Magnum Force (1973)

Harry shows his stuff off to some rookies.

A long time ago, before this blog was thought of, I have seen the 1971 classic Dirty Harry, featuring Clint Eastwood as the title character. At the time, it was only the second movie I had seen featuring Clint (including Gran Torino and excluding Flags of Our Fathers, which he directed but didn’t act in), but both easily made my (at least at the time) top 10 movies I had ever seen. Thus, the surprising thing is that I took this long to get around to seeing Magnum Force, the second entry in the Dirty Harry movie series.

It appears that criminals of San Francisco are getting murdered by a vigilante group. While many welcome the rough justice being carried out, it becomes apparent to the law that these killings have to stop. That is when Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) steps in to investigate. Soon, he uncovers a conspiracy larger than he could have imagined.

What Magnum Force maintained which I liked about its predecessor was the overall feel of the movie. That is to say, it had a feeling of cool that is unique to American action movies of the 1970s. A lot of it was due to Clint Eastwood’s acting. While he was essentially playing the same character as the Man with No Name (see A Fistful of Dollars), director Ted Post (who took on helming after Don Siegel did the first movie) did a good job of giving Magnum Force a unique flavor overall. Lalo Schifrin also returned to give the movie a very distinct score; the theme that played during the opening credits stuck out to me in a good way.

That said, don’t expect any depth to the movie whatsoever. Many of the scenes in the movie were ultimately there just to demonstrate what a badass Callahan was; the perfect example is when he thwarts an airline hijacking at the beginning of the film. That sequence served absolutely no purpose for the film’s story, but looked cool. The same can be said about Adele Yoshioka as Sunny, the woman who sort of strikes up a romance with Callahan. She had a pretty face, but barely enough time onscreen to warrant even being listed in the cast.

Still, I had fun with Magnum Force. Overall, I didn’t quite like it as much as I liked Dirty Harry partly due to the villains being less interesting than the Scorpio Killer, but I would still say Magnum Force is worth a shot if you liked Dirty Harry. All in all, it’s a good way to kill an afternoon with some mindless fun.

Score: 3/4

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