By: Blake Edgington, Movie Critic
Film: The Magnificent Seven
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung Hun Lee, Manuel Garcia Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Matt Bomer, Billy Slaughter, Vinnie Jones, Peter Sarsgaard
Review: 3½ bags
In 1960, The Magnificent Seven hit the silver screen with a blockbuster trio consisting of Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson. Now, director Antoine Fuqua delivers the modern remake of the classic film with a blockbuster duo (Denzel Washington and David Pratt) hoping it will be enough to entice movie-goers. Comparisons to the original are inevitable and many times unforgiving, yet this remake of the western classic may rise above all of the comparisons and prove to be a formidable western in its own right.
Continuing the theme of the original film the modern rendition also features a group of outlaws and rebels that band together to defend those who cannot defend themselves. They do this for no other reason than to see justice enforced. Denzel, as always, brings the controlled moxie that makes his character (Sam Chisolm) believable as the leader of the misfit gang of seven. Of course, it helps that the screenwriter for the modern version of The Magnificent Seven, Richard Wenk, worked with Washington on The Equalizer, which released in 2014.
David Pratt also made his big splash in 2014 when he played the lead role in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Following the blueprint laid out by movies of the past, as well as the present, this version of The Magnificent Seven capitalizes on building a team of unsuspecting heroes to handle the threat of injustice with style, bravery, and selflessness. What makes a hero, never gets old.
If you’re a fan of the original Mag 7, you know that the seven hired guns come together to save a Mexican village being terrorized by the leader (Bartholomew Bogue) of a band of outlaws. It’s the classic tale of a group of people who are losing basic necessities, but have no idea how to fight back in the face of plundering bandits. Finding no other recourse to defend their homes and livelihood, they agree to offer money to men who are equally as proficient at gunplay as the thieving band of thugs.
Fuqua and Wenk’s modern version of the classic western takes a different approach to the action, moving away from the quiet Mexican village to a small Western town that sits near a gold mine. The leader of the bad guys Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), wants to run the peaceful residents of the town off the land for nothing other than greed.
The new “Magnificent Seven” plays into the modern ideal of diversity by mixing the ethnicity of the heroes as well as the depth of the character played by Haley Bennett. Unfortunately, her character (Emma Cullen) doesn’t make the final team of seven, but her role is pivotal for the progression of the story. As an homage to the 1960 version, Fuqua wisely uses the original theme song by Elmer Bernstein over the closing credits. It is a beautiful musical accent mark tying the two westerns together.
Not all the actors in the remake of the classic are household names, but that didn’t keep them from delivering solid performances. Depending on how much you love the original, that will be a major factor in judging the remake. If you can move past the parts where the new movie fails to match the original, it’s a Western that shoots straight and hits the mark.