Clint Eastwood – Do you have any kids, Lieutenant? – The Dead Pool – 1988



Inspector Harry Callahan’s testimony against crime lord Lou Janero puts the mobster in prison. Callahan becomes famous and the target of Janero’s men as well as the news media, both of which he dislikes. After Callahan kills four hit men during an ambush, the SFPD assigns Al Quan as his partner; Callahan advises him to get a bulletproof vest, as his partners often get killed. The pair investigate the fatal heroin overdose of rock singer Johnny Squares, found in his trailer during filming of a music video directed by Peter Swan at the Port of San Francisco. Squares’ death was not a typical overdose, but actually murder.

Dean Madison, Swan’s executive producer, is killed during a Chinatown restaurant robbery. Callahan kills three of the robbers, and Quan captures the fourth. They discover a list in Madison’s pocket with Callahan and Squares’ names on it. It is revealed that Madison and Swan are participants in a “dead pool” game, in which participants predict celebrity deaths in the Bay area: whether by accident, violence, or natural causes. Movie critic Molly Fisher, also on Swan’s list, is soon murdered by an intruder claiming to be Swan — causing panic among the surviving celebrities, and making Swan a suspect.

After Callahan destroys a television station’s camera, he must cooperate with reporter Samantha Walker to avoid a lawsuit; if he agrees to a profile of his controversial career, the suit will be dropped. Callahan sees this as a ploy to exploit the danger he is in for its ratings value. Yet after they survive another attack by Janero’s men, the incident and her own unwillingness to be the subject of news coverage cause Walker to reconsider the dangers police officers face in juxtaposition with the public’s right to know. Meanwhile, at San Quentin State Prison, Callahan uses triple murderer Butcher Hicks to threaten the imprisoned Janero if anything happens to him. Janero ends the attacks, and assigns two men to Callahan as his personal bodyguards, though Callahan initially thinks they are after him.

A man named Gus Wheeler, claiming responsibility for the murders, douses himself in gasoline and threatens to light himself on fire in front of a large crowd. Wheeler is not the murderer, but an attention seeker desperate to appear on camera. Walker foils his plan by refusing to film him; Wheeler accidentally sets himself on fire, but fortunately Callahan saves him. Impressed by her refusal to exploit Wheeler, Callahan and Walker become close. Meanwhile, Swan tells Callahan and Quan about Harlan Rook, a deranged fan suffering from “process schizophrenia” who thinks the director stole his ideas and work; Swan has a restraining order against him. Rook kills television personality Nolan Kennard, another person on the dead pool list, using a radio-controlled car filled with C4 explosive under the victim’s vehicle. Callahan finds a toy car wheel at the crime scene, and later sees another toy car following him and Quan. Recognizing the threat, they flee through the city pursued by the toy car and Rook himself controlling it from his car. Trapped in an alleyway, Rook sends the car in armed. Callahan is able to back the car up enough so the engine takes most of the blast. Both survive, but Quan has broken ribs; Harry later finds out Quan was wearing a bulletproof vest, on the recommendation of his father to take Harry’s advice.

Rook, claiming to be Swan, calls Walker at the television station and invites her to Swan’s film studio for an interview. The police discover at Rook’s apartment torn posters of Swan’s films, large quantities of explosives, and Walker’s name replacing Callahan’s on the dead pool list. At the studio, Callahan confronts Rook holding Walker hostage. The detective surrenders his .44 Magnum revolver after Rook threatens to slit her throat. Callahan lures Rook to a pier after a chase during which Rook shoots at him with his own gun. Rook runs out of ammunition, and Callahan shoots Rook with a Svend Foyn harpoon cannon, impaling him. Callahan leaves with Walker just as the police arrive.

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