Originally titled Return of the Seven, Return of the Magnificent Seven was made during an era that invested little sequels. This 1966 release defines the quick-buck retread mentality of Hollywood studios at the time. The only returning cast member from the 1960 classic is Yul Brynner as the kindly cowboy Chris Adams. As in the original, Chris is called upon to liberate the same small Mexican village from more villainous bandits. He puts together a posse, including Vin (Robert Fuller, filling in poorly for Steve McQueen), to combat the bad guys.
The situation is more personal for Chris and Vin this time, as their old buddy Chico (Julien Mateos this time, taking over for Horst Buchholz) still lives in the village with his wife. The villains are herding up the men of the village to force them into slave labor. As in the first film, Chris and company have their work cut out for them as they are greatly outnumbered by the bandits. Brynner seems to be sleepwalking this time around, and the supporting cast just isn’t given anything interesting to do or say. And even Chico’s wife Petra has been replaced by a different actress (swapping Elisa Montes for the original’s Rosenda Monteros), further evidence of just how little continuity mattered to the filmmakers.
Simply put, this sequel will appeal to the most undiscerning of Western movie fans. There are many folks who simply enjoy the Old West setting, shoot-outs, galloping horses, and scenic vistas (Spain in this specific case). But I honestly don’t understand why anyone would prefer to watch this warmed-over bore instead of the the original. No matter how many times you’ve seen The Magnificent Seven, it outshines this redux. Brynner is in much better company, surrounded by star power including Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and Robert Vaughn. And the plot, not very complex to begin with, works much better the first time around.