Review of 'The Magnificent Seven '

magnificent_7.jpg A remake of the classic movie from 1960 (which, itself, was a remake of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai) sees the small town “Rose Creek” being terrorised by land baron Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). When her husband is killed by Bogue's thugs Emma (Haley Bennett) seeks out mercenaries to help rid the town of their plague. She pleads their case to warrant officer Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) who on hearing Bogue's name agrees to help. Though perhaps not so much to help the townsfolk Chisholm hopes to exact his revenge on Bogue for his brutal attack on his home town. Chisholm quickly puts together a team of talented murderers including gambler Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt); former military man suffering from his experiences Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) who now works with Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), a talented knife thrower; Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), a Mexican outlaw; the tracker and generally very odd Jack Horne (Vincent D'Onofrio); and the Comanche Indian Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier) who is seeking his own path outside of his tribe. The seven return to Rose Creek and quickly dispatch Bogue's men there then spend the time it takes for Bogue to respond with more lethal force to prepare the town for their arrival…

This film seemed to have very little in the way of heart with the actors seeming to just be going through the motions as they dispatch baddie after baddie. There is little questioning of the ethics of the situation which seems to be oddly condoned by the town's preacher (perhaps who has never heard of “turn the other cheek”). Pratt's quirky and often misplaced humour does not help the general sense of unbalance pervading the film. Washington's steel and cool Chisholm does add a bit of class to proceedings but he is oddly misplaced amongst the rest of the cast. At one point the seven are walking side by side - obviously posing for pictures - and he stands out like a very sore thumb in manner and look dressed smartly in black leather. Sarsgaard as Bogue shows little humanity as he justifies his actions in a vague notion of fulfilling his upbringing or something (I can't say I was paying much attention at that point).

The action is pretty good if more than slightly predictable. No points for guessing well in advance what Bogue would be bringing with him to attack the town. In some respects it looks all a bit cheap and corny. What is NOT cheap is the amazing soundtrack from James Horner who frequently references the 1960's film music composed by Elmer Bernstein with the very familiar theme tune (thankfully). Unfortunately the music plays second fiddle (only slight pun intended) to the killing of yet more baddies on the screen - Another arrow/bullet another body (amazing how quickly they fall down)…

Yeah, not great. Moderately interesting but mostly a very disappointing remake of a classic.

Rating: “Not great, but not the worse”

Review Date: 2017-08-28

Directed by: Antoine Fuqua

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Year: 2016

Length: 132 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure