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Return of the Magnificent Seven (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 25, 2011 by  



An example of a popcorn Western film full of action but a weak screenplay and non-existent character development.  While the shining moment of this sequel is that Yul Brynner returned to reprise his role as Chris Adams, “Return of the Magnificent Seven” is not a very good film and as for the Blu-ray release, it’s a barebone release.

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Images courtesy of © 1966 Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Return of the Magnificent Seven

FILM RELEASE DATE: 1966

DURATION: 95 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (widescreen 2:35:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

RATED: NOT RATED

COMPANY: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Twentieth Century Fox

RELEASE DATE: August 2, 2011

Directed by Burt Kennedy

Written by Larry Cohen

Produced by Ted Richmond

Associate Producer: Robert Goodstein

Music by Elmer Bernstein

Cinematography by Paul Vogel

Edited by Bert Bates

Art Direction by Jose Alguero

Starring:

Yul Brynner as Chris

Robert Fuller as Vin

Julian Mateos as Chico

Warren Oates as Colbee

Claude Akins as Frank

Elisa Montes as Petra

Fernando Rey as Priest

Emilio Fernandez as Lorca

Virgiolio Teixeira as Luis

Rodolfo Acosta as Lopez

Jordan Christopher as Manuel

It’s been six years since Chico (Julian Mateos) rode with Chris Adams (Brynner) and his band of gunslingers. It was then that he married the beautiful Petra (Elisa Montes) andpromised to lay down his weapons forever. But when the cruel outlaw Lorca (Emilio Fernandez) beginsto terrorize his village, Chico, Chris and five new brave gunmen must ride again.

With the success of 1960 film “The Magnificent Seven”, there was no doubt that MGM would try to achieve that same success with a sequel known as “The Return of the Seven” (The Return of the Magnificent Seven).

Of course, learning from experience of trying to bring together a bunch of well-known actors, a few battling for more camera time and ego’s afloat, MGM made sure not to go that direction and focus on one major talent, Yul Brynner, reprising his role as Chris Adams.  While Robert Fuller takes on the role of Vin (which was originally played by Steve McQueen).

For the sequel, taking on the directorial role is Burt Kennedy (“The Rounders”, “Combat!”, “Lawman”) and written by Larry Cohen (“Phone Booth”, “Cellular”, “Body Snatchers”).  Once again, a score by Elmer Bernstein which received an Academy Award nomination.

Filmed in Spain, the spaghetti western didn’t manage to reach the same height as the original film and didn’t do too well in the box office, and the next two sequels would go further south in terms of quality.

“Return of the Magnificent Seven” is a story about a small Mexican village terrorized by 50 gunmen who kidnap all the men who are then forced to work as slaves to build a desert village.

But among the men captured is Chico (now played by Julian Mateos), one of the original magnificent seven who helped the village eliminate a group of bandits years ago.   Chico’s wife Petra (played by Elisa Montes) is told to seek out the other members of the group, two which are still alive – Chris Adams (played by Yul Brynner) and Vin (played by Robert Fuller).

So, as Petra tries to get Chris to rescue the village once again, needing to find capable gunslingers to fight off the large number of gunmen, Chris has only one area to turn and that is the local jail.

But once again, will the villagers help assist the seven or will the seven be part of a suicide mission where there is no chance of winning.

VIDEO:

“The Return of the Magnificent Seven” is presented in 1080p High Definition (widescreen 2:35:1) and this film sure looks its age.    The print is dirty, there are white speckles and the picture quality is a bit soft.  Now, that’s the bad news.  The good news is that while the film progresses, the picture quality tends to get much better throughout the film.   Black levels start to become nice and deep and the close-ups are much better as well.

But don’t be shocked at the PQ of the film when you start out, it does get better as the film progresses!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Return of the Magnificent Seven” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and the audio is primarily center and front-channel driven.  I did notice times where you can hear the gunmen all yelling and the sounds coming through the surround channels, but overall audio quality is good.

Subtitles are in English SDH, Spanish and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Return of the Magnificent Seven” comes with a trailer for the film.

“The Return of the Magnificent Seven” is a film that touches upon the banality of westerns and as a sequel, is definitely not as good as the first.

One of the things that I love about the first film is that it does take Kurosawa’s “The Seven Samurai” and makes the seven seem like renegades who are protect the villagers for the greater good.  These are people who don’t want to be found but they were ask to help out a village and they did.

This second film, I didn’t like how Chris has now become this man that is so powerful or feared.  It’s like he can do whatever he wants and that he is known for his quick shooting and that is something that doesn’t agree with me.  In the first film, Chris was not a man who wanted fame or recognition, but in this film…its obvious that the villagers hold him in a high regard.

In one scene, he and Vin must be well-known to but into a bullfight and have their guns ready.  In another scene, while trying to save a Mexican boy named Manuel from being beaten, once again, he shows up and stops the fight but then threatens the aggressor.  Once again, the villagers just idly standby.  Once again, this didn’t seem right to me.  For me, Chris is a character that didn’t butt into people’s business.

If anything, “The Return of the Magnificent Seven” is an excellent example of a popcorn Western film.  Plenty of action, gunfights galore, underdog vs. the impossible and weak storyline and character development which in the grand scheme of things.. probably didn’t matter all that much for this film.

There was a reason why this film was panned when it debuted in the box office and the fact is, it’s not a great film nor it’s a great sequel.  But sometimes, for some viewers, they like the all-out action and not enough thinking when it comes to character development.  This is one of those films that has a very weak storyline, poor character development and the only thing saving it is the fact that Yul Brynner is reprising the role of Chris Adams and that it is  pretty much an action film.

And as for the Blu-ray, it’s a barebone release with not the great picture quality.  So, unless you really enjoy Yul Brynner or you want to watch all the sequels to the “Magnificent Seven”, it’s not a Blu-ray that is easily recommended unless you can get it very cheap!

 

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