The Magnificent Seven Reviews
Because the source material is so good and with the talents of Yul Brynner (wow: even Daniel Day-Lewis gets chills at that stare) and Steve McQueen, it's difficult that any director could screw this film up. The story is elementally compelling, and the action sequences are well-choreographed. The only issue that Kurosawa did not have to contend with that makes The Magnificent Seven problematic is race. In the Western version of the story, the seven gunfighters are white coming in to save Mexican villagers from being terrorized by Mexican bandits. In this way the film deploys the Hollywood trope of the "great white savior," and this added dimension gives the film a difficulty that it didn't face in the original.
Overall, this is an excellent film, but nothing beats the original.
Yul Brynner is solid in the lead role. Brynner, Steve McQueen and James Coburn define the word cool as they go about their various exploits before and after they join forces. McQueen and Coburn are men of few words, but of fierce action when necessary. Charles Bronson does his best with a pretty mushy storyline involving the youth of the village. Horst Buchholz overacts feverishly as a determined, but inexperienced youth. Vaughn seems a tad out of place and has one major ham moment during a nightmare.
Chris: One thing I don't need is somebody telling me my problem.
Vin: Like I said before, that's your problem. You got involved in this village and the people in it.
Chris: Do you ever get tired of hearing yourself talk?
A solid Western remake of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. It takes, for its time, a big name cast and put them all together for a movie about codes of honor, reflection, as well as gunfights and macho coolness. Strong chemistry from within the cast, some solid gunplay, and a good amount of fun.
A bandit, played by Eli Wallach, terrorizes a small Mexican farming village each year. Several of the village elders send three of the farmers into the United States to search for gunmen to defend them. They end up with seven, each of whom comes for a different reason. They must prepare the town to repulse an army of over 100 bandits who will arrive wanting food.
The seven includes: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Brad Dexter, Charles Bronson, and a new kid who really wants to be a good cowboy.
The film does a good job at taking on the challenge of competing with a film as legendary as Seven Samurai and making it its own. While it follows most of the same beats, this is still a good western take on that story.
It helps that the cast is great. Brynner and McQueen fighting for lead status. James Coburn being incredibly cool. And particular notice from me goes to Charles Bronson, who is really effective at imbuing his character with pathos.
As this is a Hollywood western, there's no Ennio Morricone to be found this time around, but the legendary score by Elmer Bernstein is more than enough to satisfy me. It all goes really well with a lot of very good filmmaking at play here.
Great film all around.
Calvera: What I don't understand is why a man like you took the job in the first place, hmm? Why, huh?
Chris: I wonder myself.
Calvera: No, come on, come on, tell me why.
Vin: It's like a fellow I once knew in El Paso. One day, he just took all his clothes off and jumped in a mess of cactus. I asked him that same question, "Why?"
Vin: He said, "It seemed to be a good idea at the time."
An oppressed Mexican peasant village assembles seven gunfighters to help defend their homes.
You cannot consider "The Magnficent Seven" to be an entirely original production on account of the fact that it's simply a remake of Akira Kurosawa's epic "Seven Samurai" just set in 19th century North America. But you cannot consider it to be a rip-off either, for it is it's own film in its own right. Yul Brynner was definitely not the first choice of any Western film producer, and in this case, he was a very unique choice for the leading role. This does not make him ill-suited for the part, though. He's cast along with other famous names such as Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn. "The Magnificent Seven" is also noteworthy for its unusually intense, and sometimes bloody, battle sequences. All Westerns feature gunfights to some degree, but "Seven" has fights that are grittier, more unpredictable, and more violent. And they still hold out well today as entertaining to state the very least.