Clint Eastwood: 20 Film Collection Blu-ray Review
Whenever I jump into a Blu-ray box set, the first question I ask is “is this a complete set”? Then I ask “does this set make sense”? For example, the giant Harry Potter box set that has all 8 films is not only complete, but it makes perfect sense because if you buy it, you won’t have to buy another Harry Potter movie ever again. So with that logic in mind, I’m not sure I understand the purpose of Warner Bros. latest Clint Eastwood box set, CLINT EASTWOOD: 20 FILM COLLECTION. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why films were included in the set and it’s very incomplete. You have LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, but you don’t have that film’s companion piece, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS. You only have three of the 5 Dirty Harry films and not even the first three. And we get EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE, but not it sequel, ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN. A different studio owns The Man With No Name trilogy and IN THE LINE OF FIRE, so their exclusion makes perfect sense, but Warner Bros. owns a lot of other Clint Eastwood films that didn’t make the set: BLOOD WORK, ABSOLUTE POWER, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, THE ROOKIE, WHITE HUNTER BLACK HEART and those are just the ones made after 1990. The point, obviously, is that this set is just a random collection of some of Clint Eastwood’s films, some of which he starred in and some of which he directed. In truth, he only appears in 15 of the 20 films.
DIRTY HARRY (7/10): This is actually a really good film. The sequels make Dirty Harry kind of a joke, but his first appearance on the big screen is surprisingly great. Not only is Dirty Harry a great character, but there’s a really good film in here as well.
Every Which Way But Loose (4/10): Sometimes the true test of an actor’s ability is when he’s put in a movie that’s absolutely terrible and it still kind of works. Such is the case with Clint Eastwood and EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE. The most surprising thing about this is that it spawned a sequel.
Firefox (5/10): This film has its moments, but it’s severely dated, making it hard to get involved with if you’re watching it for the first time in 2013. Clint Eastwood is great, but the complexity of his character seemed unnecessary and I couldn’t shake the feeling that he seemed out of place.
Heartbreak Ridge (6/10): All drill sergeant movies have one thing in common; the scenes with the training are great and everything after disappoints. Such is the case with HEARTBREAK RIDGE, which features Clint Eastwood at his toughest while spouting some great lines.
J. Edgar (6/10): If there’s a misstep from modern day Clint Eastwood, it probably comes in the form of J. EDGAR. With Leonardo DiCaprio playing one of the most fascinating historical figures ever, the film should have been a rousing success. But shoddy makeup and a lack of focus prevented this from ever reaching its potential.
Letters from Iwo Jima (5/10): Although LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA is beautifully and meticulously executed, it’s just not very entertaining. I felt at times I was watching a documentary and not a movie since there were no characters to get behind or personal stories to wrap you in.
Magnum Force (4/10): After the success of DIRTY HARRY, came the first sequel, MAGNUM FORCE. This is a giant letdown, especially when compared to the first. They squandered an opportunity for a mystery by telling us who the killer was early on, making the whole thing feel like an 80’s cop TV show.
Million Dollar Baby (8/10): A fine film by any measure, MILLION DOLLAR BABY is one that will tug at the heartstrings, thanks to great performances from Clint Eastwood and star Hillary Swank. The script is written with a little too much sap for my liking, but the performances make it worthwhile.
Mystic River (9/10): Although UNFORGIVEN is Clint Eastwood’s best overall film, MYSTIC RIVER might be his best job as a director. The film has a slow, almost hypnotic beat to it, but the greatness of the film can be found in the performances, proving that Eastwood has a knack for getting the most out of talented actors.
Pale Rider (5/10): You can’t go wrong with Clint Eastwood in a Western, but I’ve always looked at PALE RIDER as his UNFORGIVEN warm-up. He had to do this movie in order to gain the experience he’d need for UNFORGIVEN. That said, if you’ve watched The Man With No Name trilogy and UNFORGIVEN and need more cowboy Eastwood, this is not a bad choice.
Space Cowboys (5/10): SPACE COWBOYS is like THE EXPENDABLES, but with talented actors. The concept is fine and the scenes when Eastwood, Jones, Sutherland and Garner are bantering are highly enjoyable. But once they get into space, I lose interest and never felt any intensity or emotional attachment to the characters.
Sudden Impact (5/10): This is the second best Dirty Harry film, but it’s more about the girl seeking revenge than it is Dirty Harry. Clint Eastwood also directed this film, which might account for his absence on screen. Still a decent film, but can’t live up to the first.
The Gauntlet (2/10): If there’s a movie I bet Clint Eastwood wishes Warner Bros. would’ve left out of this set, it’s THE GAUNTLET. It’s an action movie that has no action and seems to go nowhere.
The Outlaw Josey Wales (7/10): I always forget that this film came out in 1976 and was also directed by Clint Eastwood. It seems so polished for its time in his career, making it even more confusing why he had so many directorial efforts in the 80’s that were unpolished. But THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES is a great Western from Eastwood and a must for any fan of the genre.
Unforgiven (10/10): This is clearly Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece. He took everything he had learned from his iconic Western roles and the talented directors he had worked with and made what might be the best Western of all time. Any collection of Clint Eastwood films has to include UNFORGIVEN and thankfully, this one does.
CLINT EASTWOOD: 20 FILM COLLECTION BLU-RAY REVIEW
All of these titles have previously been released on Blu-ray and the discs included are identical to the discs found in the original releases.
The set does include two documentaries: Eastwood Factor Documentary and Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story Documentary. My guess is that if you bought this set or are considering this set, you’re a fan of Clint Eastwood. Therefore, you’ll enjoy these two thorough and in-depth documentaries.