The Magnificent Seven (2016)
Out Now On-Demand
Justice has a number.
Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt make two of The Magnificent Seven in this remake of the classic 1960s Western from director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day). Co-stars Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Vincent D’Onofrio (TV’s Daredevil), Byung-hun Lee (I Saw the Devil), and Peter Sarsgaard (Experimenter).
With the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Sarsgaard), the desperate townspeople employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns – Sam Chisolm (Washington), Josh Farraday (Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Hawke), Jack Horne (D’Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Cake), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier, Lilin’s Brood). As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.
The characters in this new version are completely different to the ones played by Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach and Steve McQueen back in 1960. The original The Magnificent Seven was also a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, which sort-of makes this one a re-remake.
Action, Western, Blockbuster
Rating: M Violence
The Magnificent Seven is an agreeable remake, not bad for an Antoine Fuqua flick, if ultimately an unmemorable movie. Written by Nic Pizzolatto (of True Detective infamy) and Richard Wenk (of The Expendables 2 infamy), this update of the iconic 1960 John Sturges western - itself a redo of Akira Kurosawa’s classic Seven Samurai - is evidently informed by a surface-level “wokeness” that’s attuned to our sociopolitical zeitgeist.
The core cast of motley gun-for- hire drifters is drawn from a more diverse ethnic pool than previously managed. It also locates a headstrong female character in Jennifer Lawrence dead ringer Haley Bennett, who plays vengeful boss to the men while acquiring enough badass moves for us to imagine what Katniss might’ve been if she ever set foot in the wild west.
However, nothing about the film’s handling of race issues comes close to the bristly provocations of Tarantino’s last two westerns, Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight. This Seven mainly hews to its time-tested source template, with Fuqua ticking off familiar crowd- pleasing beats - those grand notions of brotherhood and selflessness that come from strangers banding together to liberate poor, God-fearing villagers from capitalist oppressors.
Even if he remains one of the least distinctive, graceless, action directors on the planet, Fuqua feels more present in the set-pieces than he’s ever been, lending a Peckinpah-esque ferocity to the bullet- strewn, high body count climax.
The flinty, leathery cool of the original ensemble is missed, but Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt, both staying well within their comfort zones, are fine in the Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen roles, and a few character revisions, like Vincent D’onofrio’s scalp-hunting man-bear, give this one the colourful kick it needs.
Time Out London
Total Film (UK)
New York Times
Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)
NZ Herald (Russell Baillie)
More like 'The Mediocre Seven'
I gotta admit, the first half of this was some of the most boring film I've ever watched, but after I'd fallen asleep, woken up again, grabbed something to eat, gone to the bathroom and relaxed back into my bed to sleep through the other half of the movie, I somehow found myself watching some of the best film I ever have. The characters actually started to shine, the plot started to heat up and the action scenes were simply amazing. A real pity they had to chuck the first half in there.
A reboot which provides new charisma and western action sequences, which results in an entertaining and enjoyable tale.
Inane in the Membrane
For anyone who has difficulty grasping the notion of a Dead Film - the type of corporate-backed, committee-managed, inherently redundant "creative venture" that keeps grinding down audience expectations of cinema as an art-form - here's a textbook example. There is not one facet of this story that rings true even in the key of "exaggerated escapist myth". It parades racial diversity of casting as some proud claim to being progressive but, without irony, has the actors play shallow stereotypes. It's a hundred million-dollar remake nobody asked for that, also without irony, posits capitalist greed as the root of all evil. It's western aesthetic is never realized as anything but a gimmicky "themed" backdrop to cartoonish shoot-outs (of the bloodless variety that, with astonishing hypocrisy, allows even a Heroes-Kill-Best message this blatant to pass with a PG-13 rating in the trigger-happy States). Is it slickly produced? Oh, of course, and director Antoine Fuqua won't let us forget it for a second. He's proficient with the technical stuff but his inability to shake his actors out of cliche auto-pilot, his inability to stage a scripted scene as drama, and his inability to imbue frantic mayhem with any essential purpose beyond filling a frame makes this excruciating to endure. Nobody believed this incarnation would be a patch on the original film; it's as though the film-makers themselves took this idea to heart and simply went through the motions.
In a year filled with superhero movies, Antoine Fuqua still manages to deliver an action-packed western that’s worth checking out.
Reuniting the trio of Antoine Fuqua, Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke since Training Day, Magnificent Seven also features an ensemble cast including Chris Pratt and Vincent D’Onofrio.
Magnificent Seven is a remake of the 1960’s movie with the same title which is also a remake of a Japanese film called Seven Samurai. Magnificent Seven tells the story of seven individuals who band together to save a town from a heinous bandit with an army.
One of the most crucial aspect a western movie should have is the look and feel of it. Glad to say Antoine Fuqua manages to create a western film that delivers in terms of look and feel. The set design for this movie is impressive, the costume design is spot on and and this feels like an old western flick.
Accompanied by amazing cinematography this movie is great to look at, it moves well in terms of pacing, and when the climax hits, it’s a fun action packed shoot-out that will make you bob and weave as bullets fly through the screen.
One of the stand out characters in the film is Chris Pratt, he’s the one character you can enjoy as his overflowing charm and humour outshines the rest of the cast.
Apart from Chris Pratt, the movie suffers from the lack of character development. The rest of our cast are mostly one-note characters. Even Denzel Washington falls into a cliched role displaying very little range. Our main antagonist is the biggest culprit of them all as he is inherently evil for absolutely no reason. Although he manages to make the audience hate him, overall he’s a cliched character with nothing to offer than be a bad guy.
Though the movie manages to keep a fun vibe all through out, the moment of vulnerability for our main characters isn’t really there despite the shoot out that’s happening on the screen. Though we’re supposed to care for our heroes lives, they are portrayed in a very super-human way, having perfect aim and dodging every bullet, you never really fear for their lives.
Overall Magnificent Seven is still a fun film, though it is filled with flaws and problems, it manages to entertain all through out. In a year filled with superhero movies, Antoine Fuqua still manages to deliver an action-packed western that’s worth checking out.
Love the Cast - Storyline could of been a bit better - but hey it was enjoyable to watch this
The Mechanical Seven
Does this sound familiar? In the post-Civil War American West a rapacious city slicker bullies and intimidates the population of a small town in order to acquire their land and make himself incredibly rich in the process. The under-fire townsfolk hold a church meeting to discuss their options, arguing back-and-forth over whether to abandon the town or stay and fight despite the certainty of defeat. Although they’re outnumbered and out-armed they are ultimately motivated to fight back against the villain and his army of thugs by a charismatic African-American hero and his sidekick, a hard-drinker with a talent for nimble gun-play, leading to a final act that descends into unfettered and largely nonsensical chaos.
Yep, turns out that 2016’s The Magnificent Seven is, unexpectedly, an uninspired re-hash of not just one, but two different movies - the much-loved 1968 The Magnificent Seven (obviously) and also, for some mind-bending reason, Mel Brooks’ 1974 classic comedy Blazing Saddles. Think about what that means for a moment. The makers of the new Magnificent Seven thought it would be a good idea to strip-mine Blazing Saddles not for its biting satire, trenchant political commentary or hilarious jokes, but for its plot. If you think this sounds like the behaviour of a production team that doesn’t quite know why they’re making the film they’re making, then I can’t disagree.
In principle I’m not against a re-make of The Magnificent Seven (or of most films really), but when I’m watching any film, re-make or otherwise, it’s nice if the filmmakers can convey some sense of why they’ve chosen to tell this particular story. The Magnificent Seven is a movie that doesn’t seem to have any sense of why it actually exists. It re-creates familiar plot beats with no apparent idea of what made them work before. It lumbers from set-piece to set-piece with the sleep-addled befuddlement of someone who has no idea as to why he’s going to all this effort. To me it was like watching someone assemble a piece of kit-set furniture that’s been delivered to his house by mistake - he doesn’t need it and has no place to put the final product, but those empty slots and Allen keys are somehow too tempting to resist.
Why create an (admirably) racially diverse new Seven and then give them nothing interesting to do or say? (So they can look good on the poster?) Why amp up the courage, resourcefulness and screen-time of your sole female character if you’re going to dress her in a succession of ridiculous sexy-western-cosplay outfits? Why hire a first-rate cast and then (with the exception of Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke) provide their characters with absolutely no motivation for anything that they do? And if you do decide to go to the effort of giving your lead character a motivation, why make it a standard plot-o-matic revenge beef that completely undercuts the central dramatic thrust of the story you’re re-making? (None of the original Seven needed or wanted a revenge motive - they were cynics and mercenaries who ultimately found something profound and redemptive by sacrificing their lives for a group of good people they barely knew. Okay, that may sound corny and a little thin to you, but at least it’s something.) Why painstakingly set up the geography of the final showdown only to have it descend into a chaotic, ludicrously overblown, poorly-edited and tension-free re-staging of Saving Private Ryan’s Normandy landing sequence? Why, why, why?
In fairness, the movie is reasonably good fun in the early going, and there are many little bits-and-pieces to enjoy throughout, mainly courtesy of the actors - anything that features Denzel Washington in the lead role isn’t going to be completely without entertainment value or interest. But The Magnificent Seven is a film that takes a tried-and-tested formula that has survived lesser budgets and much more modest talents, only to deliver a loose and soulless jumble that never threatens to come together at any point. One thing no movie formula can ever overcome is a lack of purpose or conviction.