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The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven: Lifeless Remake of Seminal Western Classic

  • Chris PrattDenzel Washington...
  • Action & AdventureThriller...
  • Antoine Fuqua
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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The Magnificent Seven: Lifeless Remake of Seminal Western Classic

Standing in as the remake of John Struges’ 1960 film of the same name – a movie which in itself was inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Japanese classic, Seven Samurai –The Magnificent Seven is one of those movies that looks good on paper and a film that holds much promise given the success of its predecessors and the talent of its ensemble cast of A-listers. However, the reality is somewhat different.

Written by True Detective’s Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk, the story is set in the small remote town of Rose Creek where a young woman named Emma Cullen (Bennett) is growing tired of the madness of villainous industrialist, Bartholomew Bogue (Sarsgaard), who is busy stripping their land for gold and pillaging his way through their resources, forcing everyone to either sell their properties or leave.

Desperate for help, Emma soon turns to bounty hunter, Sam (Washington), whose reputation and gun fighting skills precede him. The infamous gunslinger is quick to accept, but before he can get down to business he will need reinforcements.  Enter a group of diverse recruits  including alcoholic gambler, Farraday (Pratt), Mexican gunman Vasquez (Garcia-Rulfo), reformed Indian hunter, Jack Horne (D’Onoforio), war veteran Goodnight (Hawke), his partner Billy Rocks (Lee) and finally, esteemed warrior, Red Harvest (Sensmeier). With only one week to go until the big showdown, the preparations are soon underway with the gang also training the resident of Rose Creek in how to fight, believing that this is the only way to get Bogue and his army of men out for good.

For a western, The Magnificent Seven – with the exception of a relatively engaging shootout finale – is surprisingly light on action. The script is simple and easy to follow with the introduction to each character’s history, personality and skills never falling victim to over-explanation.

The problem comes with the overall execution and rhythm of the movie, which more often than not comes across as lifeless and flat. To be fair, there are moments of genuine onscreen chemistry between the characters – Denzel and Hawke, for example, who reunite for the first time since working together on Training Day – but the general feel of the movie is weary with the viewers excitedly waiting for the plot to shift into a faster gear, only to see it remain unchanged.

The cinematography is sharp and Fuqua offers a pleasant mix of modern filmmaking and western visuals.  The cast, especially Pratt and Hawke, all turn in a solid performance, but its Sarsgaard’s villain that sadly fails t live up to the hype of the piece’s big bad villain.

Overall, it’s a relatively entertaining – but nowhere near as engaging – take on the original story and although it has its moments, The Magnificent Seven is largely an empty and charmless play of violence which, at the end of the day, we’ve all seen before. Not as magnificent as one has hoped. 

Like This? Try

The Magnificent Seven (1960), Seven Samurai (1954), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

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This was James Horner's final composition before his death on June 22, 2015 at the age of 61.

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