Return of the Magnificent Seven
Directed by: Burt Kennedy Cast: Yul Brynner, Robert Fuller, Julian Mateos, Warren Oates, Virgilio Texeira, Claude Akins, Elisa Montes Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins Rating: NR Due Out: August 2, 2011
PLOT: Legendary gunslinger Chris (Brynner) returns to Mexico with a new batch of six cowboys to save a vulnerable town from a terrorizing leader.
WHO'S IT FOR?: If you're looking for another serving of Magnificent Seven-like awesomeness, look elsewhere. If bland gunplay provided by an excessive amount of dull characters is your thing, this movie might keep you awake.
Return of the Magnificent Seven is infected with the same attribute that makes other unwarranted sequels suck. It abuses the power of the components that made the original so special, and it focuses on giving the audience a second helping of what they clamored for, but this time with a giant shoulder-shrug as they dish it out. The original movie seemed inspired by the popularity and potential of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. This movie is inspired by those who came to The Magnificent Seven simply for "boom bang boom bang bang bang, ka-ching." This sequel is just as inane as its central inspiration.
Yul Brynner returns in this round, presenting himself even more as Robo-Cowboy than he did before. (And even for a robot, he needs some grease on his gears here). Return makes the death of lead cast members in the first movie a blessing in disguise, as certain people are spared the possible assignment of coming back for round two. Steve McQueen's character Vin returns, but is played by Robert Fuller.
Return fills in the casting gaps with a bunch of vanilla, choosing a whole group of disposable cowboy clones to fill in the "magnificent" shoes. Whereas the original used characters who were memorable both by actual character traits and appearance, this makes the "magnificent seven" turn into a big mushy mixture, with Yul Brynner playing quarterback.
Another aspect in which this movie doesn't even stand a chance against its original is the dialogue. Not one cool line to take away from this movie, especially when the script is knee-deep in genre cliches already.
Return of the Magnificent Seven goes bare bones with its goals, and in turn crumbles to the ground. The movie exists for its final action sequence, in which the new not-so-magnificent seven have a shoot-off with the bad guys, save the day, and then bring peace. Even more than the original, the movie presents those protected by the "seven" as cattle. They have no voice of their own, and when they are holed up in tight surroundings during the second act, they are literally like silent chickens.
While Return of the Magnificent Seven might also remind viewers of botched sequels, it also brings to mind the last two weeks at the multiplex. On Sept 16, Drive came out, which, like Magnificent Seven, was about "a real human being, and a real hero" (Magnificent was about seven of them). But then, even in one week's time, we were given Killer Elite and Abduction, both of them painfully boring movies that try to survive on their not-so magnificent cliches alone.
There are real movies and real heroes ... and then there's The Return of the Magnificent Seven.
MOVIE SCORE: 3/10