Continuity among sequels to The Magnificent Seven (1060) is a dodgy matter, which is probably to be expected seeing as how The Magnificent Seven was an Americanized spin on the Japanese action classic The Seven Samurai (1954)—it’s silly to complain about the lack of artistic integrity when discussing sequels to a remake. Therefore, suffice to say that by the time this fourth entry arrived, changes had been made. None of the original film’s actors is present, and the lead role of honorable gunfighter Chris Adams is occupied by Lee Van Cleef, the third actor in the series to play Adams. (Yul Brynner originated the part.) The storyline for The Magnificent Seven Ride! is, predictably, a retread of the series formula—Adams reluctantly agrees to help the citizens of a border town repel a violent invasion. To achieve this goal, Adams gathers a group of gunmen, and he enlists the citizens of the town, nearly all of whom are women, as helpers. Considering that it’s telling such a trite story, The Magnificent Seven Ride! takes quite a while to get going; the movie is nearly halfway over before preparations for the big battle get underway. Furthermore, the picture has an exceedingly ordinary visual style, looking more like an episode of a TV Western than a proper feature. Yet The Magnificent Seven Ride! is basically watchable, at least for undemanding viewers. Van Cleef’s cruel persona is compelling even in this drab context, and the reliable character actors surrounding him contribute solid work—the cast includes such familiar faces as Luke Askew, Ed Lauter, James B. Sikking, and Ralph Waite. (A young Gary Busey appears in a small role, too.) The women in the movie don’t fare as well, with Mariette Hartley disappearing quickly and Stefanie Powers pouting through her bland turn in the underdeveloped love-interest role. All in all, though, the movie is a fair trade: It promises little and delivers exactly that.
The Magnificent Seven Ride!: FUNKY