The Magnificent Seven
The Magnificent Seven is a load of mindless, old-fashioned Western fun. Antoine Fuqua shoots with an eye for gunfire, violence and charismatic performances from his leads.
Director Antoine Fuqua remakes The Magnificent Seven with a talented new cast, more violence and a Western story that’s mostly a familiar tale with minor readjustments. The Magnificent Seven isn’t the most coherent or originally constructed film of all-time, but it’s a fun shoot ’em up throwback that looks and feels old-fashioned in all of the right ways.
The Magnificent Seven follows a story about an evil and slimy thieve by the name of Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) as he leads his band of thugs into an innocent town and forces the people out unless they’d rather stick around to look down the barrel of his gun.
Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) seeks out justice and revenge as she hires seven men to help train the town and go to battle against Bogue and his endless supply of hired guns.
Chisolm (Denzel Washington) leads the rag-tag group of gun-slinging outlaws, followed by Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).
The group consists of a variety of badasses, all men that have killed before in one way or another. Chisolm is the leader, calm and collected, yet one of the fastest guns in the west, while Josh is a trickster, drinker and loud-mouth talker, yet can still back himself up with a gun. The rest of the bunch ranges from an old war veteran and his side-kick, a wild beast of a man, a Mexican and an Indian.
Yeah, the stereotypes are definitely on point in Antoine Fuqua‘s latest action film, but they work in the sense that The Magnificent Seven feels very much like an old-fashioned Western. What I mean when I say that is that the film moves at a somewhat slower pace, slowly drawing out the story and setting up the shoot outs. It’s also full of some great Western scenery that features a fair share of horseback riding with a gorgeous mountain sunset at our heroes’ backs.
The dialogue is also fairly simple, sticking mostly to one-liners spewing out of characters with very simple intentions. And the simplicity doesn’t exactly hurt the film, but it does feel like a straight-forward approach to an already familiar story.
Fuqua’s ability as an action director goes untested as he continues to pump out some great action filmmaking that is fast-paced and exciting to watch. The Magnificent Seven just might be one of the most violent PG-13-rated films that I’ve ever seen. There’s lots of headshots, stabbings and blood spray throughout the countless gunfights that take place at perfect intervals.
Most of the film’s story is placed on the back-burner while the knives, guns and arrows light up the screen in a glorious fashion. Fuqua wisely keeps the character reveals to a minimal as he focuses on the action at hand.
Sure, The Magnificent Seven isn’t exactly a revelation of filmmaking or even a strong enough dent to the Western genre to be considered anything remotely above average or special, but Fuqua puts his stamp on the genre with a film that rarely lets up.
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen an action-heavy Western grace the big screen, which makes The Magnificent Seven a welcoming follow-up to a somewhat dry and bland summer movie season.
What makes The Magnificent Seven work more than it should is the talented cast that Fuqua has managed to assemble. Denzel Washington really can’t turn in a poor performance and this is no exception. Here, he’s in quiet badass auto-pilot, which is just as rewarding as any other version of a badass that he’s been known to play.
Chris Pratt steals the show as the drinking and cursing idiot that manages to have one heck of a shot. He is followed by Byung-hun Lee‘s fast-paced hand-to-hand combat and Vincent D’Onofrio‘s grizzled man-bear performance that consists of some of the most bizarre dialogue known to man.
The rest of the bunch serve their purpose and help balance out the team, but don’t leave as large of an impact on the film. This includes Peter Sarsgaard‘s sturdy, yet predictably one-dimensional bad guy performance that works, but doesn’t exactly wow.
The Magnificent Seven is still a load of fun. It’s the kind of mindless Western that we haven’t seen in a while and one that is shot with an eye for explosions and gunfire. Antoine Fuqua clearly had some fun playing in the Western sandbox, despite not really coming up with something all that original or unique.
That doesn’t mean that The Magnificent Seven isn’t a great deal of fun and that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t see it, because you totally should. The Magnificent Seven is the type of Western that should please any and all action fans looking for a slice of easy-going entertainment this Fall season. It takes a few minutes to get going, but once it starts it never really lets up and Fuqua doesn’t seem to have a problem capturing all of the action and comedy to ensure a wholesome dose of cinematic escapism.