Sometimes it takes an army. Other times, it takes only seven people. Some time in the 1870’s, the town of Rose Creek is under hostile takeover. Industrial businessman Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) is interesting in mining the town for gold. He gives the residents two choices: Either accept his payment of $20 per acre, or die trying to defend it.
The townspeople want to defend, but few know how. After losing her husband to Bogue and his henchman, widow Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) looks to hire some assistance, starting with Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), supreme bounty hunter. From there, Chisolm treks the Old Frontier for help, settling on gambler Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), Confederate deadeye Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), his partner and assassin Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Native-American warrior drifter Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier), and Mexican wanted outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo). Together, The Magnificent Seven provides a fighting chance for residents to keep their town.
The season of fall officially began Thursday, September 22nd for the northern hemisphere. The season of fall began for Hollywood a couple of weeks ago. However, at least out here in Columbus, Ohio, summer doesn’t feel like it has left yet, weather-wise. And for a little over two hours, The Magnificent Seven makes one feel like we’re still in blockbuster season. In a point almost certain to be made in a lot of positive reviews, The Magnificent Seven is one of the movies summer 2016 needed.
Doesn’t mean it is flawless, but darn entertaining. I didn’t expect anything less from director Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer, Olympus Has Fallen). His movies, sans Training Day, may lack substantial substance but he’s always had a great eye and hand behind the camera. That doesn’t change here. The Western setting is fully realized, from the garb to the firearms to the alcohol. And when the quick draw action and prolonged gunfights goes down, it is thrilling, with the high point being a PG-13 limit-pushing climax where no one is safe. The Magnificent Seven 2016 absolutely benefits with today’s camerawork.
This isn’t a shot-for-shot remake (thankfully), and even calling it a remake is somewhat misleading. But this is the retelling of a story that will probably always be retold every 40-50 years. That is to say that the story written by True Detective showrunner Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk follows the same beats as the 1960 and 1954 version, with a little more lightness and surprisingly good humor during the quieter moments. Putting it under a modern comparison, Fast Five (especially with the diversity aspect) and The Avengers come to mind, without the lore those movies afforded themselves as franchises.
Don’t go expecting to be blown away by any characters. A few have some interesting backstories that are briefly hit on, but by and large the actors are being seen and not the characters they portray. It’s not a bad thing, if only because everyone is having such a great time. Each member of the seven gets time to shine, some brighter than others. Denzel is a great lead as Chisolm, believable as the one guy who could get this group to work cohesively. He’s got some connection to the film’s main villain, played well by Sarsgaard. I think the finale could have had more emotional punch if their connection and why Chisolm is driven to take down Bogue was revealed earlier, however.
Hawke is good, even if his character’s struggles are only briefly touched upon. Though this is obviously a different movie, there’s something awesome about seeing him in scenes again with Washington 15 years later. D’Onofrio is easily the oddest of the bunch, yet lays a claim for being the most memorable as well. This film could be the vehicle to launch lesser stars like Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, and Byung-hun Lee into more prominent positions in Hollywood. Chris Pratt’s already in a prominent position, and he’s just a engaging personality here.
Is the Western making a comeback? That remains to be seen, but The Magnificent Seven certainly could be an ignition starter. Anyone hankering for a traditional and explosive jaunt into the Old Frontier will find it here.
Photo credits go to pgr.com and filmandtvnow.com
Follow the Movie Man @MovieManJackson
Nice review. Your rating for this movie is the highest I’ve seeing. Yes, the movie had some faults, but I did enjoy it. The collective cast was great and the movie had plenty of western nuances. It was definitely a good movie to change up the standard 2016 movie lineup.
I was leaning towards a B, but as I thought more about the movie there was more and more I liked. Actually thinking about seeing again, one of the funnest times I’ve had so far this year at the movies.
The western is definitely making a comeback IMO. We’ve had an Austrian western (The Dark Valley), a Danish one (The Salvation) and even a feminist western (The Homesman)!! Then of course we have the Hateful Eight. I hope it is making a comeback cos I LOVE the genre.
This reboot worries me though mate. The humour you mention worries me too. I cannot stand Pratt, but I love D’Onofrio, so I’ll probs end up seeing it. The PG rating is odd too…. I have a sneaking suspicion that I won’t like the new one vs the original. The true original is Seven Samurai, and that film just cannot be beaten IMO.
Another great write up mate
Pratt is Pratt. I think he has talent but hasn’t exactly stretched himself, either. Maybe with Passengers he will? D’Onofrio is an entertaining character, took me a little while to warm to him.
It was fine. Not great. Not horrible. It exists.
Sadly, this is more than what you could say about most retelling/remakes.
I really enjoyed this one and I was quite surprised by how many have disliked it. I agree with you in calling it a retelling…remake and reboot have such an immediate NEGATIVE connotation after all of this year’s disappointments. Nice review!
Thanks Andrea. I think this has great rewatchability. Might even do so in theaters again.
I’d love to see the western movie make a comeback. Loved Bone Tomahawk and looking forward to seeing this.
Dude I so need to see Bone Tomahawk!
You really need to, Would love to hear what you thought of it.
Man, I loved this!!! Pratt was nowhere near as annoying as I thought he would be, and goddamn it was just so fun!! The hours have never passed so quickly!
Couldn’t agree more! To me personally, it is one of the more entertaining times I’ve had at the cinema this year.
Same here man, just some good, old fashioned fun. Not the sorta movie I go in with much expectations and it just delivers so much fun. I mean, that last action set piece must have been half an hour long! It was awesome!