Magnum Force (1973)

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Released 20-Nov-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio
Listing-Cast & Crew
Featurette-The Hero Cop-Yesterday And Today
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 117:33
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (75:24) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Ted Post

Warner Home Video
Starring Clint Eastwood
Hal Holbrook
Tim Mathison
David Soul
Robert Urich
Kip Niven
Mitchell Ryan
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Lalo Schifrin

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This is the second Dirty Harry movie. The first one (Dirty Harry - reviewed here) was intended to be a standalone movie, but it was too successful to escape a sequel. Magnum Force is that sequel. It tries very hard to capture the qualities that made Dirty Harry a hit.

    Magnum Force is about a motorcycle cop killing off high-profile criminals - we see that it's a motorcycle cop from the beginning, but Harry doesn't find out for a while. We get to see a bit of Harry's home life in this movie, not that there's a lot to his home life. And he gets to meet some of his neighbours, including the attractive young lady downstairs. We get to see Harry competing in the police combat shooting competition (he's the reigning champion, unsurprisingly).

    You know, I thought every Dirty Harry movie had a tagline. The first one had "Do you feel lucky?". I was surprised to find that there's no such tagline in Magnum Force. The closest we get is Harry saying "a man has to know his limitations"; but it isn't the same without him pointing his gun at a crook.

    There are definite elements to each Dirty Harry movie, however. Early in the movie, Harry stumbles into a crime being committed, and deals with things in his own inimitable way. His partner is always a representative of a minority; in this case an African-American. Before the movie is over, Harry will have mouthed off to authority, fired several shots, been shot at repeatedly, and will have solved the case in an unconventional way. And Albert Popwell will have a small part; in this movie he's a big-time pimp (he was the target of "do you feel lucky, punk?" in Dirty Harry, he's the leader of a sect in The Enforcer, and Harry's colleague in Sudden Impact).

    It wasn't until I saw this movie again that I noticed how closely the theme to Gunsmith Cats (review here) resembles the theme to Magnum Force. That's probably deliberate.

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Transfer Quality


    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. That's the original aspect ratio.

    The image is fairly sharp. Shadow detail is limited, with a fair bit of unrelieved black, especially in night-time scenes. There's absolutely no low-level noise, though.

    Colour is excellent. Bright, fully saturated colours appear without over-saturation or colour bleed. Much of the colour palette is a little drab, however, to imply the sordidness of Harry's working life.

    There are almost no few film artefacts, which is amazing for a film this old. The real problem is aliasing - there is noticeable aliasing on every car grille, every car door, Venetian blinds - every possible place; there's even moire on the walls of the shooting range - it's continual, but it never gets above noticeable to irritating. There is some shimmer in backgrounds, too, but it's fairly minor. There's nothing particular in the way of MPEG artefacts. There's a little bit of telecine wobble on the credits, but I suspect that may be inherent in the source material.

    The subtitles are fine. They're white with a black border, in a simple sans serif font, placed over the bottom of the picture. They are accurate enough, and well-timed. There are lots of gaps without any dialogue, so don't worry if you don't see any subtitles for a while.

    The disc is single-sided and dual-layered, formatted as RSDL. The layer change is at 74:24. It is placed at a cut from a black night-time scene to a door just before it opens. With no sound at the time, the layer change is invisible - nice work.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    We get three soundtracks: English, French, and Italian. The English soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384 kbps - that's what I listened to. The other two soundtracks are Dolby Digital mono at 192 kbps. Exactly the same as Dirty Harry - they have been consistent on this.

    The dialogue is clear and mostly understandable, even with the variety of accents. There are no visible audio sync problems.

    The score is another Lalo Schifrin. It's not the same as Dirty Harry, but definitely related. It's not deathless, but it does the job.

    The surrounds are used nicely on some effects, but they don't get a lot of use. The subwoofer is the same - there's not a huge amount of lower octave.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The main menu is static, with music. It is very plain, and not awfully pretty, but it's functional.

Cast and Crew

    A simple list of the main players, nothing more.

Featurette: The Hero Cop - Yesterday and Today (8:04)

    Basically an extended trailer, but it is of dreadful quality. Limited historical interest.

Trailer (2:16)

    The trailer is presented in about 1.78:1. It is reasonable quality. 

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie has not been previously released in R1; it is being released as part of the Dirty Harry box set on 20 November 2001. The features sound like they will be the same.


    Magnum Force is a rather good DVD of a classic Dirty Harry movie.

    The video quality is quite good, considering the age of the film, except for the aliasing.

    The audio quality is good, but doesn't really take advantage of the 5.1 mix. The original soundtrack was mono.

    The extras are rudimentary.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Tuesday, October 30, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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