It’s not the prequel to Oceans Eleven, but coincidentally it is from the same year. The Magnificent Seven is a Western remake of Kurosawa’s 1954 film, Seven Samurai.
In this 1960 version, seven gunslingers from America are hired to protect a small Mexican village from local bandits.
The ensemble cast led by Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen is not quite a sum of its parts. While McQueen and Charles Bronson boast strong performances, Brynner displays one of his weaker ones.
It’s odd, considering director John Sturges does an excellent job with McQueen film, The Great Escape, three years later. It’s as though these two films have a different director entirely. Or maybe the script is just not quite as strong. Evidence mostly points to the latter.
The plot is stretched far too thin, and the ending is not quite as climactic as we want it to be. Every once in awhile, they’ll throw us a nice line or two, but overall, the dialogue is weak. Much of the film is slow and boring, only to be saved by either McQueen or Bronson–who are as good as ever.
Also, the two leads, Brynner and McQueen have absolutely no chemistry. The writers try several times to bolster their relationship, but to no avail.
It’s not all bad. The premise is intriguing, and it gives us nice characters to root for. The production value is top-notch for the time. The set pieces are impressive, as are the shootouts. And we can’t forget about the score, which is one for the ages–granting the movie some extra points. But they’re not enough to save this disjointed film. It’s a part of history, and I could see it being impressive back in 1960, but it hardly holds up well today.