||Clint Eastwood plays an alcoholic, dim-witted cop, Ben Shockley, who has to escort an irate prostitute, Gus Mally (Sondra Locke), from Las Vegas to Phoenix so she can testify in a mob trial. Gus immediately warns Ben of the danger that they're in, but he doesn't believe her. He eventually figures out that his superiors want Gus dead and chose him for the job because they thought he'd fail. The two spend most of the film eluding the trigger-happy cops. The banter between Ben and Gus, who initially despise each other, is just as brutal and entertaining as the action set pieces. And when the two finally warm to each other, it's surprisingly effective. Eastwood and Locke made many films together, but THE GAUNTLET features what may be their strongest collaboration. Literal-minded critics may malign the film for its over-the-top explosive action, but it's clear that Eastwood was aware of how outrageous and preposterous the action in the film is. As Jan De Bont would later do with another wildly entertaining and implausible film involving a bus, SPEED, Eastwood here has stripped down the action movie to its bare essence. THE GAUNTLET is a fun ride.