Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke
Genre: Action/ Western
In the old West, ruthless industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) seizes control of the town of Rose Creek in order to mine for gold. The residents turn to bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Washington) for help and he manages to assemble an eclectic group of six other gunslingers to defy the odds and protect the residents of the town and defeat Bogue’s vast army.
With Hollywood obsessed with remakes these days, it was always inevitable that there would be a remake of John Sturges’ 1960 film (itself of course a remake as we all know), but when it was announced that Antoine Fuqua was directing and Denzel Washington was starring, I think we all knew what we were going to get, and so expectations were surely adjusted accordingly; this was most certainly not going to ever be the most emotionally engaging or memorable film, but should at least be an enjoyable enough romp with plenty of blockbuster thrills, spills and laughs.
Well, as anyone could have predicted, Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven is a loud, deeply flawed, vacuous and clichéd film, but is also tremendous fun, mainly due to great performances and some very well put together action sequences.
What is key to The Magnificent Seven being so fun is the fact that it never really takes itself particularly seriously (just as well, as it has no right to), and so it in-turn actually unashamedly embraces the constant clichés that its narrative includes to a level of audacity that has to be almost admired. This means that the audience very much laughs with the film throughout, even when it as at the fact the story is incredibly cheesy and clichéd. Meanwhile, after a fairly lengthy build up, once the action comes along ti does not dissapoint, with all of the titular seven getting their individual moments to shine.
The Magnificent Seven is one of those films, in my humble opinion, where there is very little that needs to be said when writing a review. Of course there are many elements of the story that could be analysed, torn apart and destroyed but that would be a waste of time and words as all anyone needs to know is the answer to the one key question; is it an enjoyable film?
The answer is of course a resounding yes, and we all know the abundance of caveats that come with that question, but we don’t discuss them as we don’t need to!
Antoine Fuqua and his screenwriters Richard Wenk and Nic Pizzolatto know what they are doing and know their limitations, and deliver suitably. The cast too deliver perfectly the performances that we knew they would; Chris Pratt is very amusing as the joker character, Ethan Hawke is intense, Vincent D’Onofrio is bonkers, Peter Sarsgaard chews scenery as if his life depends on it and Denzel Washington is Denzel Washington in a cowboy hat. However they all very much play their part in making The Magnificent Seven great fun, in particular Chris Pratt who once again effortlessly oozes charisma. While Denzel is what Denzel does, and he does it very, very well in his effortlessly laid-back all-knowing way.
The key thing to remember here is that The Magnificent Seven could have easily been terrible, but considering the director, cast and the current state of Hollywood, it is probably as good as it could have actually been.
A film that is unashamedly a cacophony of clichés, but also a tremendously enjoyable romp; The Magnificent Seven will not live long in the memory, but very much entertains while on screen.