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Return of the Seven (1966)  

Review: written 2007

Interesting, but far from essential Western sequel

From the original in 1960, 6 years passed before this sequel appeared. Yul Brynner returned, but Steve McQueen, by this time a rising star, did not. The replacement Robert Fuller in the role McQueen made his own, is a gaping black hole with all the charisma and conviction sucked out, a flaw from which the movie does not recover. This movie is less heroic than the first - 10 years have passed and Chris and Vin have become melancholic as the West they know disappears, and the life they know with it. However, they find themselves going back to rescue their friend from the same village featured in the first movie. It is a bit of a stretch of a plot to wring out a sequel - the problem is that this sequel has nowhere to go... however it does make a stab at advancing the characters, while not shirking on the final gunfight, and Brynner has his moments of redeeming the others in his band as the journey progresses. Ironically the director, well known for TV but not theatrical movies, went on to film another TV sequel to a John Sturges movie - The Great Escape II.

It all makes for a curiosity for completists, but it’s not essential viewing by any means.

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