Possible spoilers ahead!
“The Magnificent Seven” is one of those movies that came and went without many people noticing. It is also one of those movies that I wanted to see on the big screen, but wasn’t able to for one reason or another. Luckily, “The Magnificent Seven” is now available on digital and blu ray, so I finally got to see Denzel do his thing in a western.
In the film, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) enlists the aid of a bounty hunter named Chisolm (Denzel Washington), after her husband is killed by the ruthless gold magnate, Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). Not only has Bogue killed dozens of innocent people, but now he’s wrested control of the Rose Creek farming community to pillage a local mine.
Knowing that Bartholomew Bogue and his army will not leave Rose Creek without a fight, Chisholm recruits a motley crew of outlaws and hustlers to retake the town, including: gambler Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), war hero Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) and his partner Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), Mexican gunman Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), reformed Indian hunter Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), and noble Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).
But with only one week to prepare for Bogue’s arrival, and Knowing they will be vastly outnumbered, “The Magnificent Seven” train the people of Rose Creek to fight for their land and their very lives.
It’s well-known that “The Magnificent Seven” is an adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Japanese film “Seven Samurai.” Then in 1960, the idea was reimagined as an American western by director John Sturges. I haven’t seen either version, so you’ll forgive me when I tell you that my first thought while watching the new “The Magnificent Seven” was: “Gee, this really reminds me of “The Three Amigos.”
That’s not to say Antoine Fuqua’s “The Magnificent Seven” is a bad film or anything. I actually enjoyed the new movie quite a bit. The script was surprisingly emotional and outright funny in many parts. Plus Fuqua’s sharp direction makes this a gorgeous film to look at. And the all-star cast of likable actors Fuqua brought together ensures the 2016 film can stand on its own.
In almost any film with an ensemble like this, some characters often get more to do than others. Fuqua however, ensures that each of the seven heroes matters in some way. By the time they get to the town, you know exactly why each one is there, and what their role is in defending Rose Creek. We only get a line or two of dialogue when it comes to background on each guy, but with a cast this large that’s understandable.
Denzel Washington turned in another solid performance as Chisolm; playing the straight man of the film to the other members of the team. But make no mistake: Denzel is the one in charge, and they all know it. But the ones who stole the show were Chris Pratt and Vincent D’Onofrio. These two guys cannot hide the fun they’re having in their respective roles, and the script gave them plenty of funny moments.
Meanwhile, Haley Bennett as Emma Cullen is a sincere counterpart to the Seven, but she’s a badass too, and as important as the men when the time comes time to defend her town. The only bad thing I can say about the cast is that Peter Sarsgaard was a very generic villain. I wish they could have gotten someone on par with Denzel Washington to play the bad guy.
In the end, “The Magnificent Seven” probably doesn’t compare to some of the great western movies of old Hollywood. Buy Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington succeeded in creating a fun and exciting western film that should delight modern audiences. If you missed “The Magnificent Seven” when it came out, it’s definitely worth checking out.
“The Magnificent Seven” final score: 8.5