Filmsite Movie Review
Sudden Impact (1983)
Pages: (1) (2)
Plot Synopsis (continued)

Callahan's Pursuit of Suspects Involved in the Serial-Killer Case in San Paulo:

One evening at a local bar, Harry encountered the crude-talking, repulsive butch-lesbian Ray Parkins, who was betting during a game of darts with some of her male friends, one of whom was named Kruger. She was calling her compatriots names such as "dickhead" and "twat-lips," and issuing lewd commands such as: "Fork over the bucks before I kick your nuts up into your nose!", and "Suck my ass with a straw!" When Ray attempted to solicit a free drink from Harry, he identified himself as a police officer interested in information about the first murder victim - George Wilburn (who "lost his balls" and "got killed"). Ray and her raucous friends spitefully cackled at Harry before he left in disgust.

Vigilante Justice: The Murder of Kruger

The next day, after Jennifer had loaded her pistol with bullets the night before, she followed Kruger in his truck from the town's wharf area (Stagnaro's Bros.) to the secluded Buckman Cove (actually, Natural Bridges State Beach on W. Cliff Dr.) where he was fishing and smoking a joint. He momentarily remembered who she was (during a few brief flashbacks) when she mentioned: "My sister and I will never forget. One night, long ago, under the boardwalk, Remember?" before she heartlessly shot him in the groin and forehead. For the second time and with the same modus operandi, she had vengefully assassinated another gang member for his participation in the decades-old rape. One by one in town, she was stalking, executing (and castrating) the males who had raped her and her sister. The female serial killer had also chosen the path of vigilante-justice, similar to Callahan's approach.

Callahan's Problems with Police Chief Jannings:

When Callahan returned to his motel room, Meathead alerted him to the presence of another Threlkis-summoned hit-man. Harry shot him dead in the hallway. Afterwards, he visited the police station, where he noticed a number of framed photographs on the wall. One was a photograph of the Police Chief with his graduating son Alby. As he was perusing another group photo, Officer Bennett informed him that a murder victim had been found at the beach, with gunshot wounds to the head and genitals. He also indicated that one familiar face in the photo belonged to "dyke" Ray Parkins, a local. [Later, Callahan also identified Kruger in the photo.] At the crime site, Chief Jannings criticized Callahan ("Mr. Big-City Inspector") for being a magnet for trouble:

"Everywhere you go, something gets smashed or somebody gets killed and I don't like it. And I don't like you. So you just finish your research and get out of my town."

In the town's hardware store, Ray Parkins informed Tyrone about the two recent murders (Wilburn and Kruger): "Kruger's dead. They found him this morning. He had his balls splattered all over the front of his pants...Same thing happened to Wilburn up in San Francisco." She suspected that the serial-killer had returned ("I think she's come back"), and warned that it was the female that had been raped 10 years earlier by the gang ("You dipped your wick just like the rest"), but Tyrone was not interested and ordered her from the store. Ray decided to call Mick and summon him to San Paulo from Las Vegas. She interrupted him while he was having abusive sex with a busty prostitute (Lisa London, credited as a "young hooker"), and warned him about the situation in town.

Later, after requesting Officer Bennett to identify all the individuals (and their addresses and places of work) in the group photo, Callahan visited Stagnaro's open fish market on the wharf to question the widowed Mrs. Kruger (Nancy Parsons) about the two recent murders. She refused to talk and expressed her distaste for her late husband: "That lousy son of a bitch." Callahan was forced to briefly brawl with her two uncooperative brothers: Eddie (Russ McCubbin) and Carl (Robert Sutton), and then ordered out of the market by a rifle-wielding Mrs. Kruger. He promptly departed but added: "I'll come back - when you're less bereaved."

Getting Acquainted with Jennifer:

That same evening, he spotted Jennifer sitting in an open-air restaurant. She apologized for her earlier rude comments, and they politely became reacquainted - she formally introduced herself, and surmised correctly that he was a police officer: "You're either a cop or a public enemy number one," after witnessing his single-handed take-down of the bank robber in town. She concurred with own philosophy of current failed law enforcement: "This is the age of lapsed responsibilities and defeated justice. Today, an 'eye for an eye' means 'Only if you're caught.' And even then, it's an indefinite postponement and 'let's settle out of court.'" She became a bit worried when he identified himself, not as a local officer, but as a San Francisco PD Homicide detective who was gathering information on a series of vengeful murders: (Harry: "The oldest motivation known to mankind"). They soon parted after he stated that revenge could not be condoned or approved if the law was broken.

Vigilante Justice: The Murder of Tyrone

The next day, Jennifer drove by Tyrone's house and confronted him through a side garage door after closing the main door. When she drew a gun on him, he tried to reason with her and convince her to forgive him for his youthful indiscretion 10 years earlier:

Now look, you've got to understand something. That was a long time ago. It was 10 years ago. I was just a kid. I didn't mean anything by it. I know it was wrong but I was drunk. I didn't even know what I was doing! I'm a businessman now. I'm making money. I can give you some of it. You need money, right? Please. It wasn't my fault. The others made me do it. Don't make me beg. It wasn't that bad, was it? Not bad enough to kill me for. People sell it every day. They give it away. Christ, don't. Please. Don't shoot me.

After realizing that she wouldn't listen to reason, he was reached for his own gun, but he was shot twice (in the groin and in the head) - he became her 3rd murder victim.

Meanwhile, Callahan received a ballistics-report from San Francisco, confirming that the same hand-gun was used for the Milburn and Kruger killings. At the same time, Mick arrived in town, spoke to Ray, and came to the same conclusion - that their rape-victim was targeting gang members: "So our little college honey is collecting dues, huh?" Mick's solution was to "snuff her" after waiting for her to approach and attack them.

At the Tyrone murder-crime scene that evening after he had discovered the body, Callahan again criticized Chief Jannings for his unproductive search for the "maniac" killer ("I want to know why you are dragging your ass in this investigation"). Inexplicably, Jannings defended his department's work:

Jannings: Now, we're doing the best we can.
Callahan: Maybe that's not good enough.
Jannings: Callahan, this is not, repeat, not your jurisdiction, so you stay out of it. I'm warning you.

Vigilante Justice: The Murder of Ray Parkins

In the afternoon, Ray invited Jennifer over to her house to attend a party, as a ploy to eliminate her. That same evening, Callahan drove over to Ray's house just as Jennifer had parked her car and was peering through a window. He called into Officer Bennett to ID the parked car's license plate (1-Adam-Queen-Ida-1-7-5) as Jennifer hid outside and watched Callahan enter. To his surprise, he found Mick and Ray brawling with each other. Mick turned his attention toward Callahan and the two engaged in a fist-fight. Callahan socked Ray and bloodied her face before Mick was arrested and taken "downtown" to answer some questions. Once Callahan left with Mick, Jennifer entered with her gun pointed at Ray, who was non-chalantly drinking from a beer can. Ray rudely confronted her with an insult:

So, the bitch is here. Tell me. How's your slut sister?

Jennifer replied by viciously shooting her point-blank in the heart, and then in the forehead - this killing marked her 4th victim. She also shot at a mirror reflecting her image - symbolically unable to see a clear and unblemished view of herself. Meanwhile, at the police station, Mick was being booked. Later that night, Callahan discovered Jennifer walking by herself along the beach and offered her a ride home. After she invited him into her home for a strong drink, he noticed Jennifer's smashed mirror (that she had stabbed earlier) and one of her unusually-morbid paintings. When she asked: "Do you want to be alone tonight, Callahan? Neither do I," he realized she was inviting him to make love.

Mick, Eddie and Carl's Assault on Callahan:

In the meantime, Mrs. Kruger's two brothers Eddie and Carl had bailed Mick out of jail and he was released. After having sex (off-screen) and while Jennifer was sleeping, Callahan crept out of her bed to leave, and noticed that her car's license plate matched the one parked outside Ray's home. Also that night, Horace arrived at Callahan's motel to surprise him and party together. As he entered his friend's hotel room, the deadly threesome of Mick, Eddie, and Carl were awaiting his arrival. Mick issued a racial slur ("Kiss your ass good-bye, Sambo"), pulled out his switchblade, and then slit Horace's throat before stealing his shotgun.

Callahan returned to Ray's house where he found her bullet-riddled body on the floor. He reported the murder to Bennett ("She's gettin' ripe"), and was surprised to learn that Mick had been set free: "Kruger's brother-in-law picked him up less than an hour ago." He briefly visited Mrs. Kruger on the wharf who refused to speak to him.

In the wharf's parking lot, Callahan was punched in the face and called a "hotshot cop" by the threesome, who then ganged up and brutally beat him and then threw him off the pier into the water.

Vigilante Justice: The Murder of Officer Jannings

Meanwhile, Jennifer was again in pursuit of one of the last of her attackers - she drove to the Jannings home and entered the darkened living room where she confronted the wheelchair-bound Alby. As she was about to aim her gun at him and blast him, Chief of Police Jannings interrupted and ordered her to drop her gun. He explained to her that his self-hating, guilt-ridden only son had attempted suicide after the rape incident. He had attempted to kill himself by driving into a retaining wall to end his miserable life, and ended up becoming catatonic - just like Jennifer's sister.

He couldn't live with it. The other vermin didn't care. But the guilt ate at his gut like an acid. He actually wanted you to come back. He used to sit at nights, waiting, praying that you'd come back. One night he couldn't wait any longer. He just got in his car, he drove off, smashed himself into a retaining wall. Now you're here and he doesn't even know it.

His short impassioned speech convinced Jennifer to spare Alby. As a corrupt but law-abiding officer, however, Jannings also confessed to being complicit in protecting his own reputation and all of the culprits (including the "other vermin" and his own son) by 'fixing' things:

It's my fault. I should have let him be punished then, along with the other filth. But he's my only child. His mother died giving birth to him, and we're all each other have, and I was afraid for him. I was afraid for me. You see, I was a public figure. So, I did things. I fixed it. And now I want you to just, just go. Let it end.

He ended his confession by promising to punish Mick. Suddenly, Mick (the only "one left" on Jennifer's list), Carl, and Eddie entered the house, and Mick threatened with Horace's stolen shotgun: ("Put down the piece, Lester, or I'll splatter what's left of the retard's brains all over the floor"). He then told Jennifer what he expected to do with her: "Me and the little babe are going to relive some old times." As he was abducting her, Lester Jannings reached for his gun, and Mick shot him dead. Mick explained how the killing was a "freebie" because he had used Jennifer's .38 hand-gun - to frame her for the murder.

At the same time, the bloodied and bruised Callahan pulled himself from the water, and returned to his motel room where he found Horace dead on the floor with a sliced throat. He also noticed that his bulldog Meathead was limping and injured - after being neutered by Mick (off-screen). He loaded his new and more powerful .44 Automag handgun to seek payback and pursue his attackers.

Vigilante Justice: The Murder of Mick

In the film's conclusion, Mick, Eddie, and Carl dragged Jennifer into the deserted amusement park fairground and boardwalk where she had been gang-raped a decade earlier. Mick offered his two buddies the left-overs: "If there's anything left, you boys can have a piece." Jennifer taunted Mick as he was about to "relive some old times" - in other words, to re-play the rape from 10 years earlier:

Okay, you prickless scum! You want to try it again? You think you can get it up this time? You think you can make it work this time? You want me, you filthy maggot? You take me, because this time you'll have to rape my dead body!

During a struggle, Mick slapped her repeatedly and she responded by kicking him in the groin. He continued to assault her and called her a "lousy cunt." Jennifer was able to escape from him when she fled through the deserted fairground and into the locked carousel area. She activated the spinning of the merry-go-round and then hid on the platform of the rotating amusement ride with bobbing horses. Momentarily, she escaped from her assailants but was quickly recaptured.

Callahan suddenly appeared on the boardwalk, seemingly back from the dead - silhouetted in the shadowy distance. He slowly approached to save Jennifer by displaying his long-barreled .44 Automag weapon. With multiple shots in the brief showdown shootout, he annihilated the two brothers: Eddie and Carl, but Mick was able to defend himself by holding Jennifer as his hostage-shield with a shotgun. He forced her to climb up onto the wooden scaffolding of the Giant Dipper roller coaster with him. As Callahan followed after them, he shouted out: "Let the girl go, punk!", but Mick refused to release her: "Let my baby go? I can't do that. This is my prize. Come on, cop! You know I can't do that! I can't just let her go! Then it would be just you and me!" Callahan repeated a version of his trademark phrase:

"Come on, make my day."

Jennifer punched Mick away from her, allowing Callahan a clear shot - he fired four shots at Mick, who fell backwards through the roller coaster's wooden railing and crashed through the roof-top of the spinning carousel far below. Mick met his deserved fate by being phallically-impaled on the horn of one of the wooden unicorns on the carousel.

Justice For the Vindicated Jennifer - Allowed to Go Free:

The coroner was called upon to remove the multiple bodies from the crime scene. The film concluded with Jennifer expecting to be arrested: ("What happens now?"), but then she angrily lashed out at Callahan while she complained that she had been treated unjustly:

What exactly are my rights? And where was all this concern for my rights when I was being beaten and mauled? And what about my sister's rights when she was being brutalized? There is a thing called justice. And was it justice that they should all just walk away? You'll never understand, Callahan.

However, there were questions raised by Officer Bennett about the identity of the serial-killer when Jennifer's .38 Colt Detective Special hand-gun (used for all the revenge killings) was found on Mick's body: "Detective, we found a.38 snub in his belt." Callahan compassionately took advantage of the opportunity to cover up Jennifer's vengeful crimes and pin the serial killings on Mick. He responded to young Officer Bennett by confirming that Mick was the perpetrator who had also murdered Chief Jannings: ("Run it through ballistics. I think you'll find his gun there was used in all the killings"). Thus, he was able to safeguard Jennifer from prosecution so that she could be freed ("Yeah, it's over").

The film ended with a reverse aerial shot as Callahan escorted Jennifer from the scene.

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