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4.4 out of 5 stars40
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 22 June 2008
Magnum force is the 2nd Dirty harry movie and widely regarded as the best sequel. This is true for the most part and had the film been cut by about 20 mins this would have been much better. As it is this is the longest DH film and is padded out a bit. The first half is a bit slow but the last hour really kicks into gear. Watch out for a young David soul in the role of a vigilante cop. An interesting story given harrys maverick ways and the story overall is quite strong if not a little too long as i just said.

This comes to blu-ray in a brand new remastered print and it looks good if not amazing. I have seen most of the DH films on blu ray and they get better as they go along. This isnt as sharp as "The Enforcer" but looks better than "Dirty Harry" still this is the best the film has looked or ever likely to look given it's age.

Well worth your time and investment.
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on 5 February 2002
I have to admit this film is no where near as good as Dirty Harry, but it still has the elements of comedy, action and good v evil that the first film has. Clint puts in a fine performance as the gritty cop, however I feel they should have highlighted his change of heart to retrieve his badge and become a cop again.
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on 9 February 2008
This movie was a blisteringly good follow up to the original Harry Callaghan offering, slightly derrogated at the time for having a far fetched story line, but really, it doesn't look that far fetched to me now: There's been plenty of true stories in the press of in house police management of cases that virtually amount to illegal vigilantism by uniformed police officers in both the the USA and the UK in the thirty five years since this movie was made, and it's absolutely the norm in many countries still, so really this was a fantastic fictionalised warning of the dangers of police power corrupting their own law enforcing officers. It finishes as well as it starts off, and has some superb cat and mouse scenes, with fearless cop 'Dirty Harry' pursuing these rotten apples with as much purpose as he does all the other scumbag criminals in the city who put people's lives in danger. And his realisation that this canker goes far deeper than he imagined, and his subsequent determination to get the big maggot in the middle is pure Dirty Harry, and makes the movie even more enjoyable. Terrific movie entertainment.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 January 2014
Magnum Force is directed by Ted Post and collectively written by Harry and Rita Fink, John Milius and Michael Cimino. It stars Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, Mitchell Ryan, David Soul, Felton Perry, Tim Matheson and Robert Urich. Music is by Lalo Schifrin and cinematography by Frank Stanley.

The second Dirty Harry movie finds Inspector Callahan on the trail of a vigilante group who are offing Frisco's villains.

Following in the wake of Dirty Harry was never going to be easy, Don Siegel's film was very much a trail blazer of sorts, giving the movie lovers of the world a different cop than that which was accustomed. So what to do with Magnum Force then, the inevitable sequel given Dirty Harry's popularity? The makers come up with a great idea, have Harry confront a group of vigilantes who believe in his own kill crime ethics, only they take it to the extreme.

So begins a trail of blood for Harry to follow which leads him right where we the viewers pretty much knew he was going to end up. Post is no Siegel, and although the action and all round testosterone feel that so marked out the Dirty Harry films is exciting and evident respectively, there's periods where the film meanders. The instances that serve to add more complexity to Harry's make-up is welcome, but aside from a jumping bean turn from Holbrook, the director can't get much out of the rest of the cast, as shame since there's a lot of up and coming talent and stalwarts in the mix.

Still, even with its evident problems it's a lively and entertaining sequel, one that doesn't shy away from pushing some buttons and baiting of critics who had disdain for the first film. The ending is a disappointment, though, but the journey is ultimately meaty and macho. 7/10
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on 3 June 2008
With 'Dirty Harry', filmgoers applauded Harry for bumping off known villains 'without playing by the rules', as they say. This has become a central idea behind many cop films since, with right-wing populists supporting this stance.
'Magnum Force' turns the concept around. Known villains who escape the law are again being murdered, but Harry's not involved and is mystified and disturbed by what's going on. Eastwood rivettingly conveys Harry's realisation that he's unwittingly inspired a team of motorbike traffic cops to go round committing the murders. And the moral ambiguity goes, to coin a phrase, all the way up to the top.
I don't think it's clear whether Harry objects to the murders (morally the same as what he was doing in the previous film) or the question of whether the killers risk killing the innocent alongside the guilty. Either way, the action and reflection combine to set a very effective pace in a gem of '70s paranoia.
Oh, and the motorbike chase aboard an aircraft carrier's quite fun as well.
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on 30 December 2008
With a posse of maverick traffic cops dishing out vigilante justice on the streets of San Francisco, Inspector Harry Callahan, previously not adverse to the `direct' approach, is transferred from a stakeout squad back to the Homicide division, and sets about tracking down those responsible...
Obviously conceived as a purely commercial proposition, designed to capitalise on the box-office success of the original Dirty Harry (1971), the first sequel to Don Siegel's seminal crime flick, 1973's Magnum Force, is less a plain follow-up, and more of a deconstruction and comment on both the character of .44 Magnum-packing super-cop Harry Callahan, and the perceived `fascist' attitude of the original movie. However, this doesn't alter the unfortunate fact that as an action thriller, the film is a curiously muddled and flabby affair.
With the original movie accused of `fascism' by many critics, Eastwood and his collaborators (most notably screenwriters John Milius and Michael Cimino) here set out to show the naysayers exactly what true vigilante justice is all about, and how the character of Harry Callahan could not be tarred with the same brush as the killers. Unfortunately, to do this, the filmmakers have had to `soften' the character of Callahan to such an extent that he is clearly not the same granite-faced, borderline psychopath of the first film. Working far more easily with his new black partner than he managed with the Mexican one the first time around, sufficiently recovered from the death of his wife to engage in casual sex with a female neighbour (an Asian one, at that), and enjoying a cosy dinner with the family of a co-worker, Callahan is a much less anti-social being, and a more recognisably `normal' cop. The various action scenes, too, show a much less ambivalent attitude towards Callahan's crime-fighting methods; whereas in the first film, his disturbingly sadistic `I know what you're thinking...' speech had more liberal viewers squirming in their seats, here he takes no such perverse pleasure in punishing wrong-doers. Of course, it doesn't help that the opening plane hi-jack sequence is a pale shadow of the bank robbery scene that kicked off the first film; it's a hopelessly contrived, semi-comic vignette that makes Callahan out to be a reckless cowboy who unhesitatingly opens fire on a villain in a plane packed with innocent civilians, and it's also unnecessary padding in a film that runs a swollen 124 minutes.
However, despite the somewhat mediocre direction by Ted Post (no Siegel, that's for sure) and unfocused editing (a full hour has passed before Harry even starts investigating the murders), the film is still the best of the Dirty Harry sequels by a considerable distance. Many writers have asked exactly why Callahan is back on the job after chucking his badge away at the end of the first movie, as we are given no clue; but does it matter? Nobody ever asks why 'Popeye' Doyle is still after Charnier in French Connection II, despite the caption at the end of the first film telling us he was `transferred out of narcotics and reassigned'.
True, the plot doesn't always make a great deal of sense (if the Albert Popwell character is `just a pimp' as the Chief of Detectives says, then why did the vigilantes even bother wiping him out? Everyone else they execute are big-league organised crime figures), but it's a decent 1970s cop movie; with a more focused director than Post, it could have equalled the original. And is that an unbilled James Woods as the getaway driver in the convenience store hold-up scene?
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on 4 February 2015
Once the matrix or the mould is in place, the formula constructed in the first film works all by itself but you have to vary the dressing of the composed salad bowl to make it attractive to the people.

In this second film the desire for the good cops to carry out their mission with as much power force as possible that Dirty Harry represents is realized by a secret police “sect” or “clan” that systematically kills everyone who is a criminal or an associate of such criminals knowing that justice would never manage to have them convicted and sentenced to anything. In front of that impotence, only one solution: let some secret police society take over.

The fun then is to see how Dirty Harry is going to cope with that group who he admires because of their shooting skills, who he must admire because they are cleaning up the criminal plate of San Francisco and yet he can only disapprove because they do not kill in action but they kill as vigilantes and hit men, which is cowardly since the targets have no say: they do not know anything is coming.

Then it is Dirty Harry versus that clan or clique and he has to eliminate them all. For once his partner will not be killed though he will be so badly treated and shot that he will decide that kind of job is not for him, which Dirty Harry will support whole-heartedly. In the end Dirty Harry will manage to clean up the police, which is admirable in itself since that police has to be rotten to the core to be that inefficient, not to say incompetent.

The action is brilliant though slightly too slow for present time taste. The special effects are rather primitive but the stunts are definitely OK.

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One thing you can immediately tell about Dirty Harry Callahan is that he isn't afraid to ignore the rules if lives are on the line -- but he's no dirty cop.

And "Magnum Force" plants everybody's anti-hero cop squarely between two forces -- the broken system, and a secret cabal of dirty cops taking justice into their own hands. This movie is much more "Hollywoodish" than the first one, but it also tackles some difficult ethical issues along the way. And as usual, Clint Eastwood is friggin' awesome.

As the movie opens, a mobster is acquitted on a technicality, even though everyone knows he's guilty. On his way home, an SFPD traffic officer stops him -- and then kills everyone in his car. Callahan (Eastwood) can't really do anything about this, because he's been loaned out to stakeouts because he's just so darn reckless. But more and more criminals keep turning up dead, so they put "Dirty" Harry back on homicide.

Unfortunately, Harry has deduced that a cop is responsible for the killings, and that someone is taking the law into their own hands -- which is a problem area, since he himself hates "the system" and its flaws. But the truth is much worse: a secret vigilante squad has formed within the SFPD, and if you're not with them, you're against them. Callahan is their next target.

One of the most likable qualities about Dirty Harry is that he's a maverick who values justice above the strict letter of law. So it's intriguing to see him go up against extremists who are taking the law into their own hands -- he's dancing between "the system" that he hates, and the self-determined "justice" that he also hates. No easy answers.

That means this all hits a little too close to home for Callahan, and Clint Eastwood gives a subtle, impassioned performance as we see Harry contemplating the rottenness at the police force's heart. But we can see the differences between him and the death squad -- they don't care who they hurt to obtain their objective, but the safety of the innocent is what drives him to step outside the box.

Compared to the first movie, "Magnum Force" is far less grittily realistic, and more Hollywoody -- bombs in mailboxes, car chases and bad guys waiting silently in parking garages. But it's still a pretty tight story, with plenty of nudity and bloody violence spattered across it, as well as some lighter moments (Harry dealing with hijackers by impersonating a pilot).

But I was a little offput by the fact that suddenly women are desperate to shag Dirty Harry. There's a character in this movie whose entire purpose is to greet him with "What does a girl have to do to go to bed with you?" and spend the rest of the movie trying to do that. Groan.

"Magnum Force" isn't quite the brilliant, realistic experience that the first Dirty Harry movie is, but it's still a solid, grimy thriller with a powerful lead performance.
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VINE VOICEon 16 May 2012
I watched this DVD with a true sense of forboding. I was dreading that, like Battlefield Earth or Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, this film would ruin the image of a legend (in this case Clint Eastwood) and leave me thinking "why, oh why did he do it?"

But Magnum Force is actually an awesome film - a true classic and, in my opinion, far better and less rough around the edges than Dirty Harry.

I dreaded that the plot would revolve more around the gun than any kind of plot. Actually the plot is well written and an interesting twist on what we know about Harry Callaghan; namely that he lives outside the rules but always seeks justice. In this film, Harry is given the ultimate temptation in that the baddies are in fact cops with Callaghan's sense of justice taken to the extreme of killing criminals without trial.

I also dreaded that the film would be self-referential and would have loads of catchphrase quotations ("Do you feel lucky?", "Make my day", etc). Again, this film avoided this pitfall and, instead, just has one of the most awesome Clint Eastwood quotes of all (you'll have to watch the film to find it though).

Far from being a 'jump the shark' film, I'm pleased to report that this film delivers and is, in fact, a classic of the gritty-cop movie genre. Just like the original George Romero Dawn of the Dead films, seeing the originals blows away the cliches and makes you angry at the imitators for daring to make you doubt the legends in the first place.
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VINE VOICEon 7 August 2014
Clint Eastwood takes on the role of Harry Callahan again effortlessly and slips you straight back into the violent, grim world of crime and corruption on the streets of San Francisco. Not hitting the simplicity and cat-and-mouse formula that made the original so popular with it's rousing score and iconic script, 'Magnum Force' still delivers all you'd expect from an Eastwood film. He evokes that dry professionalism as Callahan, and shows that he's not simply a cop who talks tough and shoots the bad guys, he's far more than that with humane emotions and comes across less of a "loose canon" this time, and appears to be easing into the role even more and enjoying it.

It's a great story, with the lines between good and bad blurred, and the identity of the death squad a mystery until the third chapter which keeps you guessing at which way it will go. There are brutal moments that solidify the realistic and shocking plot for audiences, with nothing glamorised for Hollywood. The shoot-outs are well staged, the action is hard-hitting and all brought to life by very dark and moody cinematography.

Lalo Schifrin provides a soulful 70s soundtrack that makes 'Magnum Force' feel right at home in the early 1970s where it is set. It's not a game changer, but it's solid entertainment that is just as powerful as the Magnum Colt used so heavily throughout this crime story.
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