Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Not of This Earth (1988)

This is easily the most awesome Dirty Harry movie ever!! Harry Callahan is soooo not taking any prisoners in this film. At all. This fact is quickly established in the jaw-dropping first scene, when he stumbles upon a couple necking in the park and busts them with extreme prejudice. Murderers, drug lords, teens out past does not matter to Dirty Harry!!

Not of This Earth sees everyone's favorite badass detective working undercover to bust an illegal blood doping operation. Callahan's foolproof guise is that of a “Mr. Paul Johnson”, a man suffering from a potentially deadly case of Marshmallow Blood...a disease in which one's blood becomes clogged by mini marshmallows. The blood doping ring's storefront is a doctor's office, which Callahan visits and explains his precarious medical condition. After examining the mini marshmallows under a microscope, baddie ringleader Dr. Rochelle prescribes Dirty Harry a constant supply of blood transfusions. This master stroke by Callahan results in nurse Nadine Story's moving in with “Mr. Paul Johnson” to administer the treatments, which allows Harry to investigate the illicit operation more effectively.

Dirty Harry tricks Dr. Rochelle into believing he's suffering from a terrible disease

Side Note I: Dirty Harry wears some super cool contact lenses in this film, which seem to have quite an intimidating effect on street punks. Not sure why they aren't featured in any other films of the Dirty Harry canon. They're rad.

Side Note II: The actor who portrays Dr. Rochelle is the seminal talent, Ace Mask. He really lives up to his name as he is an ace at wearing the mask of Dr. Rochelle. I truly believed he WAS a criminal doctor involved in shady dealings!! 

After getting Ms. Story situated in his home, Inspector Callahan goes to the study to consult with his partner (brilliantly played by Michael McDonald of Doobie Brothers fame). They review all phases of the case and determine Harry's next move. Once a plan is decided upon, the film again establishes Dirty Harry's no-nonsense approach to crime. A man hocking vacuum cleaners appears at Callahan's door and, suffice it to say, there's clearly a no-solicitation policy in that neighborhood!

Doobie Brother Michael McDonald turns in a masterful performance

The next phase of “Mr. Johnson's” investigation begins with Harry interrogating a cunning and deflective Dr. Rochelle. Although he learns little about the illegal blood doping operation, Dirty Harry delivers a classic warning to the punk... that time is indeed the ONLY element. In other words, it's only a matter of time before Rochelle is making license plates in the clink!

Not relevant to the plot, but Not of This Earth also showcases the genius of Inspector Harry Callahan. One evening, after collaring some prostitutes and during a transfusion treatment, Harry casually mentions to Nurse Story that he's discovered the cure for cancer!! Incredible!

As Callahan's investigation progresses, he and another SFPD detective break into Dr. Rochelle's office in an attempt to crack the case wide open. Things take a tragic turn when Harry, endeavoring to learn some truths about Rochelle's evil doings, injects a sample of the doped blood into his fellow investigator and she suffers a fatal overdose, marked by the rapid growth of peanut butter on her face and a loss of vision.

The full horror of Dr. Rochelle's crimes

After these calamitous events, Dirty Harry has had more Mr. Nice Guy!! He brutally interrogates Nurse Story, who promptly escapes, thus setting the stage for a thrilling chase sequence that puts Bullitt to shame. Just when it appears that Callahan is finally about to solve the case, there is a twist the likes of which have never been seen in cinema. Inspector Dirty Harry is so deep undercover as “Mr. Johnson” that a patrol officer actually tries to arrest him due to his brusque methods with Ms. Story. The result? Let's just say that Harry did not get his man...and that this is undoubtedly the final Dirty Harry film.

Shocking, stunning & amazing! Inspector Harry Callahan is such a good detective, he might as well be Not of This Earth!!! 

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