Dirty Harry just learned a new game.
Released in 1988, The Dead Pool
is the last film in the Dirty Harry
Det. Harry Callahan is tasked to solve a string murders related to a game based on a list of celebrities that are predicted to die next: The Dead Pool. The case makes him a small celebrity too, and he becomes a target as well. To make matters worse, Harry is also hounded by the mob.
This film has the examples of:
- Actor Allusion: Harry performs a gun twirl like the Man With No Name.
- Badass Boast:
Harry: Fuck with me, buddy, I'll kick your ass so hard you'll have to unbutton your collar to shit.
- Batman Cold Open: The film opens with mob hitmen out to kill Harry.
- Big Bad: Harlan Rook, The Dead Pool Killer.
- Bottomless Magazines: Averted at the end of the film when the Big Bad takes Harry's revolver. Harry knows how many rounds are left and when the villain has fired off the last round, Harry says, "You're out of bullets. That means you're shit out of luck" before impaling him through a wall with a harpoon gun.
- Chekhov's Gun: The enormous Harpoon Gun from the film shoot.
- Continuity Nod: One of the collected headlines in Samantha's notebook about Harry reads "Scorpio Killer Captured".
- Double Standard: A female journalist blackmails Harry into going to dinner with her. Imagine what would happen if a male journalist did that to a female cop.
- Exorcist Head: Appears in the film that Swan is directing. When the effect causing it malfunctions, Squares, fed up, accuses Swan for ripping off The Exorcist.
This is not a rip-off. It's a homage
, you stupid...
- Loony Fan: Rook is an obsessed fan of Peter Swan. Out of touch from reality, he accuses Swan of stealing ideas from him and tries frame him with the Dead Pool murders.
- Man on Fire: Harry, with the help of Samantha, defuses a situation where a guy demands cameras to film him setting himself on fire.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Harlan Rook, whose surname is bird which is a part of the same family as crows and ravens.
- Pre-emptive Declaration: The film has this during the Chinatown restaurant robbery scene:
Harry Callahan: You forgot your fortune cookie.
Lead Robber: [turns] WHAT?
[Harry gives a smug grin, and pulls out a fortune]
Harry Callahan: It says, "You're shit out of luck." [shoots the lead robber]
- Callahan gets two mafia mooks to back off by asking a woman to call for an ambulance, describing the mooks and listing their potential injuries.
- Prima Donna Director: The egotistical horror film director Peter Swan.
- Reality Ensues: In a rare instance for the series, the corpses of men that Harry shoots to get out of a sticky situation are actually shown being removed after the incident.
- Rule of Three: While investigating the death of a drug-abusing rocker, Harry's partner Al Quan states his personal belief that celebrities always die in threes.
- Shout-Out The chase scene with the explosive RC car, is a shout out to The Chase Scene in Bullitt.
- Take That, Critics!: Molly Fisher, the film critic who becomes the second murder victim is based on Pauline Kael, in response to her accusing the first film of promoting "fascism." Something about this woman seems to rub directors the wrong way (probably her habit of indiscriminately throwing around the term "fascist" to describe things she doesn't like, as well as her well-earned reputation of being a proto-hipster), since she got another Take That in Willow.