Movie Review: Magnum Force (1973)

I know what you’re thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?!

Ladies and gents… “Magnum Force”.

Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is back to solve crimes. This time he is trying to find and stop a group of vigilantes who are killing a bunch of less than desirable people in San Francisco. So now we have our “Dirty Harry” adventure set up. And it’s actually a good plot. It’s simple and straightforward without being dumb. Sure, it’s not particularly deep or engaging, but it’s not a bad plot at all. As a matter of fact, I kind of love the premise of it, it’s just that it isn’t as engaging as it could be. So overall the plot here is pretty good.

The characters here are fine, nothing special. Clint Eastwood of course plays everybody’s favorite San Francisco badass, Harry fucking Callahan. And yeah, he’s just as gruff and tough as in “Dirty Harry”, and Eastwood gives his typical Eastwood-y performance here (which I’m a fan of). Hal Holbrook plays the police lieutenant that Harry constantly butts heads with, and he’s great in the role. Felton Perry plays Harry’s partner, Earlington “Early” Smith, and he’s good in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Mitchell Ryan, Robert Urich, David Soul, Tim Matheson, and Kip Niven, all doing fine here.

The score for the movie was composed by Lalo Schifrin and it was good. It was very much a product of it’s era, but I do think it worked for the movie, being overall well composed and slightly elevating certain scenes. Though I do wonder about that theme song… I don’t have any specific questions, it’s just weird to me.

Unlike the first movie, “Magnum Force” wasn’t directed by Don Siegel. Directorial duties instead went over to Ted Post, who also directed Eastwood in the 1968 western “Hang ‘Em High”. And I think he did a really good job here. His directing is tight and pretty tense. The shots also look really good, with some fancy camera tricks being used at several points in the movie. The action scenes in this are also quite good. They’re fun, badass, and entertaining as hell. Sure, they’re not the most memorable, but they’re definitely fun to watch.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Magnum Force” is a solid follow-up to the awesome first movie. It has a good plot, okay characters, really good performances, good music, and really good directing. The main flaw with it is that the plot isn’t as engaging as it could be. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “Magnum Force” is an 8,88/10. So while the movie is flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Magnum Force” is now completed.

A man’s got to know his limitations.

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