“The Magnificent Seven” stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Martin Sensmeier. Released on September 23, 2016, the film is about a bounty hunter who recruits a group of gunslingers to help him protect a western town from a corrupt industrialist.
The film is directed by Antoine Fuqua, who also directed films such as Training Day, Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen, The Equalizer, and Southpaw. It is a remake of the 1960 western film of the same name, which in turn was a remake of the 1954 Japanese film, Seven Samurai. While I’m familiar with Fuqua’s other works, I haven’t watch that many Western films during my spare time, except for Rango and Disney’s The Lone Ranger. What got me into this film was the director, of course, and its cast, mostly Washington and Pratt. Since my mom is a fan of Denzel Washington, I decided to take her to see it on her birthday today. Like the other remakes or reboots I saw, I did not see the 1960 version nor the original Japanese film that came before it, so I am going to review it as its own film.
The film’s story is as simple as peeling a banana with your eyes closed. The town of Rose Creek has been terrorized by Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), an industrialist who just likes to terrorize people. A woman named Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) and her friend then searches for someone who can fight off against this unspeakable evil, and that someone is a bounty hunter (Washington). Clearly, the first act of the film consists of the bounty hunter recruiting a group of gunslingers with different traits, like the gambler named Josh Faraday (Pratt) and the sharpshooter (Hawke). The rest of the film is where things start to get a little bit more “action-packed”. I thought the story arc was handled well despite some of its pacing issues. It took some time for the audience to get to know the main characters before they go fight some bad guys, and the way it was executed was passable. I also liked how the story expresses that even in the 1800s, society is filled with people killing others for no reason. While it doesn’t have a strong screenplay to make that feeling more impactful, it did its job regardless. The cast that form the ‘Magnificent Seven‘ offered some impressive chemistry with each other and delivered some likable performances throughout the entire film. Chris Pratt delivered a few laughs and an irresistible charm as Faraday and Washington was pretty darn awesome as Sam Chisolm. The filmmakers did a very nice job at capturing the Old West feeling with its production design without going all “Hollywood” on its own genre. Even the action sequences are heart-pounding and fun without the usual “Hollywood” effects.
Overall, “The Magnificent Seven” is far from magnificent, but thanks to its simple story about heroism, a likable cast of characters, its production design, and some heart-pounding action sequences, this latest take of the Western classic is as fun as a hootenanny. Antoine Fuqua knows what it’s supposed to be, and he took advantage of it by making an entertaining Western film. My mom enjoyed it a bit more than I did, so clearly, I just gave her an awesome birthday present. Anyway, if you’re a fan of Denzel Washington and/or Westerns, I would definitely recommend this film to you.