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Ghost Canyon

'Return of Magnificent Seven' [Blu-ray]
(Yul Brynner, Robert Fuller, Julian Mateos, Warren Oates, Claude Akins, et al / Blu ray / NR / (1966) 2011 / MGM)

Overview: Yul Brynner returns to lead a new band of gunfighters in this sequel to the classic Magnificent Seven, which delivers enough Western action to please genre fans. Return has Brynner's Chris recruiting a new Seven to rescue original member Chico (Julian Mateos, replacing Horst Buchholz), who has been kidnapped by a bandit (Emilio Fernandez).

Blu ray Verdict: Well, in truth we all know this one had the odds stacked against it from the very start. It was the sequel to one of the best known of all westerns and most of the stellar cast from the original film didn't even return. But, scenery wise, it was shot in Spain at the start of the spaghetti western cycle so at least it had that going for it!

But guess what, it is still a great deal of fun and works, if its taken on its own merits. Or put more simply, there could be worse ways to spend two hours than spinning 'Return Of The Magnificent Seven' on your Blu ray player.

Yul Brynner, he of the bald head and steely stare, is the only one of the original seven to return (this film's original title was 'Return Of The Seven' - it didn't even have the word magnificent in it) and director Burt Kennedy is in no way in the same league as John Sturges, who helmed the original.

'Return of Magnificent Seven' was made six years after the original, but is set 10 years after the events of that film. Chico (played in the original by Horst Buchholz and by Julián Mateos in this sequel) is happily settled in the village when his idyllic life is shattered by the men of rich landlord Francisco Lorca (Emilio Fernández), who kidnaps hundreds of men to rebuild a church as a memorial to his dead son.

Chico's wife tracks down Chris (Yul Brynner) and seeks his help. Chris teams up with old pal Vin (played here by Robert Fuller) and rounds up four more men (okay they aren't a patch on the original seven, but Claude Akins and Warren Oates are pretty solid) for the rescue mission. And the seventh man? Well that's Chico.

That leads to the climactic shootout, and things lead up to it pretty speedily, with a few pitstops in between to reveal the back-story between Chris and Lorca. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.