The Lone Ranger (1956) Review


So far the Lone Ranger has not had a very good track record with the movies. I wasn’t particularly a fan of the other two versions I saw but seeing as how this is one of the original versions of the character, maybe it would have more potential. Fortunately that did turn out to be the case and in fact I would say it’s way better than the other two. I wouldn’t say it’s great but it will keep your attention more than the others.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the Lone Ranger and his partner Tonto grilling someone about the recent talk of Indians with saddled horses going around and committing crimes. There is currently a treaty in the land so that the Indians and settlers respect each others turf but this group appears to be ignoring it. The guy doesn’t know anything but refers the heroes to town. There, the governor asks the duo to take a look into this since they are the only ones he can trust. Tonto and the Ranger solemnly promise to look things over and see that justice is served.

This is one of those films where there are not a lot of likable characters on either side though. The Indians are led by Red Hawk, a man who has helped the Ranger many times in the past but he is now getting old and is slowly trying to step down as leader. The main issue is that his replacement is quite eager for battle and would jump into a war as soon as possible. If this were to happen then casualties would be unavoidable and that’s not something either side wants. Still, Red Hawk confirms that none of his men would do such a thing.

As for the guy stirring up a lot of trouble, his name is Kilgore. He’s the guy who keeps reporting these crimes but of course aside from him and his men there aren’t many witnesses. There’s certainly no time to catch any of these guys so it really becomes a battle of words which is not ideal for getting to the truth of the matter. He wants to raise his daughter as if she was his son so that she can inherit the ranch and all of his belongings someday.

Kilgore’s wife isn’t happy about this but he basically threatens her to stay silent on this. Given that this guy is a complete mob boss who isn’t above murdering just about anyone, it’s not exactly easy to get him to back down either. Of course he needs to watch his back since one of his men, Cassidy is a bit of a loose cannon. The tables can easily turn in this kind of thing.

But at the end of the day they are your classic wild west villains. There isn’t anything particularly cool about these villains. They want to grab a lot of land and conquer as much of it as possible. There isn’t really anything to their development beyond that so I wouldn’t really consider them to be all that interesting.

As for the Lone Ranger himself, it is interesting how his secret identity is that of an old man. It’s an interesting angle but it defeats the purpose when he then shows himself right afterwards. I feel like with an identity like that you need to keep it on ice a bit longer and put some distance between both of your personas so that nobody will suspect anything. If you just appear back to back then it’s very suspicious.

As an old man I suppose he intends to get people to lower their guards. It works once but as an old man instead it makes the others feel bolder at times like when the Ranger attempts to interrogate a store owner. Lets just say that it did not work in the slightest. The Ranger has a cool scene where he shoots the rope before the town can hang Tonto though.

Long Ranger is a serviceable lead. He’s not the most interesting guy I’ve seen but he’s not bad either. He wants to fight for justice and get everyone to the right outcome. It’s a classic kind of character personality. The Lone Ranger doesn’t really add anything to it, but he doesn’t take it away either so it all ends up balancing out in the end.

As for Tonto, he certainly takes a lot of the risks here. Keep in mind that all of the villains are trying to eradicate the Indians so the Lone Ranger sending Tonto on a solo mission deep into enemy territory was very risky. If the horse didn’t alert the Ranger in time he definitely would have been too late. Tonto definitely had to risk it all in order to claim victory. He fought well too, but nobody can be expected to defeat a whole town. The Ranger definitely gives his allies tough missions like that though. The instant he asks a man named Ramirez to help him out, you’ll be a little worried for that guy.

Back to Tonto’s mission though, this is really where the Sheriff looked pretty bad. He talked tough throughout the movie but when it was crunch time he ultimately faltered. He just watched as this guy was about to be hanged and didn’t do anything. The leader of the relations office tried helping so I’d give him a lot more credit than the Sheriff. It’s just hard to come back from that.

The music in the film was pretty catchy. The Lone Ranger’s alter ego had a fun enough theme. I suppose the classic hero theme has also aged well over the years. So all in all, you’ve got a pretty decent combo there. I dare say that the music is a little better than I expected. The writing is on point as well. It’s a fairly chipper adventure although at the same time, the film can certainly get serious when it wants to be. It manages both genres well.

There isn’t as much action as you might expect though. The Ranger does get to have a fist fight with Red Hawk but that’s about it. Beyond that you just have a few gunfights here and there. Surprisingly the Ranger even gets bested in one of those fights near the end. I was definitely not expecting him to get shot in the chest. At the same time, I was not expecting him to tell Killgore where his wife was hiding so the Lone Ranger really liked to surprise me.

Overall, The Lone Ranger is a franchise that tends to not really be my speed because I’m not big into the Wild West or any of the old eras like that. That said, I think this film captured the essence of the franchise a lot more than the newer films. It had enough fun dialogue and character moments to keep me entertained. I wouldn’t say there is a lot of replay value here though. If you pit it against a lot of other classic films then it would lose but on its own the film really isn’t bad. It could stand to have a little more action but it does the job if you want something quick to watch.

Overall 6/10

The Quick and the Dead Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

The Wild West genre usually isn’t really my thing. It tends to usually squeeze in some animal violence with the horses and the setting isn’t as exciting as having a lot of cool buildings or things of that nature. A lot of the villains tend to be rather crude as well. This film does a good job of avoiding a lot of those possible errors by making this a tournament setting and the approach works well for the most part. Unfortunately the film stepped in one land mine near the end that shaved a few points off. It’s always rough when you trip right by the finish line.

The movie starts off with Ellen riding into town. She’s just in time for a big tournament that is held here as per tradition. The prize is a lot of money so Ellen enters but is money really all that she wants? Naturally the leader of the town John will be entering as well. His son “The Kid” decides to enter to prove to his father that he really is the best. Then you have Cort, a preacher who has renounced violence but is forced to enter. Then you have a bunch of other guys including the crude Eugene, the immortal Spotted Horse, Ace the bragger, and Clay a mysterious professional. This is one tournament that will involve a lot of fatalities so the heroes better be ready. You either land the first blow or it’s game over.

It’s been a while since I’ve watched a tournament film. Sure I’ve seen some tournaments but it’s rare that they take up the entire film. That was a good idea on the film’s part because who doesn’t like a tournament right? The gun fights are on point so each match is pretty exciting. The countdowns to the draw are dramatic as well. In effect the film managed to capture the most exciting parts of a Western while shedding the weaker elements.

There isn’t enough time to give every competitor a big role but they all stand out in their own ways. Take Ace. The guy brags a whole lot but you know that he is doomed once John reveals the truth of his past. The writing in the film is pretty solid for the most part with a lot of intense dialogue. Clay’s backstory is also intense as he’s a guy mostly wrapped in shadow whose skills are the real deal.

Then you have Spotted Horse who believes himself to be bullet proof. He also is very skilled with a gun so he makes for a powerful antagonist. The worst competitor here is Eugene by far. Unfortunately he wasn’t content to merely be a bad character and did drag the film down with him. He has a small subplot where he is going after a little girl in town throughout. Ellen steps in a few times but unfortunately can’t be everywhere at once and also has to save Cort at times.

Eugene ends up catching the girl and that plot’s just terrible. Eugene is quickly taken care of afterwards but the damage is done both to the film and to the characters in-universe. It’s the kind of dark plot/scene that is completely out of place here. We understand that this guy was a true villain and that the town’s an awful place to live. You don’t have to go out of your way to make things even darker. I would say that single handily took 3 stars off the score.

It’s the kind of scene that immediately destroys any possible replay value as well. It’s a shame because the tournament set up was so good but you really just can’t get past that kind of moment. Eugene should have just been cut out of the film if anything and just throw in a random minion or something for the next fight.

Then we have Cort who is a pacifist but that’s usually an annoying trait in these things. It means that the villains spend all film pushing him around and the guy can never really fight back. By the time he is ready to fight it’s not like he is really in a position to do so anymore. He’s a nice guy but it’s annoying to see him as a sandbag the whole time.

Next is the Kid and he made for a fun character. He’s definitely confident and this is well deserved with how good his gun skills are. In the film he can certainly compete with any of the other fighters. One scene that was a bit much though is when he has a one night stand with the main heroine Ellen. Considering that every scene prior to that was her talking him down or insulting him, it didn’t make any sense that things escalated like this.

It felt like a quick way to cram in some last second romance to check a box off but even then it’s more of an affair than a true romance. I dunno, the scene was just completely out of place and also felt out of character for Ellen. Definitely would have been good to leave that scene on the cutting block. All in all Kid was a charismatic fighter though.

Then there’s John who is the main villain here. This guy was a lot of fun. You can see where Kid gets his confidence from. John’s rules the place with an iron fist and fears nobody. That’s because he knows that he can take out any other fighter if he so desires. That’s the kind of confidence you have at the top and his skills never dulled.

Finally there’s Ellen. She’s a solid heroine who is all business. Ellen has a tough personality and doesn’t even entertain the other fighter’s ideas. She just wants to win the tournament. As you can probably guess it has more to do with her origin than the money. I do think that considering her true goal, she had dozens of opportunities to pull it off though. I suppose most of them would end up with her being dead afterwards but it didn’t seem like she really minded dying in the process. To an extent I suppose this is true for just about all gun films though where you figure they can just shoot the villain at any point.

Overall, The Quick and the Dead is a very different kind of Western film. The fact that there is a tournament at all is just pretty cool. The movie does a good job of juggling all the characters. I suppose the tradeoff is that the bigger the cast, the more likely you are to add one that messes things up which is basically what happened here. If you can get past that one scene and all the dark baggage it brings with it then it could be worth checking out but otherwise check out FF VII Advent Children instead for a movie that lands the ending while also having a large part take place in a wild west environment.

Overall 4/10

The Fastest Gun Alive Review


It’s fairly rare to have a western without much travelling or gunfights but The Fastest Gun Alive manages to pull this off pretty well. It’s more of a down to Earth story about a guy trying to walk away from the business. Unfortunately the main character doesn’t end up being a likable character though as he makes the wrong decisions consistently throughout the movie. The movie survives despite him though and it’s a pretty solid experience. You’ll be kept interested throughout.

The movie starts off with the main villain Vinnie searching for a man named Fallon. Fallon is said to be the fastest gun around. Well, Vinnie takes him down in a gun fight and is now satisfied as the best. Meanwhile, news travels around to a small town where everyone is fascinated by the idea of someone being this fast. This annoys George because he is actually a very good gunman, but he doesn’t let anyone know it. He prefers to live as a very meek shop owner who just minds his business. The issue is that this all starts to get to him more and more. Will he remain strong or is it time to show everyone what he’s got?

Needless to say, George definitely doesn’t stay strong and quickly tries to prove himself to everyone. Part of what makes the character annoying is that he lets everyone get to him rather easily. He doesn’t help matters either by deciding not to dance or constantly going out on walks instead of actually minding the store. He basically leaves all of the work to his wife Dora. We find out later on that George also lied to her about getting rid of his gun when he kept it the whole time. He just made every kind of mistake possible and either got drunk easy after his half a cup or his desperation made him drunk. Either way he definitely did not look good during the whole saloon scene where he is making fun of everyone.

I can maybe get past that except then at the end he is too afraid to go out and fight Vinnie when the villain hears about this. Not only is this directly George’s fault for showing off but he is willing to let the entire town burn if it means that he doesn’t have to fight. It makes sense that some people don’t want t fight in a gun battle of course and George would usually have the right to refuse a challenge but not in this circumstance. It’s only when another member of the town tries to go in his place that George finally works up the courage to act. A lead who wants to be recognized but then immediately regrets it is just too wishy washy to be a quality lead. He should have just been content with the life he had with Dora. She did her best to help out and he wasn’t grateful.

Meanwhile Dora is a solid character. She does her best to keep George on the straight and narrow but at the end of the day she has her limits too and made sure to hold her ground. Moving again wasn’t going to be an option for her. She definitely didn’t support the gun business in the slightest. As for the rest of the town, they all seemed pretty friendly except for one guy who was always getting on George with some passive aggressive comments. It’s clear that the guy had some strong views about guns but at the very least that’s as far as he went. With the rest of the town seeming pretty supportive to me I still say George had a great gig here that he was willing to blow for a few minutes of fame. Even the older man who kept recounting the story about the gunfight was having a good time. It was a pretty thrilling experience for him so why not enjoy it a lot right?

We get one long dance scene in the film where one teen gets to show off his moves. It feels like the potential start to a romance subplot that never actually happens. I feel like there was more that was cut out from the film or something. Still, it’s a pretty solid scene because the moves are quite impressive. He’s able to use all of the objects in the room to his advantage with some tight footwork and clearly he has spent a lot of time honing his skills at the barn. So while the entire scene is really filler to be honest, it’s a pretty fun scene to watch. I’d say it even beats a lot of the more classic dancing scenes you would typically see because this felt more like an athletic exhibition.

Meanwhile Vinnie was a solid main villain. He has an honor code which I like and he was also smart enough to make sure that none of the other two villains would stab him in the back. The guy’s gun skills were also the real deal so he makes for a very complete villain. The icing on the top was the fact that he has a good honor code where he doesn’t attack kids or dogs. You really couldn’t ask for much more out of a quality villain like this. There is a lot of build up to his big fight with George and it makes for an epic way to end off the movie. The ending to the film is quite solid and a great way to wrap things up.

The writing in the movie is on point as you would probably expect. The dialogue is pretty strong and there are a lot of quality discussions the whole time like deciding how to handle the situation with Vinnie getting ready to burn the town. I may not have liked George but he was still written well and never got crazy or anything like that. All of the characters are pretty reasonable and even minor characters like Vinnie’s right hand man get some personality in their brief appearances.

Overall, The Fastest Gun Alive is a solid western film. I like the idea of several characters all fighting it out to prove that they are the fastest. It’s a title they clearly all want to own since it’s a matter of pride. Even George was more into it than he would let on. At the same time as a blind character in the movie said, there is always someone faster. Your opponent could have a jammed gun like someone else mentioned or maybe just a bad day. In a gun draw where both characters quickly try to fire off their shot, there are a lot of ways that things may not plan out as you figured. Every bit of speed comes in handy in those ties though. I would definitely recommend checking this film out if you like the Wild West. It’s an all around solid title.

Overall 7/10

The War Wagon Review


Usually I’m not a big fan of westerns. You do have some that end up being quite good but I find that the average one just doesn’t work too well. A lot of times the characters aren’t super likable and they usually end up hunting some animals in the desert. Well, this one ended up being pretty solid. The War Wagon really manages to grab all of the good Western aspects while dropping the bad ones. It’s just a very solid all around film that could have even jumped up to great status if you cut out one subplot that was holding it back.

The movie starts with Taw getting out of jail early and heading to his home town. He’s still upset because a rich crook named Frank ended up framing Taw and then stealing his land along with all of the gold. The guy is now extremely rich while Taw effectively has nothing left. Frank has an entire army now and basically rules the whole town. Taw isn’t going to let him get away with this, no chance. That said, he will need to get some men to help him out. The issue with just attacking Frank is that Frank has something called the War Wagon. Effectively it’s a tank that stores the gold and it is always guarded by about 50 men. Taw will need to recruit a few other fighters to help him out.

It goes the Magnificent Seven route in that respect as he has to get a bunch of people to help out. By far the biggest character is Lomax though. Lomax was an assassin sent to destroy Taw by Frank but fortunately Taw made a better deal. It’s good because while both characters do get a lot of hype here, I personally thought it was pretty clear from the start that Lomax is the most skilled gunfighter in the film. It’s why he has earned such a good living from taking out targets and everyone gives him a lot of respect. Lomax is also the best character in the film, any scene with him is bound to be a lot of fun. It just wouldn’t be the same without him.

The banter with Lomax and Taw is solid and easily one of the strengths of the film. Additionally the gunfights are pretty solid here as well. There aren’t a whole lot of them but when they arrive they are worth the wait. One solid scene is when two underlings of Frank decide to bag the two heroes themselves. It didn’t exactly go well for them. In a gunfight on its surface you may figure that anyone can get a good win since all you need is one clean shot but that’s why the quickdraw is so important. The main characters can draw with lightning speed.

With two solid main characters supported by good writing and action you can already tell that the film was going to be good. Lets talk about the characters which are more of a mixed bag here. Frank is a solid main villain. He may not be much of a fighter but I thought he was actually pretty smart. The idea of a War Wagon is actually really good and he was careful with his money. He wasn’t taking any risks and was also quick to hire an assassin on his side. If Lomax wasn’t on the take, he probably would have won the film during the bar scene. That was definitely a fun fight I should say and a highlight of the movie. The film even has fun parodying the whole “battle music starts” kind of intro. You hear piano music start to play when the brawl begins but then the camera pans out and we see that someone was playing the piano who quickly gets booted off.

One of the worst characters in the film had to be a guy named Billy. For starters he is a chronic drunk who constantly puts the entire team in danger. Even after being warned several times he still goes to get drunk immediately. The guy keeps on pulling off this nonsense and so by the end there’s no way to find him even remotely likable. When the stakes are this high with the goal being riches beyond imagination, you’d think that you would be able to hold out for a few more days or as long as it takes right?

Then you have Wes who actually is the worst character. His subplot is the one that absolutely didn’t need to be in the film. Effectively he bought Kate to be his wife who basically had to agree due to the money. Not only is this plot completely out of place but it adds nothing to the story. It’s also unfortunate that the main characters are even working with him. Some characters like the drunk you can understand. They aren’t heroic but at least they’re still here for the cash and aren’t acting overtly evil. Wes was really a waste of time here and the sooner he left the better. Pretty much any scene with him is brutal.

Levi was good though. He came in clutch on multiple occasions such as striking the deal with a nearby tribe to help Taw and also helping him out at the bar. Levi even helped reduce tensions with Lomax when the guy wanted more money. Now this is a character who really pulled his weight and without him the team would have been in serious trouble. That’s why the characters are more hit and miss. I’d have definitely been cool with the whole group not really being formed and this being more of a quick buddy cop adventure with Lomax and Taw trying to pull off a big heist. Their banter would certainly go a long way.

Overall, The War Wagon is a solid film that really flies by. I would say one of its strengths here is that it’s just a fun adventure with a lot of replay value. Even the smaller scenes like the heroes debating at the bar can be pretty fun or Lomax having to stall for time as he gets Billy knocked out. It’s certainly not a perfect western but I would say it passes the bar of being pretty good rather easily. If you like the genre then I’m sure you’ll like this movie. It’s got all the fundamentals that you could hope for and then some.

Overall 7/10

The Legend of the Lone Ranger Review


It’s time to look at another adaption of the Lone Ranger. Unfortunately this movie was not good. In fact, I’d say it was a bad movie. I’ve certainly seen much worse and I wouldn’t say it’s terrible or anything like that but it’s just not that engaging, interesting, or fun. It really doesn’t do much to make you think of the Lone Ranger as a solid franchise or anything like that. Ultimately it just drives you away from the franchise entirely. Maybe someday they will make a good Lone Ranger film but perhaps the series just doesn’t translate well into cinema without mixing up the plot a bit. Throw in some sci-fi or something and that could help.

The movie has a whole lot of time jumps and origin stories thrown in. It starts off by showing us John as a kid though. His parents get murdered so he heads with Tonto into town. Another relative of John’s shows up though and takes him back to civilization. John then meets up with his brother and the rest of the Rangers. They’re betrayed by one of their own though and they all get slaughtered except for John who is saved by Tonto. John once again gets to be a part of the tribe and now he is determined to avenge his brother and the rangers by taking down the leader of the villains, Butch. Tonto agrees to come along so now the Lone Ranger won’t be alone this time. The two of them set off for an adventure filled with action and hype.

Right away one problem with the film is that John effectively has two origins/sob stories here. Why do you gotta murder his parents which causes him to join the tribe and then murder his brother and the rangers later on? It seems to be like they did this to give John a reason to go back to the tribe but why take him away from them in the first place? Didn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me and if anything it just drags on the film quite a bit. You really did not need to go down this route and if the film had just avoided that then I believe it would have had better pacing. There’s not a lot that would have saved the film from its next flaw though.

It’s just rather boring. It’s hard to find any really great characters here and the plot is as slow as molasses. It takes eons for anything to happen in this film to the point where you’re tired out by the climax. Considering that this is a wild west film where everyone is corrupt, there aren’t a ton of gunfights either. One of the longest action scenes is when John is on a wagon that is attacked by wagons. The other characters try to shoot at the bandits. What does John do? Nothing. He just stays seated until the others are bumped off at which point he goes to the front and surrenders. That’s a great way to ensure you survive of course but it’s not the kind of action you expect from the hero of the story. I had to do a double take on that because I was absolutely not expecting this. I suppose the Ranger does what he wants though.

The only character I’ll give major props to was Tonto. He was a very loyal friend who had John’s back at every turn. He’s someone you can count on and I appreciate the fact that he was always there. He may not have been a terrific fighter or anything like that but loyalty is ultimately worth more than skill. Tonto showed that John didn’t have to do everything on his own and that’s a good thing because John was not ready to handle this. I do like the mask though. It may not be a very inspired costume but it’s definitely an iconic one at this point. Who knew that putting on a mask could do so much to make you a hero right?

As for Butch, he’s your classic villain in a wild west setting like this. He wants to be rich and cause chaos. Taking out the President will certainly achieve both objectives. This guy has enough men to launch an attack on pretty much any location that he pleases. There’s really nothing to him beyond that. He’s just another guy for John to eventually mow down once he gets past all of the guards. The President was pretty fun too. I’m always up for getting the President involved. I would have liked to have seen him really mix it up with the villains though like something out of White House Down. That would have been a blast even if it would have maybe gone against the tone of the film a bit.

In general I’m not a big fan of wild west films but I’m sure you can do them well if you really try. We needed more humorous scenes at least like the one where the ranger talks about how it’s not the bullet that destroys you but the fall. Then he is promptly destroyed by a bullet and was at ground level so there is no fall to be had. It’s one of those visual irony scenes that works pretty well because of the timing. I mean, it may be tragic in part but I’m pretty sure this was played as a funny moment or at least the movie knew that it was being ironic. With more writing like that and a focused plot this film could have been good. It’s not even like it made any super big mistakes.

The movie just comes across as rather boring which is something that you never want to be. The last thing a movie wants to be known for is not being engaging. The songs this film had are pretty uninspired and it doesn’t sound like the singer was really into it either. That doesn’t help. Then you’ve got some scenes that go on for quite a long while like John trying to get used to the horse or getting knocked out yet again and having to be nursed back to health. The movie will probably be more engaging if you’re really into nature and just like seeing the backgrounds but for me I need to be having a lot of activity on screen.

Overall, The Legend of the Lone Ranger is a film that just didn’t work out. It forgot to actually include any thrills along with the plot. The backgrounds get very repetitive and the old setting doesn’t work either. The writing isn’t particularly impressive nor is the cast very memorable. The Lone Ranger may be a decent concept but this film definitely didn’t show me any of that. Don’t get me wrong, this still beats the newer Lone Ranger film but that’s really not saying a whole lot at all. I’m confident that the next Lone Ranger film will be able to beat this one. It has to….right?

Overall 4/10

The Magnificent Seven (2016) Review


It’s time to delve into the world of the Wild West once more. While the film is definitely way better than how the first series ended it doesn’t even come close to matching the original. On the whole it’s not a bad movie as most of the scenes are fairly sound but there’s a very questionable scene near the middle and the ending also falls flat with a very sudden backstory. This film tries really hard but just isn’t able to capture what made the original so fun.

The movie starts Bartholomew taking over a town and deciding that he will get rich this way. The townspeople don’t end up fighting even though they all have guns until it is far too late and they have absolutely no chance of victory. It’s always interesting to see this go down when everyone is armed because then there is seriously no excuse not to at least do something. Ah well. Emma then decides to find some gunmen so they can avenge her husband and save the town. She runs into Sam and he agrees to help after rounding up a posse. It ends up being 7 people total and they prepare to deal out some justice.

One thing the film does do right this time around is give time to introduce all of the characters. They all get a few scenes to make us aware of who they are and their personalities. Unfortunately I wouldn’t say that they are all very likable. First off, the main character isn’t bad. Sam is a reasonable main character who does his best to keep a level head as they approach the villains. He really only panics at the end when the film decides to get gritty for no reason with his motives for why he took the mission in the first place.

Then you’ve got Joshua who definitely has the most fun out of the characters. He actually enjoys being a gunman and is always messing around with everyone. He also seems to be the most skilled fighter of the group if you ask me. I’d have liked him to have been the main character because he was easily the most enjoyable to have on screen. Then you have Goodnight who is traumatized and can’t fight very well. I wasn’t particularly a big fan of this guy. He isn’t nearly as bad as the character he was based off of in the older films but that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

His partner Billy was a lot better. That guy had real skills both with a knife and with a gun. He was one of the most talented fighters in the film and you could always count on him to take down his opponent. Then you have Jack who is the worst member. He seems pretty crazy from the start and the guy doesn’t even use a gun much. I struggle to see why he was included in the film and if anything he just waters the group down by association. There’s nothing exceptional or magnificent about him in the slightest. It almost takes you out of the film when he is taking people down with an axe while they have guns. That doesn’t make any kind of sense.

Vasquez’s initial scene immediately makes him pretty unlikable here. The guy’s motives certainly aren’t the best. He has skills but that doesn’t automatically make him a quality character in the slightest. Finally you have Red Harvest whose opening scene throws him out of the picture immediately. We see him destroy an animal and then eat it which is such a pointless an unnecessary scene to have in the film. I was shaking my head the whole time. We really didn’t need this and in a way it delivered one of the final blows to the film. It was hard to come back from that.

The writing in general can’t keep up with the originals. There is a lot of friction between the characters but rather than it be because they all have big egos and a lot of confidence it’s more because they’re all portrayed as jerks. They tend to make insensitive comments to each other and flat out bully each other in other scenes. The scene of Joshua stealing the guy’s whiskey comes to mind. Then you have the fact that these 7 characters aren’t as great as they act. The main villain does a good job of taking them down for a while and they miss the shots that count. Joshua gets a great ending but most of the gunmen go down pretty easily otherwise.

Emma was a good heroine though and I was glad that she was able to fire off a gun. It’s always good to see people helping out at least a little because it’s your town so you should be defending it. If you just stand around then you’re not helping anyone except the villains for slowing things down. She should have been the one to get the original hero theme but it doesn’t really appear here. There is one scene where I feel like it was meant to be a bit of a homage but the music is very soft and it’s hard to say for sure. Either way I wouldn’t say it’s handled all that well. The main villain is given a reasonable role though. Bartholomew was pretty solid so I have no qualms with him.

The movie has a lot of little tributes to the various past films so that’s nice for fans I suppose. Since I watched them all recently it was a lot easier to pick up on them. Homages are nice to see but they don’t help to hide the flaws of this one. I’ve already talked about those so for a positive I’d say that the gun fights are pretty solid. There’s not a whole lot you can do with a gun fight after a while but they’re still pretty entertaining so the movie did a good job with those.

Overall, The Magnificent Seven remake is not a film that I would particularly recommend. It makes enough mistakes where I just can’t put it in the higher ranks. There’s no reason to watch this one over the original. It could have been worse for sure I guess so it’s not a terrible movie either. If you want to watch a modern wild west then this is probably better than a lot of the alternatives I suppose.

Overall 5/10

The Magnificent Seven Ride Review


I’ve never seen a movie series hit rock bottom quicker than this one. In general I’ve never seen such a big drop because typically if your first movie is pretty good then the sequels will at least stay in the same realm. The first film in this series was a very solid 8 so I really thought that the whole thing was safe. The second film was a drop to a 5 but the third went back up to a 6. This one literally hits rock bottom…..so lets take a look at why that is.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Chris and his new life situation. He is now married and the sheriff of a little town. Chris runs a pretty tight ship and has been doing pretty well for himself. He locks people up and ships them out to the big jails. The latest one he arrested was a guy who has been robbing stores and wasting all of the money. His wife and the guy’s mother tell Chris that it won’t happen again and so he goes against his better judgment and releases the guy. This crook promptly murders his wife and escapes town. Chris is determined to avenge her but the guy has made friends with a powerful tribe of bandits. Chris is forced to round up 6 allies once again to set things right.

His team of 7 is tied together in more of a reluctant sense this time. Most of Chris’ allies are guys he locked up personally so they all want to end his life. Chris has to keep coercing them into helping his cause by using every trick in the book. It’s a bit of a stretch at times since they could end him many different times before his plan comes together but it is what it is. It’s lucky for Chris that this is the case because otherwise taking on the villains would be difficult. The villains have no real character though so that is similar to the second film. The main villain only appears at the very end and the guy who murdered Chris’ wife at the beginning dies early on off screen as well so the villains really got the shaft here.

What really hurts the film here is how needlessly dark it is. The movie goes out of its way to be as edgy as possible without adding anything to the film. There’s quite a bit of rape here to the various supporting characters and Chris’ wife. This doesn’t add anything to the story and even if the film were to try and use that as an integral part of the film I can guarantee it would still be getting a sinking score. That’s not an element you ever need to put in a film. It just makes you wait for the ending to come that much sooner.

A huge part of the film’s focus is Chris on his mission of revenge. This is a cheap tool to get you to root for Chris to murder everyone and continue on the cycle of violence. The movie seems to forget this though because when Chris gets to the village he quickly gets a romantic subplot with one of the women there. For context, his wife just died in a very brutal way. There’s no way he should be moving on to a new girl so quickly. The plot is in terrible taste and makes no sense. It further illustrates how bad the writing was in this movie. Chris is also really quick to give up on the village before being guilt tripped into helping out. It’s even hinted he would have totally left them if not for the fact that his target got murdered anyway.

There’s not much to say about Chris’ band of followers because they’re all basically the same one note characters who all want vengeance and dislike Chris. None of them can really think of anything other than trying to murder the guy. The best one is probably the ex commander who is used to being the boss. At least he got a little character and seems to have some dignity. The others I can’t really say the same for. For added edge all of these guys were tortured a bunch in prison so their mental states aren’t as sound as they usually would be.

The movie is just filled with cringe scenes that have no awareness. One such moment is when Chris tells his members to each pick various ladies as partners for the upcoming fight. It should obviously be the other way around given what just happened in the village and all the mental scars that are still in place. You just don’t know what the film is thinking half the time. All of these choices just make you scratch your head and it’s why the film is no fun to watch. There’s never a sense of joy or adventure like you had in the previous films.

That’s why the soundtrack is so odd. As always the movie chooses to keep on re-using the same happy hero theme constantly. In the older films it at least made sense sometimes because the films were generally upbeat. This one is never upbeat yet you have the happy theme showing up constantly. After Chris shoots two of the accomplices and heads back out on the trail the theme plays but we just got through some of the darkest scenes in the film so there is nothing to cheer about. It’s like the sound director just made sure to put the music on every time the heroes are travelling on horseback without looking at the context for why they are travelling. The whole movie feels like it was just slapped together.

Overall, The Magnificent Seven Ride is a terrible film and one that tries to destroy the series’ reputation with how bad this one is. There’s no redeemable qualities about the movie. The characters are all pretty unlikable and the movie is just very mean spirited throughout. There should always be a fine line between trying to make a dark film and one that is simply edgy. You can be serious without crossing the line and this film was not able to handle that nuance. It jumps straight from 0-10 and so it sunk all the way to the bottom. I highly recommend staying far away from this film and if anything maybe you should just stick to the original film. It was easily the best one in the series.

Overall 0/10

Guns of the Magnificent Seven Review


It’s time for Chris to round up some more gunmen in this third installment in the series. The series actually seems to take the premise of Suicide Squad more seriously than that film did with how high the body count is in these titles. Chris’ friends almost always die in these so you can see why they are always so hesitant to join him. Sure, Chris will live but the rest of them are usually all out of luck before the day is gone. It doesn’t feel like a great balance to them when you put it like that. This one is definitely better than the second film but still a far cry under the first. At least the series is back on an upward trend.

The film starts off with the rebellion leader getting kidnapped by the villain forces. This time the enemies are actually the government as Mexican forces are trying to get these rebels to submit. They aim to break the captured leader and end this once and for all. Max is able to escape and finds Chris over in town who has just helped a thief get away from being hanged. He convinces Chris to help him in exchange for some money and Chris must now round up a few guys once again. He really never has a chance to relax in these days. With the 7 of them rounded up he heads over to the prison to free the rebel leader. Will he really be able to break into the base and take out a huge number of adversaries though?

Let’s look at the supporting cast here. First we’ve got Keno, who was actually guilty of stealing a horse as revenge. The guy is a pretty good shot and pretty reasonable. He seems like the new version of Vin although he’s not quite as solid as the man from the first film. I’d still put him as the best ally in this movie though and is fun enough. Then you’ve got Cassie who is definitely happy to come along since at his old job the boss was quite unpleasant and treated him like a slave. Cassie doesn’t put up with any nonsense so he’s a pretty solid character to have on the team. He also seems to be the strongest physically.

Then you have Slater who is pretty annoying. The guy only has one good arm now so he’s always upset. Having only one arm is very difficult when you’re a shooter but he insists on taking it out on everyone else which definitely isn’t a good idea. He gets Cassie upset a few times and it was really all Slater’s fault with the remark he made. Then he goes on a drunken rampage shooting left and right. Even the way he goes out is pretty terrible. This guy really never managed to become a quality character. P.J. is another character who wasn’t very good. In his case the issue is that he is so sickly. He really wasn’t ready for a gunfight like this. It’s great that he came along to help I suppose but he looks very unimpressive next to the other characters.

Finally you have Levi who is a nice guy. He’s pretty old so he can’t move around quite as well as the younger guys but his gun skills are the real deal so he does help out a fair bit. He also takes one of the kids under his wing. Levi was a fun addition to the cast. So on the whole most of the characters were good. Meanwhile Chris is solid as always. I do feel like his skills seem less and less impressive with each movie, but he still ultimately gets the job done which is what counts. He manages to take down the enemy captain which was crucial. That guy managed to take down quite a number on his own which made him a pretty imposing villain.

This movie went back to its roots in some respects which was good such as developing the characters before uniting the group. Each one actually got a full scene to himself this time as opposed to everyone just teaming up right from the jump. It’s important to set up all of the characters individually before they team up. It gives you more of an actual reason to root for them. The villain also gets more development this time around. He has some good back and forth discussions with Chris. The guy is definitely as ruthless as they come and makes for a pretty intense villain. He certainly isn’t messing around.

The oddest part about the film is probably the music selection though. While the next installment would take this to a whole new level, the music here just didn’t feel appropriate at times. You’d have the very happy hero theme playing even during a sad scene or a moment where nothing is going right for the heroes. It felt like the soundtrack was so limited that they had to keep on playing the theme. It’s played even more than the main Star Wars theme and you know how much the films like to use that one. I don’t think the music director did a good job here. It’s not enough to have a solid theme, you need to know when to play it.

As always the villagers look pretty bad for the most part. The leader of the main group of rebels was a drunk who wasn’t taking anything seriously. It’s easy to see why the group had absolutely no luck over the last few years with a guy like that in charge. You can’t hope to succeed if your leader isn’t taking things seriously and that was definitely the case here. By the end the rebels move on without him, but if they had showed up earlier then way less people had to die. It seems like the cavalry always comes way too late.

The action scenes are solid as always though. The gunfights are good and the heroes make good plans the whole time. The Magnificent Seven feel a little less invincible this time though. The main villain took out 2-3 of them by himself which would have been pretty much impossible in the first film. I suppose eventually Chris was bound to run out of the top brass sooner or later though. These guys would just have to do in the meantime.

Overall, Guns of the Magnificent Seven is a solid film. It’s not quite as good as the first one but it’s good enough to check out if you like the genre. The music is not always placed well as it seems like the guy in charge would just slap the main theme on whenever he felt like it, but it is a catchy theme. Some parts of the film can definitely get a little dark with the main characters not doing anything to save them. Naturally in such a position they would likely lose and then there would be even more casualties but I never like to see the heroes do nothing as people are getting murdered. This one is more of a standard wild west film, you won’t be disappointed if you go and give this one a look.

Overall 6/10

Return of the Seven Review


It’s time to look at the sequel to the Magnificent Seven. After seeing how solid the first one was I was hoping that this one would at least be in the same league as the original. Unfortunately this wasn’t meant to be. I guess the first one just set the bar a little too high because the sequel ultimately couldn’t even come close to the first. It ended up trying to copy all of the ideas but executed them all in a less effective fashion. Sometimes it’s just not enough to try and copy success.

The film starts out with the village from the first film getting attacked yet again. While Chico tries to fight them off he goes down after beating only 3. All of the men are kidnapped except for one who manages to get over to the main characters and asks for help. Chris and Vin got reunited when Vin reveals that there is now a bounty on Chris’ head. Vin has arrived to help him stay alive during this time. Now with news of the village being attacked Chris is forced to become a hero once again. Since most of the gunmen from the last film were murdered Chris needs to assemble a new squad. With all of the best fighters already out of commission he will now have to grab some of the B listers and man does the film try to make them as unlikable as possible. Can this group of 7 manage to stop the villains?

Here’s the problem with the film. It’s exactly the same as the last one. Usually a sequel will try to at least disguise itself as being a little different by switching up the characters a bit or making the circumstances new and unique. This film doesn’t bother with any of that to even the slightest degree. The villains are almost the same number as the last group only they have significantly less character. Chris assembles a group of hot shots once again only these guys don’t get any big intros and they are all pretty terrible from the jump. The group is assembled within the first 15 minutes. This sequel feels like it’s going on turbo speed right from the start. It cuts out all of the development time we had in the first so we can skip straight to the fights in this one.

I think the film is shorter so they didn’t have as much time as in the first film but it still could have done a better job. In the first movie at least everyone was actually here to help out the village for positive reasons. That’s not the case in this film with one guy in particular who may as well be a villain himself. He causes crimes constantly and was in jail for good reason. It’s a lot harder to root for the heroes this time around. The movie also did Chico dirty by having him lose almost instantly. Remember how he got a huge character development arc in the first film? Well, neither does do the writers of this film so you’re okay on that front.

Chris is still a good character, but he’s a lot less mysterious than he was in the first. His skills also seem less extraordinary here. He may just be acting modest but he does seem a little more nervous of the new characters here in general which is never a good look. Vin also gets less to do here. He’s still a fun sidekick and there’s nothing particularly wrong with him. I don’t get why he was so bored that he had to look for Chris though. He seemed to have had a pretty good set of goals in the last film as a drifter. No sense in giving that up now.

From the new guys first off we have Colbee. He’s the worst character in the film. All he cares about is women and he always makes it a point to go after married ones which just makes him a deplorable character from the start. It’s hard to tolerate the guy and since he’s a main character that’s a problem. Then we have Manuel who participates in cockfights. I can’t just overlook that either. It’s a terribly inhumane sport which has no business being here and the scenes in general don’t do the film any favors. We’re already down two gunmen so that isn’t a good sign at all. He’s meant to be the new Chico but the guy was getting washed in his first fight without throwing a single counter. I don’t see how this guy could possibly help the group out at all.

Frank is reasonable. He talks tough throughout the film at least so there’s that. From the new characters he is probably the best by default. At least he seemed like a decent character. Then you have Luis who is okay I guess. He doesn’t have a ton of character but he is skilled which is the important thing. The group manages to hold their own against the villains pretty well all things considered. Without the dynamite they would have been doomed in the end though. Dynamite is always a game changer so it’s important to have that on your side. With it you know that you always have a chance in battle.

The gunfights are solid as always. The opening fight when the gunmen first make it to the village is pretty good as we see them all firing at once in a pose similar to the first Avengers film. They all just start blasting and manage to take out most of the villains in an instant. Of course it was just the advance scouts and more fights would come, but it was a good start. I definitely had no issue with the action.

The pacing isn’t bad. It’s extremely fast for sure and I do think more time to develop the characters would have been nice, but in principle it’s not a bad idea to have things happen very quickly. The issue is that the characters just weren’t very good. The writing is also not nearly as strong as in the first film. Nobody acts quite as cool and professional as they did in the first film. We also had fairly pointless scenes included like the bull chasing and the cockfighting. Both scenes really should have been cut and the film would have been better off for it.

Overall, While the first film was one of the best wild west films I’ve ever seen, this would be one of the weaker ones. The whole movie feels redundant as it’s just a carbon copy of the first movie with weaker characters. The villains don’t really get to do much and even their overall plan isn’t quite as intense as in the first one. At least there the guy was trying to feed his starving men. Here these villains are basically lackeys. If the first film didn’t exist this one may have fared a little better but at it stands I couldn’t really give it a thumbs up. If you really loved the first film and want to see the characters again then by all means you should check this one out. Otherwise I’d recommend giving it a pass and just watch the original again.

Overall 5/10

The Magnificent Seven Review


It’s time to take a look at a classic western from a while back. The Magnificent Seven is known as one of the all time great westerns and I can see why. It may even rank up there as my favorite one in the genre as at the moment it beats all of the others that I can think of. The fights are very good and I liked seeing the team get former Avengers style. This is a movie that has held up quite well.

The film starts with a village getting harassed and robbed by a group of bandits. They show up every year to steal all of the crops, livestock, and possessions that the village has. The village is fed up with this but they don’t know what they can do against such foes. 3 farmers head off into town to find some good guns to buy and see two impressive gunmen. The farmers ask one of them for help and the guy agrees to do so. Furthermore he will look for 6 more so the 7 of them can team up against the bandits. They will wait at the village until the villains arrive. The odds aren’t great at 40-7 but each of these 7 is worth a full squad.

One of the best aspects of this film is how it takes time during each aspect of the plot so you really get to know all of the characters. Each member gets a full introduction scene where you immediately get a feel for what kind of person the character is. The first two to be introduced are the two most important characters, Chris and Vin. They manage to survive an onslaught of villagers so that someone who died can be buried. The village hadn’t let him be buried earlier because the town was quite racist back in these days so the heroes showed them what was up. Another gunman is introduced as the quickest shot in the west who just wants to better himself. Another one is hard on money, one’s a fugitive, etc. Each of these shooters is given quite a lot of hype in their debut appearance.

Then you’ve got Chico who isn’t a pro like the others, but he really wants to be acknowledged as one of the more powerful fighters. He gets humiliated by Chris early on but doesn’t let that get to him. As the film goes on he shows more and more why he can be relied upon as well. By the end of the film I’d say he probably isn’t even the weakest member. He’s probably be around 5th place out of the 7. Not amazing or anything, but considering how young he is that’s pretty good.

The writing in the film is definitely on point. We get a lot of snappy dialogue and all of the characters are written well to be realistic and professional at all times. They’re just fun/charismatic characters to have around. The pacing of the film is great as I mentioned as well. I also enjoyed the gun fights. They last for a while but there is always something happening so I wouldn’t say that they dragged on at any point. If I have one complaint, it’s that the 7 should have done a little better based on how good they all were individually. It felt like they were mowing the villains down but by the end they were still heavily outnumbered.

The film also did stretch your disbelief a bit towards the end. The main villain captures all of the heroes and instead of shooting them all he spares them all…and gives them back their guns. Naturally the heroes return and slaughter all of the villains so it makes you wonder…why would the villain do this? It made no sense. The villain tries to justify this by saying that if he murdered them it’d be more work but I can’t buy that. He was prepared to murder them just a few minutes earlier. It was not a smart play and it felt like the writers had written themselves into a hole and took this as their quick out. If you ask me it’s not a situation you should put the heroes in. The villain deciding to spare everyone is usually pretty cheesy as it is. Giving them back their weapons is a whole other level of this.

The ending is definitely pretty emotional though as the body count gets quite high. It’s a pretty ambitious ending as you can’t always have everyone make it out in one piece. This is the realistic outcome of a big war type event. You can tell that this kind of film really doesn’t need a sequel. It got a few anyway but this film works quite well as a stand alone. It’s long and so there is a lot of content here. Everyone has a satisfying character arc to go through as well.

Chris was my favorite character. He’s just a solid leader in general. He’s all business and a great shot. While the film hints that he may not be the best shot out of the 7, he’s certainly one of the best. His partner Vin was also very likable. He was the first person to aid Chris in his quest and was also pretty fearless. While Chico had a rough start with getting drunk and all, he did prove himself by the end of the film. With him to protect the village you figure they would be safe from now on….in theory.

Harry’s the worst member of the 7. Not only are his skills not all that impressive but he’s only here for the money and doesn’t seem to care about anything else. I wouldn’t trust him at all. Bernardo probably gets one of the smaller roles in the film but he was a likable guy. He was sure to protect the kids to the end and seemed to quietly be quite a good shot as well. Britt was the most impressive marksman to me thanks to his quick draw skills. The guy could hit someone from a very long distance and was also good with a knife. Finally you have Lee who was more in line with Harry. Based on his intro I was expecting a whole lot out of Lee and he really didn’t live up to any of his potential. Even by the end I wasn’t really sold on his character. So I really liked 5/7 of the gunmen with the other 2 being fairly weak in comparison.

As always though the villagers were the most annoying characters. It seems like in every wild west film it’s a given that they will betray the leads at some point. They want to give up halfway which is the worst time to give up. Don’t they realize that this will just make the enemies go at them even harder? They try to say that the villains won’t hurt them if they give up quietly but we know this isn’t the case. They’ve already been harming the village from the start and it would only get worse. These guys lack any real intelligence at times like this. The only good ones were the village elder and the main 3 guys. The girl at the end of the film was also good. The rest of the men would just hide when the villains showed up and cracked pretty quickly so I can’t say that they ranked.

Overall, The Magnificent Seven was quite impressive. The horses managed to live through the fights which is usually my worry with the genre and in general the film avoided making any key mistakes. It wasn’t gritty and the characters were actually quite solid. This is definitely the gold standard for westerns and if you haven’t watched this film yet then you should definitely change that. It’s going to be very difficult for the sequels to quite match up to this one.

Overall 8/10