Review of Magnum Force (1973)

24 Apr

Magnum Force (1973) is an action/crime/thriller film and the second in the Dirty Harry film series.

Directed by Ted Post (Hang ‘Em High (1968), Good Guys Wear Black (1978)).

Written by John Milius (Apocalypse Now (1979), Conan the Barbarian (1982)) and Michael Cimino (Heaven’s Gate (1980), Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)).

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, Mitch Ryan, David Soul, Tim Matheson, Kip Niven, Robert Ulrich and others.

Detective „Dirty Harry” Callahan is back with his huge fucking Magnum. Need I say more?

I just loved the opening titles and the theme. After that we see Harry as always working and disobeying orders. He’s got a new partner, to which he is oddly nice, although we don’t see them being assigned as partners, so maybe they’ve been working together for a while now.

Eastwood shows what might be one of his best abilities. Making everything cool. There’s not many people who can make the elbow-patches on a jacket look bad-ass, but he does. One might argue, that other than being cool, he doesn’t do much else in the movie, but I’m not asking for anything else. Oh, and as if he wasn’t cool enough, a hot asian chick just randomly appears and a few minutes later is crawling into his bed. That lucky bastard.

In Dirty Harry, it seemed that Harry doesn’t like his nickname all that much, but now it appears that he enjoys the „dirty” work.

The interesting thing about these movies, is that except for the asshole cop Harry Callahan, they aren’t very connected. You can pick up any of the Dirty Harry movies and you won’t have any problems because of not knowing the back story and unless you’re afraid of getting confused by Eastwood’s age, you can watch the movies in whichever order you like.

They throw the n-word around quite a lot here and that is what I enjoy about the 70’s cinema. In a way it is the grittiest it has ever gotten. The golden/silver age sterility is destroyed and the political correctness of the last three decades hasn’t arrived. Not that I approve of the n-word. Although, since neither me or my ancestors have had anything to do with slavery, I don’t feel any white racial guilt. However, one thing Harry is not is homophobic, that is, if you can shoot well.

What I found the most intriguing about the concept, that the antagonist force Harry faces is also a vigilante one, so it plays more one the line of „how far is too far?”. This sort of pulls back Harry’s own fascist view of the world and states his policy of fighting crime in contrast of the Traffic-Cop Killer’s complete vigilantism. And although it sort of is obvious who is going around serving merciless justice, there’s a couple of unexpected turns to it.

A very young Suzanne Somers appears and shows her breasts at a pool party, but it just made me feel dirty as I enjoyed it and at the same time cringed as I remembered growing up watching her as the mom in Step by Step. It felt like I saw what I wasn’t supposed to.

It has a very exciting car chase, which is odd, since I’m not a big fan of car chases. What I loved about this one, was that it had no background music, so there’s just the sound of engines roaring, tyres screeching, guns blasting and nothing else.

Overall, this is my favourite Dirty Harry movie, I think it is better than the first one and it’s the most entertaining. Definitely recommended.

"Hey, Davis, you know how my last partner died?"
"Yeah, I heard he was sucked into a jet engine, why you ask?"
"No reason."

3 Responses to “Review of Magnum Force (1973)”

  1. Aloha Mister Hand April 24, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

    Awesome review!!! 🙂
    I too watched Step by Step and would feel very odd looking at Suzanne Somer’s boobs, haha! Clint Eastwood is pretty badass, in nearly anything! Have you seen Gran Torino?

    • karlails April 25, 2012 at 12:29 am #

      Thanks, well her boobs are there only for a couple of seconds. Eastwood is awesome. Yeah, I really liked Gran Torino.

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