Director: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard
When a small town is seized by greedy gold-miner Bartholomew Bogue (Sarsgaard), desperate widow, Emma Cullen (Bennett) turns to a Bounty Hunter (Washington) to assemble a team of gun-slingers to save their town from his clutches.
In the age of remakes and reboots, it seems only natural that film-makers will exhaust every possible area to inject some new life into it, and in this case, taking a much-loved classic Western (which was in itself a remake of a Japanese film), and unleash it on modern audiences.
I haven’t seen the original film (whether this is to my detriment or not, I don’t know), so I was going into this film pretty fresh. Based on the reactions of those who have seen and loved the original, I have gauged that this film isn’t going to cause massive outcry, but nor is it being hailed as anything more than “just fine”.
And that’s it; The Magnificent Seven is just fine. It’s very entertaining undoubtedly, and the gun fights are pretty fun to watch, but it never breaks any new ground. We’ll come onto that later, but will focus on the good points for now!
The cast really make this film for me, and Denzel Washington, who is always the best component of any film he’s in, absolutely steals the show. Chris Pratt is great as well, although it’s difficult to see him as much more than Star-Lord with a slightly more Southern accent! I really bought into Ethan Hawke’s character and felt he had the most interesting character arc, but inevitably with such a large cast, it’s tricky to do justice to all of them. There were no real weak links in the cast however, and they all helped to make it a really entertaining watch.
It makes no attempts to modernise the genre, but this is absolutely fine, and in fact rather than ruining the Western genre, it proves to be a pretty good tribute. It makes great use of the tropes and angles that we come to expect from Western movies, and feels like a very classically made film. It wouldn’t look out of place in the Sunday afternoon Western slot on TV channels, and that’s perhaps about the best thing it could hope for.
The score is wonderful and really adds to that throwback charm. It is James Horner’s final score before he passed away, and is a fitting tribute to him as well as to the Western genre.
The final gun battle is pretty spectacular and feels very well-earned. It’s super entertaining, and if nothing else, this scene makes it worth the ticket price alone!
There’s really nothing bad about this film per se, so it’s difficult to know what to put here, but it just didn’t “wow” me. It does exactly what it needs to do, but it never does anything new, and this for me, means it’ll lack the repeat watchability.
Once you’ve seen it, you could probably happily live your life never seeing it again, which for a film that has a cast of this calibre, is a shame.
I saw this movie and you should too. It’s one of those films that you won’t regret spending money to see, but you won’t be rushing to see it again. It is undeniably an entertaining watch, and a great popcorn flick, but it never strives to be anything more. Fans of the original won’t be outraged, but similarly it might not do much to ignite interest in Western movies for the new generation. A fitting tribute, but little more.
Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below!