Magnum Force

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"A man's got to know his limitations."
  • R
  • 1973
  • 2 hr 4 min
  • 7.2  (66,083)
  • 58

Magnum Force is a 1973 American action thriller film directed by Ted Post, starring Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, and Mitchell Ryan. The movie is a sequel to the 1971 film Dirty Harry. The plot follows the iconic San Francisco Police Department detective Harry Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood, as he investigates a series of vigilante-style murders of known criminals, all of whom have been acquitted in court. The killings are executed by a group of rogue cops, known as the "Magnum Force", who believe that traditional policing methods are insufficient to control crime in the city. Harry realizes that the Magnum Force is made up of young, idealistic police officers who have been influenced by the Dirty Harry persona he projected in the first film, and sets out to stop them.

The first half of the film is devoted to introducing the Magnum Force and their distinctive brand of vigilante justice. We see them carefully selecting their targets, observing them for weeks, and ultimately executing them with cold efficiency. The movie does an excellent job of building suspense and tension as we try to understand the motives of the killers and anticipate their next move.

Once Harry realizes that the Magnum Force is behind the killings, he begins to investigate the group, posing as a hitman to gain their trust. The tension builds as the two groups circle each other, each trying to outwit the other. As Harry uncovers more about the Magnum Force, he realizes that they are not simply a band of renegade cops, but that they are acting in concert with a powerful political force in the city, a group of wealthy businessmen and politicians who want to clean up the streets at any cost.

The film is filled with classic moments of Eastwood's trademark hardboiled, no-nonsense dialogue and action. His character of Harry Callahan is at his sexist and misogynistic best in the movie, displaying a disdain for women that some viewers may find distasteful. However, this is very much a product of its time and was in keeping with the attitudes of many cops in the era.

The movie also features excellent performances from several of the supporting cast. Hal Holbrook is excellent as Lieutenant Briggs, a higher-ranking police officer with whom Harry clashes throughout the film. Mitchell Ryan is suitably menacing as the leader of the Magnum Force, and David Soul is persuasive as one of the young, idealistic cops who is swept up in the group's ideology.

The film's action sequences are well choreographed and executed, with Eastwood's character doing what he does best - shooting first and asking questions later. There are some memorable car chases and shootouts, and the film's climax, in which Harry confronts the Magnum Force in a deserted quarry, is thrilling and suspenseful.

Overall, Magnum Force is a solid follow-up to the original Dirty Harry film, delivering more of the same hard-edged, no-nonsense action that made the first movie a classic. Eastwood is on top form, the villains are suitably evil, and the action is well-executed. Fans of gritty 70s cinema will find plenty to enjoy here.

Magnum Force is a 1973 action movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 4 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2 and a MetaScore of 58.

Magnum Force
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 4 min
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (66,083)
  • Metascore