STARRING: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard, Matt Bomer, Luke Grimes, Jonathan Joss, Cam Gigandet, Sean Bridgers and Billy Slaughter
Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.
The Magnificent Seven takes us back to the Old West, specifically Rose Creek, where a corrupt industrialist named Bartholomew Bogue besieges the mining town and also slaughters a group of locals who stand up to him. One those locals is Emma Cullen’s husband Matthew, which leads her to finding and seeking help that comes in the form of bounty hunter Sam Chisolm. Chisolm sets out to recruit a group of gunslingers who can help him fight Bogue’s army and save the people of Rose Creek.
Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven is a remake/retelling of the 1960 western film of the same name, which in turn is a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 film Seven Samurai. If you were to go by the premise alone however, it will become clear just how many films have been inspired by the story of a group of gunslingers/warriors working together to protect a village/town from a bad man and his goons.
I’ll admit even with the talent of the cast and the fact that Fuqua is behind the camera, I was still skeptical about whether or not I would enjoy this film and I surprisingly had a blast with The Magnificent Seven. I must point out that the cinematography work from Mauro Fiore is really well done here as is the score from the late James Horner and Simon Franglen. The cast chemistry worked in general in certain sections, primarily when it works with two and/or three on screen together such as Denzel Washington/Ethan Hawke, Hawke/Byung-hun Lee and Haley Bennett/Denzel. Granted part of me got some satisfaction seeing Denzel and Hawke on screen again after their work together with Fuqua back on Training Day. Denzel Washington as per usual commands the screen as Sam Chisolm, with Ethan Hawke giving a great performance as well as Goodnight Robicheaux who I found to be the most interesting character as is his partner in crime Billy Rocks played by Byung-hun Lee who I expect to be a crowd pleaser for those that check the film out. Vincent D’Onofrio gives a memorable performance that a) some will not take seriously and b) some will think is hilariously awesome. Haley Bennett may fly under the radar in terms of credit from the cast but I thought she was really good as widow Emma Cullen. In terms of action, the film has two key set pieces, one in the middle and one gigantic one in the final act and I thought it was really well done.
In terms of negatives, Fuqua and company don’t stray beyond the done before road in terms of the plot and while the actors give good performances here and have good chemistry in general, character development is rather limited for some and non-existent for others. Unfortunately it’s Manuel Garcia-Rulfo’s Vasquez and Martin Sensmeier’s Red Harvest that get the short end of the stick in that department as once the characters are introduced and somewhat easily swayed to join the fight, they’re pretty much kept in the background until the action sequences kick in. Also I left mentioning Chris Pratt until now because at times Pratt just feels oddly out of place in that he acts trademark Chris Pratt-y, if that makes any sense. He’s likable and has his moments but there is times where he just acts the same he has done in the last few films rather than Josh Faraday. While Peter Sarsgaard’s Bogue has a promising introduction, I found him to be a pretty weak villain by the end. The film in general may feel shorter than the two hours and ten minutes runtime, it’s during the middle that I felt it the most.
It certainly won’t top the 1960 film for those that consider that a classic and it definitely tries to be its own thing and feel fresh, even though it maintains the same premise. It’s a story you’ve seen before but with the peformances, chemistry and action at hand I had a good time watching it. 7/10