Considered by many to be one of Eastwood's few failures, The Gauntlet has a lot to offer despite its flaws. Like the majority of films Eastwood directed in the 70's and 80's, it has an offbeat, original quality to it, which is rare for mainstream Hollywood films, especially ones with a star of Eastwood's caliber. In one sense, it's Eastwood's version of a blockbuster action-movie, filtered through his penchant for quirky storytelling and stories focusing on strong-willed, independent individuals and their battle against corrupt bureaucracies. But don't let all that fool you into thinking this is high-brow stuff. Not at all. The Gauntlet is mainly Eastwood having fun tinkering with the action/chase movie formula. And to some extent it works. Where it doesn't wholly work is in the credibility department. This is the kind of plot that requires Costco-sized doses of suspension of disbelief. But, considering the film's over-the-top tone and a comic-book inspired poster by Frank Frazetta featuring a muscled Eastwood, what did you expect? An entertaining misfire from a master filmmaker.
Text © Ahmed Khalifa. 2015