The Magnificent Seven (PG-13)
05/11/16 23:17 Filed in: 2016
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Denzel Washington
The below comments (in Black) were originally tweeted in Real-time from the back row of a movie theater and appear @BackRoweReviews. Though efforts were made to tease rather than ruin this movie’s memorable lines and moments, some spoilers may exist in the following evaluation (in Red). For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. All ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!
“This valley is ours.” For the moment.
It takes a special kind of lowlife to tomahawk a woman.
“They’re better off without you.” Ha!
“Would you like to see another magic trick?” #IncredibleDisappearingEar
“Maybe my grandfather killed your grandfather.” #Bonding
“I believe that bear was wearing people clothes.” LOL
Chisolm eats a deer’s heart. Iron rich breakfast.
“Consider this a recall.” Ha!
“Statistically speaking, they should’ve hit something.” #ChrisPratt’s comedic timing is impeccable.
The “poking and sticking” scene is hilarious.
“I’ve always been lucky with one-eyed jacks.” Yeah!
#Bogue prays inside the church he burned down. That’s rich. #SinnersPrayer
Final analysis: a decent remake of the 1960 film and its #Kurosawa antecedent.
Rating: 3 out 4 stars. Formulaic, but still enjoyable with some great action and non-stop humor.
Based on the 1960 classic Western of the same name—which itself is based on the Japanese film Seven Samurai (1954), directed by Akira Kurosawa—The Magnificent Seven is an adequate remake of the seminal tale of a group of misfits defending a terrorized town from a land-grabbing lowlife and his posse of thugs. Barring a few minor variations, the new Magnificent tracks closely with the storyline from the 60s film and is a crowd-pleasing, yet safe, follow up. In the leading role is Denzel Washington, who plays Chisolm, the counterpart to Yul Brynner’s Chris Adams. Whereas Steve McQueen played the sidekick role with a sense of humor as dry as the original’s dusty desert setting, Chris Pratt’s cardsharp serves as a joke-a-minute funnyman in the new film. Ethan Hawke’s reluctant gunfighter mirrors Robert Vaughn’s shell-shocked sharpshooter, while Byung-hun Lee’s laconic, knife-throwing assassin resembles James Coburn’s similarly drawn character in the vintage version. Similarities between new/old members of the ragtag team diverge at this point with the diversity award going to the new film for including a black, a Mexican and a Comanche (along with an unofficial eighth member in the spirited widow, played by Haley Bennett) in the titular septet. Eli Wallach (in brownface) played the Mexican heavy, Calvera, in the 60s version, but here, Peter Sarsgaard plays the stone-cold Caucasian villain, Bartholomew Bogue. Another story deviation from the 60s movie, which was set mostly in Mexico, is that all of this film’s action takes place north of the border. The movie’s sets, props and costumes are all period appropriate, as would be expected, and the southwestern landscapes (shot in Arizona, Louisiana and New Mexico) are simply gorgeous. My one critique of Antoine Fuqua’s (who previously worked with Washington and Hawke in 2001s Training Day) direction is that he doesn’t give the establishing shots enough time to “breathe” before rushing off to the next bar fight or shootout. Okay, so I lied, I do have another issue with Fuqua’s helming, namely the blurry fight scenes. For his action sequences, Fuqua uses the same handheld camera with rapid-fire edits that you’d see in a blockbuster action film…and the results are nausea inducing. Not only is this brand of action scene anachronistic for the film’s milieu, but it may prove annoying for many non-gamers or anyone over 40. Still, the multi-vantage melees are spirited, fun and don’t overstay their welcome…much like the film itself. Although the movie’s linear, cause and effect narrative is predictable from start to finish; it delivers enough thrills and laughs to keep the audience engaged throughout. Though it fails to live up to its name, the new Magnificent isn’t a bad way to spend 90 minutes. Now it’s time for this review to ride off into the sunset. Happy trails, partner!