I started out with Harper and I'm ending with The Drowning Pool. How appropriate. (Okay, it's really not going to work this way because I have to wait for Flixster to put up Pocket Money, but they're pretty good at that.) Drowning Pool has Paul Newman revisit his titular character from Harper investigating something. I forget because the initial reason he's there isn't important.
Like Harper, the detective story is actually pretty light and it really is more about the ride than solving this superficial puzzle. I can't really complain about this movie again because it really is just a light-hearted romp. Lew Harper isn't so much of a great detective (although the movie paints him to be a genius) as he is a guy who gets lucky when it comes to solving crime. There's the same old character, but some of the emotional stuff is really gone. Lew had to deal with losing his wife in Harper, but has a distant relationship to Joanne Woodward's character, which really fails to get into any depth. For a while, I was wondering if Joanne Woodward was playing Janet Leigh's character until we find out about her fifteen year old daughter.
What I will say that The Drowning Pool offers over Harper is some very cool visuals. The title scene is a very interesting one where things don't work out exactly as they are supposed to. But that's really about it. I mean, the ending of Harper really is this personal, dynamite scene. Unfortunately, that moment is never really explained in Drowning Pool. I guess we don't need it explained because Harper is back in this one.
As much as this is a sequel, it really isn't. Yes, Paul Newman is still playing the same character, but this character is coming down the track ten years later. He doesn't have any of the problems he had in the first one. The first movie doesn't even come into play. Very much like James Bond, you don't need to see them in order (outside of On Her Majesty's Secret Service). Yeah, it's a good time, but not a memorable one again. Newman still brings his charm to the screen and, at times, that's all you can really ask for out of this film.