THE PLOT THUS FAR
When a bandit leader wants to build a church in memory of his dead sons, he raids three Mexican villages and kidnaps all the men for labour. One of these men is Chico, formerly of the original Magnificent Seven. His wife Petra immediately sets out to look for Chris and Vin, the other surviving members of the Seven. Chris recruits four others (a playboy, an avenger, a highwayman and an orphan) to reform the Seven, once again defending farmers from their oppressors.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
The most interesting thing about Return is how hard the makers tried to make it like the original. They were largely successful. Burt Kennedy’s direction is good and recreates the visual feel of the original. Of course, Bernstein’s score highlights the film. The story, different in particulars, is goes through essentially the same stages: armed men attack the village, the call for help, the gathering of the seven, traveling to the village, defying the villain, the first attack beaten off, a pause where we get to know the characters and their motivations better, the final attack. The only difference is that the villagers do not ‘betray’ their protectors, as in the Magnificent Seven. A character even sneaks into the enemy camp in much the same fashion as in the earlier movie.
The real weakness of the sequel is the script. Along with the excellent acting and music, the dialogue in the first film was very well written and something of a departure from earlier westerns. It was terse, oftentimes funny, filled with meaning. In Return the delivery and the tone is the same, but the words spoken so solemnly are utterly commonplace and with no humor. Robert Fuller would have been a good replacement for McQueen, but the character is written completely differently and is far less interesting.
The Blu-Ray comes with no special features. But, you get an insanely good transfer with a high bitrate of 27 MBPS on an AVC encode. Other studios wouldn’t dare cut such an amazing transfer for a second tier western. Still, the DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track wasn’t mixed that well, as most of the sound effects are stuffed in the front channels. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!