Steve Martin's homage to the 1940s and 50s is a one-joke movie that wears thin after 45 minutes (in which Martin inserts himself into classic film noirs, often in drag, where he turns the melodrama into comedy). Fortunately, the laughs are plentiful enough throughout to make Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid worthwhile both as an homage to the greats of the past and as a strictly Martinesque comedy. The biggest shock: Rachel Ward steals the show as the straight guy to Martin's goofball, as a wealthy damsel who can suck the bullet out of a wound -- a trick she learned "at camp."
Well punk, do ya feel lucky? Dirty Harry Callahan blasted onto the San Francisco scene with a .44 Magnum and an attitude that launched a thousand imitators. Eastwood's most memorable character we get, a super-fascinating story maybe not so much. But the chase for murder and ransom-man Scorpio is at least a reasonably good one. The Dirty Harry films declined over the years, but the original's one worth seeking out.