After having seen The Seven Samurai for the first time only two months back, I have to admit watching its western cousin The Magnificent Seven felt a little…perfunctory. That’s not to say it’s a bad movie. In fact, it’s pretty good. But as with any remake of a classic film that doesn’t tread too far from the original source material, it’s a little bit of an exercise in redundancy, like tracing the brush strokes of a master painter with a duller color paint.
The transition from East to West, from poor Japanese village to poor Mexican village, from hired samurai to hired gunslingers is smooth enough. The plot stays pretty much the same as Seven Samurai, so I won’t bother with the recap. It’s the performances that make this worth watching.
But I do have a bone to pick with one of “the Seven.” Who thought it would be a good idea to cast Horst Buchholz as the seventh gunmen, basically the Toshiro Mifune part? Was somebody owed a favor? Was this funded partially by German money? IMDB claims this guy was the “German James Dean.” More like the German James Van Der Beek.