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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Movie Review- The Magnificent Seven 2016

Don't those asses look ... Magnificent?!

"If God didn't want them slaughtered, he wouldn't have made them sheep."

After all these years, there is still something to offer in the western genre. Sure we don't see that many new titles offered anymore, yet it's cool to see that someone's making them here and there. There's good and bad comedies (A Million Ways to Die in the West, The Ridiculous 6), barely known gems (The Homesman, Bone Tomahawk), and obvious Oscar contenders (Django Unchained, The Revenant, The Hateful Eight). But there's also the remakes. So far, I haven't seen a bad one (3:10 to 
Yuma 2007, True Grit 2010). That being said, I wasn't sure if doing a remake of an already remade film (The Magnificent Seven 1960, remade from 1954's Seven Samurai) would be worthwhile.

The Magnificent Seven 2016

As someone who still hasn't seen those two original films (some movie buff I turned out to be), I can ignorantly say that this new version isn't half bad. Its main purpose is to be fun, and that is delivered in barrels. As a fan of the originals, director Antione Fuqua (Training Day) was reluctant to do a remake on such classics, but he soon changed his mind when he realized that he would do his damnedest to honor them. The story has the familiar tone of the heroes that are all invincible, until the script calls for them to make a glorious (or magnificent?) exit. The musical score from Simon Franglen (Avatar) and the late James Horner (Titanic), integrates the 1960 film's theme, and keeps the feel of that decade's westerns. The action is fast paced and is more coordinated than how old westerns moved, but I have a feeling that when you're not stuck in front of a television all day, you might've found time to hone your skills back then. The humor is also fluent throughout, whether it's from a smartass' mouth or a poetic gentleman.

The story focuses on what's most important, which is the seven themselves above anyone. Peter Sarsgaard"s (Green Lantern) villain takes over the entire intro and returns near the end, but Denzel Washington (The Equalizer 2015) and company hog the spotlight for the rest of the film. Haley Bennett (Hardcore Henry) as the stronger than usual lady in need, has a few moments to assert herself. More than anything, the effort was put into the style and action, nevertheless the main cast is apart of all that style and action, and keeps things entertaining. The long running time (133 minutes) would normally hint at there being some sort of backstory to these seven, yet the film's length is more for riding and planning instead. The chemistry is strong between them and there are plenty of smirk-worthy moments, but something seems to be missing from the mix. Some of the seven pop in too fast, while some aren't given as good a treatment as the others. Luckily, they all get to have the same amount of fun.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of The Magnificent Seven 2016

The Good- Sarsgaard's ruthless intro, Denzel's smooth interrogation of the bartender, Vincent D'onofrio's (The Cell) intro, taking back the town, training the locals, and the big battle.

The Bad- The big battle's cannon fodder overload; There were way more bad guys getting easily shot left and right than was shown in the amount at their arrival.

The Ugly- Although there's a subtle amount of it throughout the film, the low level of racism for the time that this film is set (1879), is weak and seems like the filmmakers were scared of being realistically honest. Have they not seen a Tarantino western? I kept waiting for the racial tension to rear its ugly head, and instead all I saw was a few disapproving stares, and light comments like, "You sure you're in the right place?". Come on! Let's get Denzel to go into full bitch smack mode on these bigots!

Final Thoughts

The Magnificent Seven re-remake is nothing special for the western genre, but it is a fun and entertaining way to spend a couple of hours. I wish there could have been a little more to the characters and their adventures. I also wish that I had seen the originals before this, so that I would have had a better reference point. Fuqua hasn't had a crappy film yet and to that I say, "So far, so good".
Rating-6.5 out of 10





The Magnificent Seven (2016)

PG-13 | 2h 13min | Action, Western | 23 September 2016 (USA)

Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writers: Akira Kurosawa (based on the screenplay by), Shinobu Hashimoto (based on the screenplay by) 
Stars: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke


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