Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969) starring George Kennedy, James Whitmore, Monte Markham, Reni Santoni, Bernie Casey, Scott Thomas, Joe Don Baker, Tony Davis directed by Paul Wendkos Movie Review

Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969)   2/52/52/52/52/5

George Kennedy as Chris in Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969)

Guns of the Meagre Seven

Well after what can only be described as a poor and inferior sequel we then got the third of what would end up as 4 "Magnificent Seven" movies with "Guns of the Magnificent Seven". You would have thought after the glaringly obvious mistakes which occurred in "Return of the Magnificent Seven" that they would have learned but unfortunately not because this third movie makes all the same mistakes, a few more and is barely on par with that disappointing second movie.

When a revolutionary Mexican leader is thrown into prison by a tyrannical Army captain, one of his followers heads out to get help to rescue him. Having found legendary gun man Chris (George Kennedy - The Sons of Katie Elder) and persuaded him to help, Chris puts together a new group of 7 gun men to help him on his rescue mission.

James Whitmore in Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969)

Before even mentioning the storyline, action or anything else one of the biggest issues this time around is that with Yul Brynner choosing not to return they didn't do the sensible thing and replace his character, no instead we got George Kennedy taking over the role of Chris. Big mistake and not just because with a full head of hair George Kennedy looks nothing like Yul Brynner. The icy, cool gunslinger in black is synonymous with Brynner and it just makes it all feel wrong, even though George Kennedy does little wrong and shows his skills as an actor.

What also is a major issue with "Guns of the Magnificent Seven" is the storyline which although gives us a new issue, another Mexican drama where they need the help of some gun fighters to help them fight a brutal Army and rescue their leader is really no different to what we have seen before. So it goes through those phases, the set up of the Mexicans needing help, one of them going off to find Chris where upon he puts together a group of misfit gun fighters and so on. There isn't anything new at all as it works through the formula set out in the first movie and in fact it almost feels identical as the various gun fighters picked all have skills and issues reminiscent of those in "The Magnificent Seven".

Piling on the misery is that there is no excitement; the drama feels restrained the action even more so. Even when we get to the big finale there is nothing special or thrilling about it, leading to even more disappointment. And then there is the sadistic Army captain who inflicts pain on those he captures, dragging them behind horses, burying them in the ground so only their heads are showing, yet whilst a dramatic idea it never really delivers the drama.

Plus of course there is the acting and whilst none of it is bad, none of it is in the least bit memorable either, even George Kennedy who whilst solid is plainly wrong because he's no Yul Brynner. Actually it's quite amusing that many of the characters are similar to those in the original movie with Monte Markham doing his best Steve McQueen impression as Keno and James Whitmore taking on the fatherly role as Levi who befriends a young Mexican. The trouble is that none of them really are memorable and lack the star power that made the first movie so impressive.

Yet again what helps "Guns of the Magnificent Seven" seem better than it is, is the wonderful Elmer Bernstein score which crops up and gives it an energy which the storyline fails to do.

What this all boils down to is that "Guns of the Magnificent Seven" is yet again another inferior sequel which never gets close to delivering the magic of "The Magnificent Seven". It's riddled with issues with George Kennedy taking over the role of Chris being one of the biggest, but the biggest issue is that it lacks the excitement and star power which was a huge reason as to why "The Magnificent Seven" was so great.