Release Date: September 23, 2016
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Akira Kurosawa (based on), Shinobu Hashimoto (based on), Hideo Oguni, (based on), Richard Wenk, Nic Pizzolatto
Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard, Luke Grimes, Matt Bomer, Jonathan Joss, Cam Gigandet, Emil Beheshti, Mark Ashworth, Billy Slaughter, Dodge Prince, Matthew Posey
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 132 minutes
Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Columbia Pictures, LStar Capital, Village Roadshow Pictures, Pin High Productions, Escape Artists, Columbia Pictures
Genre: Action, Western
Budget: $95,000,000 (estimated)
If you’re tired of remakes and reboots, your cry would be heard loud and clear. Every other day it seems like another rehash is on the horizon, though some properties are still worth dusting off. As most know, this remake was adapted from the 1960 western The Magnificent Seven of the same name, which was previously remade from theoriginal Seven Samurai film in 1954. The word of mouth from these two films couldn’t be any more positive, as they’re both respected as classics. So when this next incarnation was announced, it wasn’t greeted with disgust and disdain. It was welcomed due to the great cast, remarkable story, and the man running the show in the director’s chair, Antione Fuqua (Training Day).
Having not seen the two films that came before this one, my expectations were set at a neutral level. Although everything appeared to be fruitful on the surface, there was still a chance this would be a giant mess. Early on, the warm opening credits set the stage. It was simple and focused, and you’re teased with each cast member’s name as it flashed on the screen. It’s like you were about to embark on a journey everyone else was raving about and this is your first time witnessing it for yourself. Shortly thereafter the atmosphere revved up fairly quick. Disaster struck in the most menacing ways imaginable, and you knew who the devil was pulling all the strings. It was an interesting casting choice that worked to sell the antagonist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). He was a sniveling little weasel and was the perfect baddie with insecurity issues that any sane human would want to demolish.
Luckily there’s plenty enough screen time spent on other lovable characters such as Chisolm (Denzel Washington). Washington is great in every role he plays, but to be honest, in a lot of his roles he plays the same character; which is himself. He did the same thing here in a cowboy outfit, but it was still great to see him on the big screen. Chris Pratt playing Josh Faraday was a little different than most may be accustomed to. Pratt is usually the comic relief in whatever part he plays, but this time he took on more of a serious role, which was surprising. The biggest surprise is that of Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio). He had the best transformation of all the characters on screen. He is a true talent and literally becomes a different person every time the word “action” is said. It was difficult to tell who the real man was solely based off his great performance. It’s clear he practiced hard and told himself he would give everything he had for this role.
All the characters that were part of The Magnificent Seven were great, but that’s also where the main problem of the film lies. It’s great seeing a team come together, and in this film it’s a lot of fun. However, a film also has to be realistic about how humans naturally act around each other. Here, how the team comes together is so convenient it’s disturbing. None of the characters have anything to do except show off their respected skill exactly when the captain shows up for recruitment. At times, without saying more than two sentences, they’re on board and ready to defend a city and people they’ve never heard of before. If it was a personal vendetta they wanted to pay back it would be more understanding, but here it’s rather convenient.
That doesn’t mean when they come together it isn’t a ton of fun that has you towards the edge of your seat at times. The action within this film is top notch, and if you’re not usually into westerns it may convert you over to that genre. All of the gun play and camera angles flowed smoothly to where you almost knew where every bullet landed. Seeing all the jumps, bullets, and arrows, was all you’d ask for in an action film. The stakes were high, and you couldn’t predict the outcome. And the film flowed so smoothly, making you laugh here and there. It’s the perfect movie to just sit back and enjoy. Whether released in the summer season or the fall, it’s nearly impossible not to find some value in it. It may not master the original, but for the newer generation it’ll get the job done.