I went into “The Magnificent Seven” expecting a great action movie that could bring back the Western genre and serve as a trailblazer for more ‘magnificent’ westerns to follow.
While the newest remake of the classic Western by the same name – which just happens to also be a remake of “Seven Samurai” – is nothing short of magnificent and certainly fulfills my expectations, if you generally dislike remakes or are just a die-hard fan of the original, this one will not change your opinion.
Released on September 23, “The Magnificent Seven” stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke. As the small old-Western town of Rose Creek is terrorized by industrialist Bartholomew Bogue, the townspeople employ the protection of seven deadly outlaws including gamblers, assassins, hired guns, and bounty hunters. They must all come together and overcome their differences in order to take Bogue down and restore a sense of peace in the townspeople. Please note that there are spoilers ahead, so read at your own risk.
The best part of this movie by far is Chris Pratt.
He plays Josh Faraday so well that I was devastated when he sacrificed himself to take down the Gatling gun wagon in the final battle. There is a perfect mix of funny, serious, and emotional moments that truly define any of Pratt’s acting roles. Denzel Washington once again proves that his movies are worth watching, delivering a solid performance as Chisolm. Ethan Hawke is also great as Goodnight Robicheaux, a war veteran suffering from shell shock. The rest of the cast also does a magnificent job delivering solid performances all around.
Director Antoine Fuqua, also known for directing “Southpaw“, “The Equalizer“, and “Training Day“, does his best to bring out the classic Western vibes of the previous movie. From sweeping landscape shots to a campfire in a canyon at night, the scenery is truly amazing and makes you feel like you are right there with the group of seven, listening to their quarrels and fighting alongside them in the final showdown.
“The Magnificent Seven” definitely does not skimp on action set-pieces.
Intense gunfights, buildings blowing up, and the shiny Gatling gun are keystones for all the explosive action in the movie. This does detract a bit from the true Old Western feel; CGI did not exist at the time of the classic Westerns, so explosions and intense gunfights on the scale of this year’s remake were nonexistent. The lack of CGI in the classics leads to a more authentic feel that the new movie noticeably suffers from.
The only other issue I have with “The Magnificent Seven” is the story. In today’s Hollywood scene there is a significant lack of originality, which is why so many movie plots are rehashed or recycled. Of course, “The Magnificent Seven” is a remake, so if you have seen the original the story would not be a surprise to you at all. For those who haven’t watched the original, the story is still magnificently predictable. A greedy industrialist oppresses a small town and the townspeople become desperate for revenge, so they hire men who can get the industrialist and his army killed. This overly simplified plot is a major setback for the movie and detracts a bit from what it could have been.
Overall, if you’re looking for a good action flick in this usually parched movie season, “The Magnificent Seven” will quench your thirst until better things come out closer to the Holidays.