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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brooding and Absorbing Sequel
Scratching deeper beyond the surface one can find RETURN OF THE SEVEN to be significantly different from its predecessor, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. It is much more than a thematically framed sequel which it can easily be mistaken for. RETURN OF THE SEVEN is a dark film and it does not offer the hope of a truly optimistic future for any of its characters. In this respect it...
Published on May 13, 2003 by gobirds2

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less Magnificent than the Original
The original MAGNIFICENT SEVEN was, well, magnificent. The RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is, well, pretty good. No MAGNIFICENT SEVEN sequel could ever stand up to the original. THE RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN appeared in theaters six years after THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Yul Brynner reprised his role as Chris. It is unfortunate that Brynner was the only cast...
Published on June 16, 2010 by Kevin R. Austra


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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brooding and Absorbing Sequel, May 13, 2003
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Scratching deeper beyond the surface one can find RETURN OF THE SEVEN to be significantly different from its predecessor, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. It is much more than a thematically framed sequel which it can easily be mistaken for. RETURN OF THE SEVEN is a dark film and it does not offer the hope of a truly optimistic future for any of its characters. In this respect it is a complete inversion of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Through their catharsis in the original we saw an attempt at redemption through an act of nobility on the part of the seven. They truly were noble and I believe were redeemed for their transgressions as gunmen. Some thought they could start their lives over again but inevitably they could not. That film had to end as it did with the seven ultimately all committed to their singular code of ethics and morality in an emotionally charged finale. In this film there is very little emotion on the surface. Instead director Burt Kennedy gives us a thought provoking study into the human psyche and the very nature of defeatism of the human spirit. In this film there are no pretensions on the part of the seven. For most of them this is just another gun job. There are no higher aspirations that they are cognizant of. If it were not this job, it would be the next. To tell his story Burt Kennedy focuses almost entirely on the character of Chris the leader, perfectly portrayed again by Yul Brynner. This is not really a tale of the seven. Instead Kennedy uses Brynner with all his aplomb and apparent stoicism to curiously examine and probe the motivations of the other six, Lorca the villain (pompously played by Mexican director Emilio Fernandez) and several other key characters. In effect Kennedy takes what was apparently a happy or satisfactory ending from THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and asks what if. What if 10 years later the remaining characters are not so contented as prior events led us to believe they would be? Would friends be willing go up against innumerable odds? Would strangers once again sign on to go up against those same innumerable odds? Do the strong still have to help the weak? And who really are the strong and the weak? When 50 or more marauding vaqueros whisk away Chico (Julian Mateos) and other Mexican farmers from surrounding villages Chris and Vin (Robert Fuller) agree to come to his aid. However it is Chris alone that recruits the members of the "seven" this time out. Kennedy singularly endows Chris a sense of morality and level headedness in this film that comes from his wisdom and manner of nobility. In effect this is Brynner's film all the way. Just as John Sturges' directorial style was so smooth that his own storytelling glossed right over the depth and complexity of his own work so is Burt Kennedy's. However, Kennedy is challenged with a very dark and brooding tale to tell. Where Sturges' THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN could easily have been taken on a purely action film level and still been successful, Kennedy does not have that luxury. Kennedy has to deliver an action film built on previous events and he also has to approach the story from a different perspective to remain fresh yet keep it thematically to the concept of the original "Seven." Not an easy task! If the viewer does not look deeply into this film it may just appear as a well produced `dud.' However, I believe Kennedy succeeds far beyond expectations the more times I view this film. Again it comes back to Brynner. He makes members of the seven (Vin, Chico and Colbee) all come to realizations about themselves with his subtle yet profound dialogue. He gives Riker and Luis a chance at redemption even though both men come from total opposites of the spectrum. He helps the failed priest rise from his failures "at least as far as his knees." Chris even gives Lorca, the villain a chance to ride out because when Chris was younger he gave him the same chance. However, Chris refuses to let Lorca now bathe his personal grief as an ineffectual father "in other men's blood." Yet even Lorca is literally redeemed by the end of the film. When Petra tells Chris that the farmers will never forget them he simply replies, "That's all a man can ask." That is the mystique and legacy of the "seven." Even the character of Chris is endowed with human flaws. He recklessly took on the young Manuel rounding out the seven "for luck" with tragic results and we see Brynner deeply grieved on the screen. This is a film of hard lessons learned. Technically this is a well-made film. The cinematography is full of crane, dolly and tracking shots, which gives it both perspective and movement. Bernstein's score is full and lush and this is the single cohesive element that keeps the seven together. The set designs are dark, grim and rustic giving the film a pensive psychological depth. The payoff for Brynner and the viewer comes in the final shot. Looking at the farmers rebuilding the village he comments, "I'll be damned." Vin looks at him and responds, "I doubt that. I doubt that very much." They both ride off. They just don't make heroes like that any more.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MISUNDERSTOOD SEQUEL THAT ENTERTAINS, July 8, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Return of the Magnificent Seven (DVD)
Yes this one is darker than the first, but I don't think that's a bad thing. It's a very good film if accepted for it's what it is: a great Western. I'm glad they didn't just copy the first but came up with a different and darker approach that really drew me in. I know that the party line has been to dislike this sequel, but man is it great! Some have said on here that there's no character development. Not true! There's plenty of depth here. Not as much humor as the first perhaps, but it's gritty and really entertained this Western fan. Great cast. Great action. Plenty of absorbing character elements that drew me in. Much better than some say it is. I loved every second of this movie.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great sequel, May 22, 2003
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T O'Brien (Chicago, Il United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Return of the Magnificent Seven (DVD)
Return of the Magnificent Seven is a good sequel that picks up ten years after the first one ended. The story follows Chris, the gunman in black, who is trying to free Chico, from the original seven, from a bandit who has kidnapped the men from several small villages. Joining Chris is another group that he puts together to help him free his old friend, Chico. This is an exciting movie that examines several questions about the Old West. What if ten years after it happened these men are beginning to think if they have accomplished anything or what is their value? The movie poses this question as the seven ride to Chico's rescue.
The only returning star from the original is Yul Brynner who takes the role of Chris again and plays it to perfection. Robert Fuller takes the role of Vin, previously played by Steve McQueen. This movie could have been much better with McQueen in the role. Other members of the Seven include Warren Oates, Claude Akins, Julian Mateos, Virgilio Texiera, and Jordan Christopher. Also starring are Emilio Fernandez, Elisa Montes, and Fernando Rey. Part of the problem with this sequel is that the characters are not as likable as those in the original. The film is still very good, but just doesn't reach the same level of the first one. Elmer Bernstein's music is still one of the greatest movie soundtracks of all-time. The DVD is pretty good with a widescreen presentation and theatrical trailer included. Different tone than the original Magnificent Seven(still a classic) but a good movie nonetheless. Check it out!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!!, February 14, 2003
This is a favorite along with the first, "The Magnificent Seven". There is a good plot and plenty of action. Both this movie as well as the first one have moral messages. Also both movies are really about the Vietnam War. The Magnificent Seven relaesed in I believe 1960 when our military advisors were in Vietnam. Remember the villagers asked for help from the Americans? The seven trained the villagers just like our forces in Vietnam did. Also the second movie released in 1966, just two years after official combat in Vietnam for our troops. Again strong parallels with the seven against the tyrant bully (North Vietnamese communism) and the seven (America). Who said Hollywood can't disguise a movie and subliminally give a message by the government to help influence us. Again the movie is great and with great performances by Yul Brynner, Robert Fuller Warren Oates, and Claude Akins. Good performnce by Emilio Fernandez as Lorca and Fernando Reyes as the priest, others also. I enjoyed this one better than the first one.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent- just different than the first, September 17, 2004
This review is from: Return of the Magnificent Seven (DVD)
This surprisingly engrossing sequel isn't as friendly on the surface as the original film but that's it's strength. Things are more grave this time around and that's the point. Kudos to Kennedy and Cohen for giving us a rougher and edgier sequel.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yul Brynner and Emilio Fernández Excel in True Sequel, December 5, 2006
This review is from: Return of the Magnificent Seven (DVD)
RETURN OF THE SEVEN was made when sequels to popular films were seldom made. RETURN OF THE SEVEN was a true sequel and not just another story made in the spirit of the original. RETURN OF THE SEVEN revisits characters and the setting of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN ten years hence. Yul Brynner as Chris tells Vin, now played by Robert Fuller, that he hasn't been going anywhere for ten years. Chico, now played by Julián Mateos, is captured and rounded up with the rest of the men from the village and mysteriously taken off into the desert by the wealthy land owner Emilio Fernández' hired cohorts. Chris and Vin now take up where they left off forming another band of "Seven" and search for Chico and the others. Both Chris and Vin no longer have any aspirations of settling down yet Chris is still the noble gunman while Vin now questions the purpose of his existence as a gunman. The mold can not be broken or so it would seem. Emilio Fernández is Lorca the misguided villain of the piece. Fernández' unlike Eli Wallach's Calvera is not a down and out bandit but a wealthy landowner looking to literally construct a monument to his past failures. Chris and Lorca's paths have crossed once before and the much now wiser Chris must try to set him back on a moral path. Of the seven, they seem to have more specific reasons, consciously or unconsciously, for "coming along for the ride." Claude Akins must put both his conscience and life to rest. Warren Oates learns he has more value as a man than just living a rough and roguish lifestyle and someone like himself must help the downtrodden in the world. Chico wishes to leave his seemingly humble existence as a farmer and return to making a living with his gun. Bandit and killer Virgilio Teixeira finds it is time to repay those he has transgressed and be able to ride with respect and not disdain. The young Jordan Christopher wants to accepted and welcomed into the village and leave his orphaned background behind him. Brynner once again is the cohesive force and strong individual representing rational judgment and reason while Fernández' self destruction threatens harmony but makes the irony of all their oblique ambitions possible.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie, but the Sound is terrible., May 16, 2001
This review is from: Return of the Magnificent Seven (DVD)
Yul Brynner is back as Chris. Steve Mcqueen is not back as Vin. If you watch the documentary on the Magnificent Seven Special Ed. DVD, you can see some reasons why he did not return. The movie is finally in widescreen format and the picture looks pretty good, but the sound is awful. Why would MGM go through all of the trouble of doing a widescreen transfer of this movie and not clean up the hissing and static that you hear when the actors are talking in some of the scenes. I could not hear the static and hiss when the musics playing though. A good movie, but MGM should have done something with the sound, also my copy had no booklet or a chapter list insert. DVD only.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Return of the Seven(1966), August 2, 2011
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This review is from: Return of the Magnificent Seven (DVD)
Return of the Seven(1966, also known as Return of the Magnificent Seven) is like Poltergeist II and Jaws 2. It's a sequel that's almost as good as the first film. The film starts off on the right note with Elmer Bernstein's music score on the soundtrack as the people in Chico's village do their daily chores. Emilio Fernandez plays a Mexican bandit who takes the men in Chico's village hostage and they're forced to work as slave labor. Chris(Yul Brynner), Vin, and five gunmen have to save Chico and his people when they're ordered to be exterminated! Spanish actor Fernando Rey plays a priest. Warren Oates is quite good as a gunman who has a weakness for pretty women. Claude Akins plays a convict who helps Chris. The directing and production values in Return of the Seven are good, but the film does suffer from a flawed script. Portuguese actor Virgilio Teixeira is quite good as Luis. Cute, Spanish actress Elisa Montes is good as Petra. Return of the Seven got some bad reviews in the 1960's, but it is an underrated sequel. The Magnificent Seven return again in Guns of the Magnificent Seven(1969).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less Magnificent than the Original, June 16, 2010
By 
Kevin R. Austra (Delaware Valley, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Return of the Magnificent Seven (DVD)
The original MAGNIFICENT SEVEN was, well, magnificent. The RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is, well, pretty good. No MAGNIFICENT SEVEN sequel could ever stand up to the original. THE RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN appeared in theaters six years after THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Yul Brynner reprised his role as Chris. It is unfortunate that Brynner was the only cast member to return. There are conflicting stories as to why Steve McQueen opted out of this film. Some sources state that McQueen's inflated ego and need for artistic control caused him to decline offers for this film. Others note that Brynner himself insisted that McQueen not be involved in the project. In RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN Robert Fuller filled McQueen's role as Vin, though the character bore very little resemblance to McQueen's Vin. The character of Chico was revived, but Horst Buchholz was likewise not involved in the project and the role went to another actor.

In this sequel (remember there were two additional subsequent films) Chris recruits five gunmen to accompany him back to the same Mexican village he defended several years earlier. A Mexican warlord has enslaved all of the men in the village and force-marched them to his own half destroyed town where the men are put to work rebuilding the place. One of the captives is Chico, who as you may recall was an original member of the Magnificent Seven, the one who chose to stay behind and become a farmer. The Magnificent Seven liberate the prisoners, but the warlord and his private army return to the devastated village in force. Once again the Magnificent Seven are called upon to rally the farmers to challenge the Mexican leader and his small army. Under Chris' guidance they fortify a ruined church into something akin to a small Alamo and fend off repeated attacks by the enemy.

The RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is in part a thinly veiled remake of the first film. However in other aspects the story is a little more complicated. This time the mission is a little more personal as Chico, one of the few men Chris accepts as a friend, is initially captured as part of the Mexican forced labor gang. The composition of the Seven is also different than the first. In some ways it is an early version of THE DIRTY DOZEN as two of the team's gunmen are bailed out of a Mexican prison and another is constantly fleeing wronged husbands. With the exception of Chris, these men are a little more down on their luck than the savvy gunfighters in the first film.

The RETURN was filmed in Spain. The production crew did an outstanding job in recreating the Mexican village from the first movie. For almost three decades Spain was and ideal place for movie makers as the country has such varied geography and climate, as well as for economical reasons. Countless westerns and war films have been lensed in the dry desert region of southeast Spain. The RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN likewise took advantage of this. Though the scenery was a little different than that of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, the movie is still believable as occurring in Mexico.

I was happy to add this movie to my collection. After having finally purchased THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN I wanted to see its first sequel from beginning to end. Overall good price for a good movie. The focus of my criticism is with regard to the quality of the DVD image. I am one of those people who have not yet converted to Blu Ray. Unlike my MAGNIFICENT SEVEN DVD, which is exceptionally clear with virtually no loss of clarity when expanding it to "Zoom 2" on my 37-inch flat screen, The RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is grainier and the color is not as rich. In this I am specifically referencing the DVD version that bears the MGM "Western Legends" logo on the DVD package. I was able to partially enhance the picture by adjusting the screen option to "Vivid." In short, the picture quality is good, not great. It looks more like what you would expect from a widescreen VHS tape transfer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Sequel With Virtues Of Its Own!, November 3, 2008
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This review is from: Return of the Magnificent Seven (DVD)
No, Burt Kennedy's "Return of the Seven" doesn't surpass the John Sturges classic western "The Magnificent Seven." Remember, however, the Sturges film itself was a remake of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's "The Seventh Samurai." First, I contend that "The Magnificent Seven" is one of the top ten best westerns. Second, I get a kick out of watching "Return of the Seven" for its own modest virtues. This sagebrusher came about as a result of the sequel craze in the 1960s. After the tension on the set of "The Magnificent Seven" with Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen refused to play second fiddle again to 'the King.' Anyway, McQueen's star was rising, while Brynner's stardom was becoming eclipsed.

It is important to remember the theatrical title, too, because it is "Return of the Seven" with the omission of the adjective "Magnificent." Indeed, Brynner is the only one who made it back for the sequel. McQueen refused to and Horst Buchholz had disappeared in Europe making other movies.

Mind you, around this time, the Europeans had spawned the so-called 'Spaghetti' western craze. Moreover, the Franco government in Spain subsidized filmmakers, and the rough-hewn Spanish scenery substituted more than adequately for the frontier American Southwest. When the scenery is more interesting to look at, the music stands out by itself, and the corpses outnumber the horses ten-to-one, you know that you're watching a 'Spaghetti' western. Oh, yeah, if the dialogue isn't lip-synched, you know you're watching a 'Spaghetti' western. Consequently, the Mirish Production company must have felt that they could knock out a sequel very inexpensively in Spain. Reportedly, the Alicante location where they filmed "Return of the Seven" had not been used in a picture. Unquestionably, "Return of the Seven" looks like an epic western, and Paul Vogel's cinematography is a feast for the eyes. Everybody looks really picturesque when they shoot their guns in this western. Burt Kennedy's "Seven" surpasses Sturges' "Seven" only in terms of its rugged, breath-taking scenery, Vogel's ace cinematography, and the lavish production values. Burt Kennedy stages some exception gunfights, but he cannot top the vintage Sturges shoot-outs.

"Return of the Seven" picks up years after the Sturges epic. An insane rancher decides to honor the memory of his two dead sons by abducting the farmers of several villages and having them build a shrine--a church--to commemorate his sons. Right off, "Return of the Seven" differs from "The Magnificent Seven." Francisco Lorca (Emilio Fernández of "The Wild Bunch") looms above all as a law unto himself, whereas Calvera (Eli Wallach) was a cunning, ruthless bandit that lived outside the law. These films have different villains. One of the villages that Lorca's men raid and enslave is Chico's village. Julian Mateos takes over the role that Horst Buchholz created.

The worst scene is the first between Chris (Yul Brynner) and Vin (Robert Fuller of "Laramie") at a bullfighting arena. Vin sidles up to Chris during a bullfight and makes up a story that he is looking to collect bounty on Chris. Scenarist Larry Cohen of the "It's Alive" trilogy could have contrived a better reunion scene. Although Cohen received credit for writing the screenplay, all the dialogue sounds like something that Burt Kennedy would have written for Randolph Scott on those Budd Boetticher westerns of the 1950s. My favorite line is when Chris and Vin meet again during a cockfighting tournament and talk about their luck rounding up candidates. Vin asks, "Are they any good?" Chris retors, "They're alive." Staying alive is what "Return of the Seven" is all about. Meanwhile, Cohen replays themes from the original. The villagers huddle in a rainy church and admit their fear of anything.

The cast differs obviously and so do the characters. Burt Kennedy's "Seven" is harsh, definitely less sentimental than the Sturges "Seven." Some of these guys don't get along. Chris averts a gunfight between the loquacious Colbee (Warren Oates of "In The Heat of the Night") and the tight-lipped Frank (Claude Atkins of "A Man Called Sledge") in one scene. "Is he faster than you, Chris," Frank asks. "I'd hate to have the live on the difference," Chris observes. I'd heard this line in "Rio Bravo," but it fares better here. Another great scene occurs earlier when Chris buys Frank out of jail. "He killed five men in a gunfight," complains the jailer about the amount of Chris' bribe. "I could make it six," growls Frank. The bargain is sealed. The dialogue in this scene compares with the dialogue in the Charles Bronson scene in the original "Seven." This time the Seven face at least fifty gunmen, twenty or so more than in the first picture. Interestingly, Chris gets not only Frank but also Luis Emilio Delgado (Vergílio Teixeira of "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad") from the local jail. This anticipates the classic Lee Marvin war movie "The Dirty Dozen." Another scene that matched the original is the initial hero and the villains confrontation. Chris rides boldly into the construction site and demands the release of Chico and everybody else to the incredulity of Lorca's second-in-command Lopez (Rodolfo Acosta of "Rio Conchos") who replies, "I could have you shot like that." Lopez snaps. "There are six Winchesters pointed at your head." Chris is far more audacious here than he ever was in "The Magnificent Seven." Emilio Fernández is a splendid foll0w-up to Eli Wallach. In real life, Wallach was gentle, whereas Fernández was violent, handy with a gun, a gangsta of sorts. He looks like he means business as the villain in "Return of the Seven." Like Yul Brynner, Elmer Bernstein encores his original Oscar nominated orchestral soundtrack and amazingly he received another nomination for it. If you haven't seen the first "Seven," you could swear that Bernstein created the score for the sequel!

Too bad MGM/UA didn't put an audio commentary track on this one.
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Return of the Magnificent Seven
Return of the Magnificent Seven by Burt Kennedy (DVD - 2002)
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