The Magnificent Seven, 2016.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua.
Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Peter Sarsgaard, Luke Grimes and Haley Bennett.
Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.
Boasting an all-star cast, Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Magnificent Seven (1960) – itself a remake of Seven Samurai (1954) – could have been a hilarious new take on this classic story, unfortunately it’s a bloated western that doesn’t have anything new to offer.
Denzel Washington is the leader Chisolm who is enlisted by local villager Emma (Bennett) to help her rid her town of an evil miner called Bartholomew Bogue (Sarsgaard). The first half of the film consists of Chisolm gathering the team together and setting their trap for the evil Bogue. First up is Josh Faraday (Pratt) followed by Goodnight Robicheaux (Hawke) and Billy (Lee), followed by Vasquez (Garcia Rulfo), John Horne (D’Onofrio) and finally Red Harvest (Sensmeier). We learn that Faraday is a gambler, Goodnight is a sharp shooter, Billy a knifeman, Vasquez a good shooter, Horne a former scalp man and Red Harvest is a Native American who’s good with a bow and arrow. Chisolm is good at everything and takes the lead in the team. With so many strong actors it’s a shame that the first half of the film is so dull and lifeless. Running at over 2 hours, there’s a lot of fat in the first half that could have been trimmed. There are some funny moments but ultimately it’s a slow build up.
The second half where all hell breaks loose and we get to see the big fight is great fun. Fuqua has always been good at action and here he delivers. Each member of the team gets their time to shine and there’s an explosion every 5 minutes. It’s only in this battle scene that the cast seem to be having any fun. With the exception of Hawke and Lee none of the other cast members have much chemistry, which is surprising given the talent that’s on hand. Washington is phenomenal in his final scene as he confronts Bogue but other than that and looking bad ass on a horse, there isn’t much substance to his performance.
The Magnificent Seven is enjoyable in places. There’s some good one liners and a strong performance from Haley Bennett as the iron willed widower Emma, but ultimately it’s lifeless and adds nothing new on the original.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★