The Magnificent Seven remake by director Antoine Fuqua isn’t so much a remake as it is a retelling under the same name. There are some similarities to the original, but not enough for me to consider it a remake. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great movie. It’s filled with action from beginning to end, and likable performances by some of Hollywood’s best. However, this western/action film could have easily been carried an original title and the audience would have been none the wiser. The movie stars Denzel Washington and Christ Pratt for goodness sakes and that’s really all that is needed to put butts in theater seats.
Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) and his men are terrorizing the town of Red Rock. He kills mercilessly and without remorse. Little does he know that a run in with Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) would be his demise. To save the town from Bartholomew’s reign of terror, Emma gathers the town valuables in order to hire US Marshall, Sam Chisom. He’s an altruistic lawman and who genuinely wants help the townspeople but he knows he can’t do it alone. Chisom enlists the help of a few good men from all over California including Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt); the Irish drunk, Jack Horne (Vincent D’nofrio); the frontiersman, Billy Rocks (Byun Hyun Lee); the killer, Goodnight Robeceaux (Ethan Hawke); the soldier, Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier); the native, and Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo); the outlaw. Once the group is formed, they spend their time planning how to defeat Bartholomew Bogue at his own game.
Everyone has joined this fight for different reasons. Some feel this is their destiny. Others are participating get out of going to jail. Some are doing this for fun, and others are seeking revenge. The situation is especially personally for Emma and Sam. The problem is this group got along too well. It’s odd to see people with very different personalities be so willing to risk their lives. In the post-civil war era, this doesn’t seem realistic. They don’t have to be at odds all the time but everyone being so courteous to one another is strange. Also, everyone has backstories that aren’t explored. By the time important aspects about each member are revealed, it’s too late to care. So much so that you wonder why that was thrown in there at all? This left the plot feeling thin and superficial.
With that said, the film is really action packed. There is a good amount of action that keeps the fast pace of the film flowing. However, the film is a little long. It’s over 2-hours and 12 minutes and what they were trying to accomplish could have been done in a shorter amount of time. The cast is great as well. Pratt delivers his one-liners with charisma as always. Denzel does what he does best. Each character was shaped based on the personality of the actor, but I wish we got more time with them, as there were times it didn’t feel like an ensemble film, as the director really wants you to notice Denzel, and how good he is. Antione Fuqua’s obsession with Denzel made the film feel uneven.
This isn’t your dad’s Magnificent Seven. The original had drama, action, and suspense. It’s my entire fault for expecting to see the same exact thing in this modern retelling. They’ve upped the body count, the bullets, and the explosions as many modern action films do. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad film, it’s quite enjoyable and has some extremely hilarious moments. Go into this with no expectations, just sit back, and have fun with what you’re given. You will definitely like what you see.