All Stand Together Part 2 (Return of the Seven,1966)

Return_of_the_Magnificent_Seven_PosterChico settled down in the village that the Seven defended years before and now they face a new threat by Rancher Lorca.  He has kidnapped the town’s men to force them into labor.

The town seeks the help of Chris and Vin (Vin now played by Robert Fuller) who assemble a new crew to help the town.

I do not have a tremendous amount to say about this one.  I like Yul Brynner’s (the only holdover from the original) Chris, but Robert Fuller is not Steve McQueen. And making the setting the same village instead of making them a heroic force for a new group (an orphanage or something? I don’t know).

The most notable thing to me about this movie is that the screenplay is by the 70’s/80’s horror director Larry Cohen.  But this is a pretty lifeless script.

Uncontrollable (The Wild Bunch, 1969)

Wild_Bunch_PosterPike Bishop and his gang are hoping to retire.  They plan a last big score, but are betrayed by ex-partner Deke Thorton.  The last remaining survivors of the gang make the run to Mexico.

Staying in the hometown of gang member Angel, they find the town ruled by the cruel and brutal General Mapache. Their planned heist goes wrong and they run afoul of Mapache.

The over arching theme of the Wild Bunch is the death of the time of Outlaws.  None of our characters are “heroes”.  Holden’s Pike is a man who has lived outside of the law, and has reached a point where he has grown tired of it.  But the reality is, the life of an outlaw is not one that allows you to exit gracefully.

The Wild Bunch is vicious and violent, but also an absolutely memorable western.  Holden turns in a great world weary performance.  He wants out, but getting out is not an easy road.

Visually, Peckinpah and his team built the film around rapid fire edits that combined normal and slow motion footage. This makes for a visually compelling technique.

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