Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 1977
Directed by
Clint Eastwood
111 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars

The Gauntlet

The first time that Clint Eastwood airs his über-violent set-piece, in which hundreds of cops reduce a house to rubble in a relentless hail of gun-fire it’s funny in its excessiveness. The second time, in which a police car is riddled with bullets one yearns for the focussed intensity of Bonnie and Clyde (1967). The third time, in which a bus is shot to hell and back, it’s just boring.

Little more than an up-market exploitation movie The Gauntlet tells the story of a burnt-out but resolute cop, Ben Shockley (Eastwood), assigned to bring back a witness from Las Vegas to stand trial in Phoenix. What he finds out when he gets to Vegas is that the prisoner is a woman, Augustina “Gus” Mally (Sondra Locke), and that someone seriously doesn’t want them to make it back to Phoenix, Hence the title.

Originally slated to star Marlon Brando and Barbra Streisand (who somewhat bizarrely owned the rights to the script) with Walter Hill and Sam Peckinpah variously touted as possible directors in Eastwood’s hand the film is a tongue-in-cheek affair typical of his work in the 1970s, hyperbolic action aside, featuring Harry Callahan-style quips and a bit of titillation (Gus is a hooker),  This latter aspect actually provides the most appealing part of the film as she’s a college graduate and smarter than him and for most of their journey they generate an engaging odd couple dynamic which offers some degree of off-set to the brainless violence (unsurprisingly, the film was a big commercial success) and the seemingly perversely non-cathartic ending. 

FYI: The movie was Eastwood's first foray into the cop movie genre and the second of six movies he made with his real life partner, Sondra Locke who he met on the set of his previous film, The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976).




Want something different?

random vintage best worst