Friday, November 25, 2011

The Eiger Sanction (1975)

Director: Clint Eastwood

Starring: Clint Eastwood, George Kennedy, Vonetta McGee, Jack Cassidy, Heidi Bruhl, Thayer David, Reiner Schone, Michael Grimm, Jean-Pierre Bernard, Brenda Venus

More info: IMDb

Tagline: HIS LIFELINE - held by the assassin he hunted.

Plot: An classical art professor and collector, who doubles as a professional assassin, is coerced out of retirement to avenge the murder of an old friend.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Sure.

I dig Clint. He's cool but he's made some turkeys. This is not one of them although it has moments of WTF. All of the rock climbing footage, and I mean ALL, is some of the finest you'll find in a movie. Period. Eastwood does all of his own stunts and it's impressive as hell.

Eastwood plays an art professor/collector...I'll wait until you stop laughing...which is as believable as Burt Reynolds playing a 12th century German king. But OK, you can overlook that. The man he used to work for and is pulling him back out of assassin retirement, Dragon, is utterly ridiculous and plays like a really bad (and I mean REALLY bad) James Bond villain. He's an albino who can't stand light or cold and needs regular blood transfusions. Dumb. Just. Dumb.

Then there's some of the dialogue. Again, anything having to do with rock climbing is outstanding; it's when he's not climbing mountains that most of the problems lie.

"Sometimes people do things they never thought they'd do rape, for instance."

That doesn't even make sense why he would say that to a woman who is giving herself to him. I'm confused. There's other weird things like that. When he's not climbing mountains, Eastwood is basically playing Harry Callahan in DIRTY HARRY (1971) with all of the clinching teeth, squinty eyes and one liners that made that character famous.

I know what you're thinking...did he hammer in 5 pitons or 6 pitons.

John Williams delivers a fine score, too. Though this film has its faults, it's loaded with amazing scenery and some of the finest rock climbing footage you'll see in a major motion picture. With Eastwood doing his usual schtick, he really excels with the action and the lengths he'd go doing his own stunts, THE EIGER SANCTION is a must-see for fans of Eastwood and of action thrillers.

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