- Directed by Paul Wendkos
- May 28, 1969
Chris Adams gathers together another group this time to free a Mexican revolutionary and fight a sadistic Mexican army officer.
Being somewhat disappointed with Return of the Seven, I went into this a bit hesitant but I’m pleased to say it is a better film than its predecessor and while no The Magnificent Seven, it is a much better follow up to that movie than Return of the Seven was.
Not only do we get an entirely new group of fighters but we also get a new Chris Adams this time around as played by George Kennedy. George Kennedy was a very good actor. This is a hill I WILL die on. When he did good he was real good not only in his overall acting skills but in his choice of parts. The problem comes in when he did a movie for a paycheck which all actors do he did some real crappy stuff. For every Cool Hand Luke of even Naked Gun, there was an Uninvited.
His version of Chris Adams is a just man but also cold and stern. He is an excellent judge of character and an individual of justice. And by the end of this movie, he realizes there are things worth fighting for and that you shouldn’t take money for doing them.
James Whitmore is aging/retired hired gun Levi Morgan who as retired with a family but takes the job because he is hard up for cash. Monte Markham plays Keno who is essentially this film’s Vin Tanner. Joe Don Baker is Matt Slater who is a one-armed man forced to make a living as a sharpshooter in a sideshow. The great Bernie Casey is former slave Cassie and clashes with Slater. Reni Santoni is villager Max who joins because he feels he must. Scott Thomas is wrangler P.J. Scurlock who is suffering from tuberculosis. They are all brought together when Max seeks out Chris in order to free his friend and revolutionary Quintero (Fernando Rey) who has been captured.
Levi forms a bond with a young boy named Emiliano Zapata (Tony Davis as a child version of the historical figure). That always gets weird with me. I guess it is to establish a time period for events and make fictional individuals feel real but it rarely works.
Michael Ansara is the intelligent and sadistic Colonel Diego who is the main threat of the story. Ansara was always good on the screen no matter how questionable whatever he was doing was. He had a regal, commanding demeanor and a voice that just made him sound tough. Though they don’t show it there’s one shocking scene where in order to get some information out of a man he has a bunch of prisoners buried up to their necks in the dirt and when he doesn’t get what he wants his men trample them with horses. This is also the scene where Chris changes the most and takes on the good fight not for the money but because it is the right thing to do.
Guns of the Magnificent Seven takes its time to build up the characters as well as the situation which is a variation of what they did in the first film. I’m not going to call this film completely original but because it takes its time and crafts the characters and their relationships it becomes something much more special. Not only that but the talent is much better here. I even give kudos to Joe Don Baker who while a competent actor has not had the strongest filmography.
This movies main drawback is it’s done on the slightly cheap. I’m not talking like bargain basement even for the time. They keep the shots a little tight and some of that stuff appears to be done because they need to move forward but didn’t have the budget for what they actually wanted to do. It does not detract overall from the film or the story. Like I said it’s a talented cast and their fine acting brings things up.
Guns of the Magnificent Seven is the follow up that the original should have received first. With a strong cast and strong characters and an exciting finish it is worthy of the name.