"The Magnificent Seven" is a remake of the 1960 Western classic put in the great hands of director Antoine Fuqua. It may not live up to its namesake or even the iconic Japanese original, but that doesn’t stop it from being incredibly entertaining.
The new version is filled with intense action scenes, some surprisingly funny moments, and has just about every Western movie cliche in the book.
Denzel Washington stars as Sam Chisolm, a bounty hunter recruited by a small town to bring down a corrupt industrialist (Peter Saarsgard) who wants to expand his own mining operations. Chris Pratt costars as Chisolm’s right-hand man and together they recruit the likes of Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onfrio to charge into battle and bring down the bad guys.
As I said before, the movie is loaded with a couple of wall-to-wall set pieces, including one when the Seven ride into town and begin a massive shootout that plays out like a John Woo spectacle. Even though it’s set in the Old West, the screenplay still goes by the formula of no one is ever really a good shot and the heroes always fire conveniently at their target at just the right moment.
One of the movie’s best surprises is that it gives a decent amount of weight to the rest of the cast, including a Native American warrior (Martin Sensnmeier) and a Hispanic outlaw (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo). The former gets a scene that takes advantage of his skill as a hunter.
Director Fuqua is generally very good at crafting these set pieces with enough style and flair and choreography to keep things fresh, but some moments still have that same old, same old feel. Nevertheless, I am recommending it, mainly because there’s a lot of good stuff in it, including the dialogue and camaraderie between the characters. Washington and Pratt give witty exchanges as do Hawke and Pratt and D’Onofrio.
"The Magnificent Seven" is about as fun and entertaining as most remakes come. And that’s saying something.
Rated PG-13 for extended and intense sequences of Western violence, and for smoking, some language and suggestive material.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.