Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Guns of the Magnificent Seven

Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969)
Dir: Paul Wendkos
Starring George Kennedy, James Whitmore, Monte Markham, Joe Don Baker, Bernie Casey, Scott Thomas, Reni Stantoni, Michael Ansara, Fernando Rey

Chris Adams (Kennedy) is hired to rescue a revolutionary that has been captured by a Mexican dictator. But in order to do this he's going to need a crew of six other men.

After the release (and commercial and critical disappointment) of Return of the Seven, it's surprising that they kept going with the franchise. While the first film is great, the second film feels more like a half baked rehash. At least with this film, it takes the basic idea of Chris Adams gathering a group of six others, and instead of sticking them in another rescue mission, this film gives them the task of rescuing a revolutionary and overthrowing a dictator.

In the third film of the series, George Kennedy steps into the role of Chris Adams. Kennedy brings a different type of energy to the role than Brynner, mainly due to the differences of the two actors. Kennedy's Adams seems like an older, more worn down by the life that he's lead. But he's fine in the role. The rest of the seven are a bit of a mixed bag. James Whitmore is an old friend of Adams' that gets recruited, and warms up to a mexican child whose father is also prisoner of the army. Markham is Keno, or this movie's attempt at a Steve McQueen, since he's wearing the same costume that McQueen wore in the first movie. He's alright, but a bit bland compared to the more interesting characters played by Joe Don Baker and Bernie Casey. Joe Don Baker is a gunfighter with a crippled arm, and he's got some mental issues to give the character some lively scenes. Bernie Casey is really good in the movie as Cassie, but most of his scenes are him dealing with the racism of the era. The oddest thing about the movie is that the only actor returning from a previous M7 film is Fernando Rey, who had a small part of a priest in Return of the Seven. Here he's the revolutionary Quintero, and he has substantially less to do in this film than he did the last, mainly due to the fact that his character is held prison for a majority of the films run time.

Random thing: as of this writing, Guns is the film in the series that has the highest number of surviving actors that played the seven. At least 4* are still alive, as opposed to only 1 actor from each of the first two films still being alive and 3 from the final film.

I'll say this: it's better than Return. It has some problems, mainly pacing issues, but it's not bad and pretty enjoyable. The change to a rescue/jail break plot rather than another protection scenario helped livened things up, and even though it's a bit predictable. It's fun but not essential.

*Baker, Casey, Markham, and Santoni. I have no clue is Scott Thomas is still alive, when I try to look all I can find is results about Kristen Scott Thomas and another Scott Thomas that runs Asylum Films.

No comments:

Post a Comment