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Magnum Force (1973)

Action & Adventure movie directed by Ted Post

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"Harry, those new cops down the hall have been dying to meet you!"

  • Jan 9, 2011
Rating:
+4

After a pretty cut and dry ending to the original Dirty Harry, fans were surprised to see this sequel pop up a couple of years later and the ending for the first movie being that Harry had lost his faith in law enforcement.  In this movie, the dark nights and mood were lightened up over the original and the foes were cops doing something that you'd almost think Dirty Harry would appreciate.  Almost.  After the opening shot of Dirty Harry's hand holding his trusty Magnum .44 model 29 against a red background, a shot that the video game Lethal Enforcers would take years later- and playing an opening tune that I still can't decide as being really awesome or annoying, the movie begins. 

This is a John Milius story and the tone is set up right away.  A crooked mobster is being set free cause of a technicality in court and got off scot free.  The public is outraged and so is one cop and he finds the mobster and guns him and his party down.

When I first saw the movie, I wasn't too surprised with what I saw.  I knew that there were 5 Dirty Harry movies and in ONE of those movies there would have to be a foe that is a sort of antithisis to Harry's ideals in law enforcement.

The cast was nice and cast well.  I don't remember any one performance that stood out and made me take extra special notice but none of the actors were bad either.

The story is put together nicely and unfolds well.  I would have liked to see more fingers pointed at Harry, you know the cop who likes to bend the rules and shoot bad guys with a magnum and plays loose with civil rights?  Well that's who are villains are here.  Can Harry pass judgement on them for doing something that he would probably want to do?  Simply, Harry even sums it up in a scene by saying that "It's our only system and someone needs to come along with a better idea.  Until then I'll follow the rules."  A little more discussion on this topic would have been welcome to flesh out Harry's ideals and motives.  The popular mind is that Harry would shoot anyone who moves who commits a crime, but clearly that isn't quite the case.

The pros are that as far as the story goes, it is an important piece of Dirty Harry's lore.  The cowboy cops who take justice into they're own hands.  Young hot shots who are good shots with big guns and take out untouchable criminal scum.  How can Harry fight back against them?  Any downside is as I said going to come into play with only saving some moments towards the end of the film for discussion on the subject of Harry's ideals and those of his enemies.  Yeah it got a quick discussion but it felt like an after thought

Fans of the Dirty Harry movies will like it and anyone else out there who likes Eastwood's work will find something to enjoy also.  Out of all the Dirty Harry movies, this is one of the better ones but it's food for thought is left behind like parsley at the snack bar at the airport Harry visits.

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January 09, 2011
wasn't this the one with David Soul and his .357 (or was that THE ENFORCER)? yeah, I need to watch this one again.
January 09, 2011
Not sure. I know Tim Matheson is in it though. I don't remember any Magnums in The Enforcer that weren't Harry's.
January 09, 2011
Yeah, I am a bit confused. I need to re-watch these movies.
 
January 09, 2011
Been to long since I watched these, great review.
 
1
More Magnum Force (1973) reviews
Quick Tip by . January 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Dirty Harry is back and battling a group of cowboy cops brandishing magnums and taking out untouchable criminals. The dilemmas that the movie provide Harry get glossed over and could have led to some good arguments about the system.
review by . January 05, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Magnum Force (1973) is the first sequel to the movie Dirty Harry starring Clint Eastwood. Dirty Harry, in some ways, is the apotheosis of the hard-edged cop living on the thin edge between recklessness and police brutality versus fantastic police work and intuitive detective skills. Many have tried to emulate Eastwood's panache in this type of role, but none have matched it. Eastwood's presence on film is what makes these movies worth watching.     Other than the above, Magnum …
review by . March 30, 2004
This is the second of five "Dirty Harry" films in which Eastwood stars as a San Francisco police detective. By the time the last appeared (The Dead Pool in 1988), Eastwood had aged and times had changed but Callahan's non-negotiable values and unorthodox methods had remained essentially the same. In this film, directed by Ted Post with a screenplay co-authored by directors John Milius (e.g. Conan the Barbarian) and Michael Cimino (e.g. The Deer Hunter), the essential premise is that the same legal …
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John Nelson ()
Ranked #8
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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Wiki

This first sequel toDirty Harrywas written by a couple of strong voices, writer-directors Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter) and John Milius (Farewell to the King). But that doesn't mean the film is particularly good. After Don Siegel's ferociously dark style in the first movie, Ted Post's blocky, television-ish direction inMagnum Forceis a huge letdown. The story doesn't win any prizes, either. Eastwood's San Francisco detective Harry Callahan (apparently having retrieved his badge after throwing it away at the end ofDirty Harry) takes on a vigilante squad within the city's police force. David Soul is pretty convincing as the major spokesman for these right-wing avengers. Eastwood, on the other hand, had already turned Callahan from fascinating outsider in Siegel's film to purveyor of tough-guy shtick in this one.--Tom Keogh
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Details

Director: Ted Post
Genre: Action, Adventure
DVD Release Date: November 20, 2001
Runtime: 124 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
First to Review

"Magnum Justice"
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