplay by: Steve Sharon
Production Design by: Edward C. Carfagno
Cinematography by: Jack N. Green
Film Editing by: Ron Spang
Set Decoration by: Thomas L. Roysden
Music by: Lalo Schifrin
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: July 13, 1988