The second western adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai hits theaters with a bang!
A remake has 50% chance of it being a good one; the success for a remake of a remake is much less so (just ask 2016’s Ben-Hur). But director Antoine Fuqua accepted the challenge to remake the 1954 Japanese classic. With an ensemble cast of Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, and Vincent D’Onofrio, 2016’s The Magnificent Seven aims to be … magnificent.
The plot is very simple. In the 1870s, a local town continues to suffer from the tyranny of an industrialist named Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). After witnessing her husband killed, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) hires bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Washington) to protect the town from Bogue’s hundreds of men. To give the town a fighting chance, Chisolm asks the assistance of gambler Josh Faraday (Pratt), sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), knife-wielding assassin Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), skilled tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier), and Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo).
When people watch a movie about a group or a team of individuals, one of the biggest things they look for is chemistry. Magnificent Seven showed a lot of chemistry among the cast. This is to be expected since a lot of them have worked together before (eg. Pratt/D’Onofrio in Jurassic World). It was such an amazing sight to see Hawke and Washington together in a scene 15 years after 2001’s Training Day.
The action sequences are well-choreographed. The introduction of Chisolm’s skills and the first fight of the Seven were beautifully made. It was like watching a violent version of ballet. The last stand of the Seven against Bogue’s 200 men (yep… 200) was very entertaining to watch. Bandits drop on the floor like flies.
It was also a nice touch to give the Seven a more rounded line-up. And in its own way, it felt like a western Avengers. Each member has their own specialty which was showcased well, but the film opted for some form of realism. Lee’s Billy Rocks is a knife wielding assassin, but he uses pistols once the going gets tough. D’Onofrio’s Horne is a man-bear who uses his huge physique to gain the upper hand, but once the enemies start to pile up he uses pistols (and a cannon at one point).
The biggest issue of the film, however, is the threat of the bandits. It was natural for Bogue to have scenes where he can show his evil nature, but the rest of his enforcers/lieutenants were not explored much. For example, one of Bogue’s enforcers, Denali, was another Comanche character in the film. His motive for joining Bogue was not explore or even mentioned. He was just… there. And (mini SPOILER ALERT) his fight with Red Harvest was disappointingly quick.
The Magnificent Seven is an entertaining film filled with guns, bullets, and explosions. Despite the issues in its antagonists, this film gave so much fun and delight. Because of this, The Magnificent Seven is…