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The Gauntlet
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10 from R votes
Release: 21 Dec 1977 /

The Gauntlet

Genre: Action, Thriller
Director: Clint Eastwood,
Stars: , , ,
Synopsis: A hard but mediocre cop is assigned to escort a prostitute into custody from Las Vegas to Phoenix, so that she can testify in a mob trial. But a lot of people are literally betting that they won't make it into town alive.

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Critic Reviews


A rundown cop who's always on the drink named Ben Shockley is assigned to accompany a foul-mouthed prostitute in Las Vegas to a protection program across the country in Phoenix to testify against highly placed authority figure, although first they have to get through a gauntlet of bad cops and the mob who actually want them both dead. So now the odds aren't in their favour, but Shockley is determine to do his job, no matter how big the odds are against them.

Classic Eastwood is on show here people. Although, it's not one of his greatest nor particularly original. But this reasonably familiar cop / action film delivers what it intended to do by giving us a taut little road movie across baron landscapes with a tremendous amount of brutally fast-paced shootouts and grand chase scenes. I mean a lot! To sum it up, shootouts, shootouts and even more shootouts. Watch things go boom with a lot going on at such a furious pace! What more could you want?

So you ask, why is this nothing out of the ordinary? Because this kind of thing wasn't particularly new within this era of films. There were definite shades of Dirty Harry; Eastwood's character Shockley was the exact opposite to Harry though. The one thing you'll notice is that there is no real excuse or depth behind the plot, but to stage one chaotic and stretched out shootout after another. Sometimes they feel like they go on forever! Nonetheless, they might be far-fetched and fail logic, but they're rather well set-up by director Eastwood. Giving us a sudden burst around each corner and because of that there's hardly a mundane moment… uh, maybe Eastwood did overkill certain shootouts, but it did get the blood pumping! So, when the "exaggerated" climax hits the screen - at least the film was consistent in that aspect.

The performances were top-notch, with Eastwood's persona making any film his in watchable. He gives a stellar performance. Sondra Locke as Gus Mally was perfect. The chemistry between the leads was outstanding. The scathing and rough dialogue amongst them was a treat with great use of sarcasm and offbeat humour. The biting conversations truly built on the paranoia at hand with many top one-liners. This gives the film a buddy type of feel. Other key factors are the soothing blues soundtrack, well established camera shots that capture a beautiful landscape, but also the panic of the situation they face. While, there might be underlining themes running throughout the plot, I just didn't read too much into it.

Just leave your brain at the door and enjoy the total chaos and destruction that follows with your screen being sprayed with bullets! Definitely recommended for fans of Eastwood and gritty action films.

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