Monday, May 2, 2016

Return of the Seven (1966)

AKA: Return of the Magnificent Seven

Director: Burt Kennedy

Writer: Larry Cohen

Composer: Elmer Bernstein

Starring: Yul Brynner, Robert Fuller, Mulian Mateos, Warren Oates, Claude Akins, Elisa Montes, Fernando Rey, Emilio Fernandez, Virgilio Teixeira, Rodolfo Acosta, Jordan Christopher

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  Between the law and the lawless - SEVEN again... MAGNIFICENT again!

Plot:  When a bandit leader wants to build a church in memory of his dead sons, he raids three Mexican villages and kidnaps all the men for labour. One of these men is Chico, formerly of the original Magnificent Seven. His wife Petra immediately sets out to look for Chris and Vin, the other surviving members of the Seven. Chris recruits four others (a playboy, an avenger, a highwayman and an orphan) to reform the Seven, once again defending farmers from their oppressors.

My rating:  6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

I guess you could make the case that this is a decent follow-up to the smash hit THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960) in that it ties itself to the previous film, it brings back at least one of the main actors, and in some ways it follows the same general plot.  That's all well and good as long as the picture is entertaining.  The trouble is this one does one thing right that was about the only aspect of originality and that's the villain's motivation.  They should've put that fucker down in the first movie so they would have to think of a better way to keep this now-franchise alive.  The cheesiest thing about the first movie was ported over to this one and that's Chris and his counting as each member is recruited. 

There was an even cheesier shot of the fingers later on but I couldn't find it.  It brilliantly showed the extent they were committed to the finger counts when it came to shot composition.  It was awful and funny.  Once the new band of brothers takes off to the Mexican hills to defend the village, it gets much better.  There are some nice character moments like when Frank (Akins) talks candidly about his dark past and Colbee (Oates) is fun.  The scenery is gorgeous and it's a good looking, well-shot picture but there's too much of the first film in this one to make it stand out, down to the same score Bernstein composed for it, too.  I'd rather watch the first one again (which will happen).  I am keen on watching the next two films in the series but not enough to watch any of the ones that came decades later.  The MGM DVD presents the film in anamorphic widescreen but the sole extra, the theatrical trailer, is in non-anamorphic widescreen. 

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