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October 31, 2014, 06:26:54 AM
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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  Death Wish series vs The Dirty Harry series « previous next »
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Author Topic: Death Wish series vs The Dirty Harry series  (Read 260 times)
Lyedecker
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« on: May 13, 2014, 06:13:07 PM »

I absolutely love both of these film series. Vigilante/Revenge makes for fun, compelling action drama. I was curious which series people prefer. I find this to be an incredibly difficult question. At first glance, the characters of Paul Kersey and Harry Callahan may seem quite alike, but when you think about it, they're not really. In many ways I think Paul is more dimensional and deep (at least in the first DW film). He almost does a complete 180 from beginning to end. The same could be argued about Harry, but I don't see him changing all that much in the first DH film. True, by the end he has tossed his badge (and presumably his career) aside, having realized the futility of the modern justice system, but it seems to me that he already pretty much knew this throughout the film. Kersey, on the other hand, transforms from a bleeding heart liberal to a reactionary vigilant totally disillusioned with the system.

Anyway, I could go on about these movies all day. Just looking at the first films in each series, I think Dirty Harry wins in terms of style and "cool", but Death Wish wins in terms of message and atmosphere (although Dirty Harry is pretty damned atmospheric at points). Thus I like them equally, but for different reasons--each gets 4 out of 4.

The sequels are another thing altogether.

thoughts on these series similarities and differences?
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Archivist
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2014, 10:43:26 PM »

Despite watching many sequels, I don't think I ever saw the original Death Wish.  Although I seem to remember the Mad Magazine parody, which may have been called 'Death Fish'.  I very much enjoyed the sequels, particularly III, IV and V.  They were just plain joyful shoot 'em dead movies.

As for Dirty Harry, I cannot say that I ever watched them in detail, not in recent memory.  Thanks for the prompt, I'll have to go back and look at them again.
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Lyedecker
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2014, 04:50:00 PM »

Despite watching many sequels, I don't think I ever saw the original Death Wish.  Although I seem to remember the Mad Magazine parody, which may have been called 'Death Fish'.  I very much enjoyed the sequels, particularly III, IV and V.  They were just plain joyful shoot 'em dead movies.

As for Dirty Harry, I cannot say that I ever watched them in detail, not in recent memory.  Thanks for the prompt, I'll have to go back and look at them again.

I actually like death Wish III more than the original. Objectively speaking, I can admit the first Death Wish is probably better, but the third is just a really fun film. It really takes the series into almost comic book territory, but it's refreshing after Death Wish II, which is overall a bummer to watch.

Death Wish 4 feels a little bit like a late 80's after school special on the dangers of drugs with a ton of violence and cursing thrown in. It's a decent film but it tries just a little to hard to deliver a moral message and comes off as preachy propaganda. Death Wish V--the less said about that film, the better.

My favorite Dirty Harry other than the original is probably Sudden Impact, although they all have their merits. Dead Pool is probably the weakest of the series.
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zombie #1
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Oookaay...


« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2014, 03:38:38 PM »

can't claim to be an expert on either but it has to be Dirty Harry all the way for me... I still watch them when they come on telly. first 2 are the best IMO

for some reason I have a hard time watching the Death Wish films, they don't grip me like the Harry ones and I lose interest quite quickly. maybe I'll give them another bash at some point.

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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2014, 09:47:20 PM »

I think the difference between Harry Callahan and Paul Kersey is this:

As a police Callahan was trained how to fight and to handle certain situations, knowing full well the dangers an officer faces, and was already battle hardened thru years of experience.

On the other hand, Kersey's world changed virtually overnight, and he was forced to go out of his way to become something he never expected, and had to hone his craft as he went along and learn from his mistakes, knowing full well his first mistake might be his last (which is something both characters faced.)
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Lyedecker
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2014, 10:16:24 AM »

I think the difference between Harry Callahan and Paul Kersey is this:

As a police Callahan was trained how to fight and to handle certain situations, knowing full well the dangers an officer faces, and was already battle hardened thru years of experience.

On the other hand, Kersey's world changed virtually overnight, and he was forced to go out of his way to become something he never expected, and had to hone his craft as he went along and learn from his mistakes, knowing full well his first mistake might be his last (which is something both characters faced.)

In that respect, I think the Kersey character always had a more interesting story arc through the series. Callahan never really grows as a person.
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Umaril Has Returned
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2014, 08:35:29 AM »

I think the difference between Harry Callahan and Paul Kersey is this:

As a police Callahan was trained how to fight and to handle certain situations, knowing full well the dangers an officer faces, and was already battle hardened thru years of experience.

On the other hand, Kersey's world changed virtually overnight, and he was forced to go out of his way to become something he never expected, and had to hone his craft as he went along and learn from his mistakes, knowing full well his first mistake might be his last (which is something both characters faced.)

In that respect, I think the Kersey character always had a more interesting story arc through the series. Callahan never really grows as a person.

Another good point to go on, well said  Cheers
Callahan never grows because he's a constant-he's been there, done that and lived to tell about it.  

Then you have Kersey, who grew a little bit as he went along, getting more confident in his skills until he knew what he could do, and he also managed to maintain his humanity with others when not in vigilante mode, as where Callahan was always the straight-laced hard-ass who you could take at face value no matter what.
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