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MAGNUM FORCE (DELUXE EDITION): DVD

SYNOPSIS:
When a known criminal is acquitted of murder because of the lack of admissible evidence, the general public is outraged. But suddenly a series of vigilante killings begin, targeting known individuals dealing in narcotics, prostitution and murder. Harry Callaghan (Clint Eastwood) and new partner Insp. Early Smith (Felton Perry) are put on the case by Harry's superior Lt. Neil Briggs (Hal Holbrook).

Review by Louise Keller:
A man's got to know his limitations, says Clint Eastwood's Harry Callaghan in this gripping police actioner sequel to Dirty Harry. The spotlight is on the Magnum, 'the most powerful handgun in the world', which is mysteriously being used for vigilante killings of underworld figures. Screenwriters John Milius and Michael Cimino have come up with a taut, thrilling screenplay that involves foul play and taking the law into one's own hands. Eastwood is totally credible in the tailor-made role of the cop who has to do things his own way ('If you do something someone else's way, you take your life in your own hands).

After the opening sequence in which we watch a murderer walk out of court a free man because the justice system has failed, we get to see the unconventional policing style of Harry Callaghan. When a group of hijackers ask for an overseas pilot to man the plane, Harry dons the pilot's cap. His new partner, Early Smith (Felton Perry), is obviously having trouble coping with the gruesome aspects of the job and there's a running gag between them involving eating. Despite his tough exterior, Harry is not all tough as nails. He is sympathetic to his friend Charlie's ex-wife who asks why he has never made a pass at her, and when attractive Sunny (Adele Yoshioka) who lives his building asks 'What does a girl have to do to go to bed with you?' Harry smiles and says 'Try knocking on the door.'

There is also the ongoing animosity between Harry and his superior Lt Briggs (Hal Holbrook) and the discovery of the phenomenally accurate shooting skills of the rookie traffic cops, headed by David Soul's Officer John Davis (6 years before Starsky and Hutch). We see first hand the frequent killings of mobsters by the black-leather clad vigilante cop, whose execution style becomes familiar to us. One of the best things about the film is that there is always an element of risk with the action. When Harry is clutching onto the bonnet of a speeding car as it screeches around corners, we are not sure he will be safe. I love the evocative music between the boom of the Magnums, the sound of the motorbikes and speeding car being chased down a steep winding road in the lead up to the thrilling conclusion. It's a fitting end to an enthralling thriller which resounds like the boom of the Magnum force.

Special features include a commentary by screenwriter John Milius, a feature on the moral tights and politics of Dirty Harry , the original featurette examining Callahan alongside crimebusters of yesteryear and a trailer gallery of Dirty Harry movies.

Published August 14, 2008

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

MAGNUM FORCE (DELUXE EDITION): DVD (R18+)
(US, 1973)

CAST: Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, Mitch Ryan, David Soul, Tim Matheson, Kip Niven, Robert Urich, Felton Perry

PRODUCER: Robert Daley

DIRECTOR: Ted Post

SCRIPT: John Milius, Michael Cimino

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Frank Stanley

EDITOR: Ferris Webster

MUSIC: Lalo Schifrin

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jack T. Collis (art direction)

RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by John Milius; The politics of Dirty Harry; The Hero Cop; Trailer gallery

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

DVD RELEASE: August 13, 2008







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