The Magnificent Seven

Directed By: Antoine Fuqua

Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, and Peter Sarsgaard

Remakes are the new sequels if the 2016 slate of films proves anything, and there have certainly been both hits and misses.  We went back to Peace Rock for the bare necessities of life in The Jungle Book.  We asked a new generation who you gonna call in the female-headlined Ghostbusters.  On the other side of the spectrum, we were tortured by the remake of Ben-Hur.  We also saw The Legend of Tarzan swing straight into mediocrity.  It’s safe to say that there are plenty of remakes that have made their way to theaters this year, but I'd venture a guess that none of the others are quite like The Magnificent Seven, a remake of a remake.  A remake of the 1960 western of the same name, The Magnificent Seven finds its true origins in the 1954 classic Seven Samurai.  With this in mind, there's a doubly high bar to which this remake will be compared, especially considering the pedigree of its ensemble.  I may be able to set that aside recognizing this is a September release and not something right in the middle of awards season.

Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) wants to turn the town of Rose Creek into his own personal mine, and the corrupt businessman is more than willing to shed blood to do so.  He makes this abundantly clear to the townspeople in a tragic demonstration of force.  Bogue slaughters Matthew Cullen (Matt Bomer) — a man who speaks out against his crimes — as well as several other members of the community.  He burns the local church to nothing more than a pile of ashes in the process.  He gives the people three weeks to sign over the deeds to their property for $20 per parcel of land.  Adding insult to injury, Bogue gives the survivors some extra incentive by leaving the dead bodies to rot right on the main road of Rose Creek for all to see.  

Having just lost her husband Matthew, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) doesn't take this bloody proposition all too well.  In fact, she seeks out the services of bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) and offers him everything she has to take out Bogue. Chisolm in turn pulls together a group of seven dangerous men to lead the charge against Bogue — deadly gambler Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), former Confederate soldier Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Robicheaux's trusty assassin sidekick Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), bear-like tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D'Onofrio), Mexican criminal Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Comanche badass Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).  This motley crew bands together to protect the people of Rose Creek from Bogue. 

The Magnificent Seven
is a reunion of Training Day stars Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke with director Antoine Fuqua.  The movie certainly boasts more than this powerhouse trio given its sizable supporting ensemble.  With all of this talent on deck, I'd expect a great deal from the film on the one hand.  Because Fuqua has been wasting away with movies like The Equalizer and Olympus Has Fallen in recent years, however, I ultimately expect less of the film.  I certainly don't expect it to match the original The Magnificent Seven or its predecessor Seven Samurai.  Though this remake is far from magnificent, I must say that I did enjoy the cinematic experience.  There’s something special about a western.  With this kind of talent on hand for a film in this genre, there's no doubt moviegoers will have a good time.  There's just this underlying feeling that sinks in throughout the move that this is far from their best work.  Despite plenty of heart and just as much fun via popcorn thrills, The Magnificent Seven lacks a certain depth that could take it to the next level.

The cast is pretty entertaining to say the least.   For his part as Sam Chisolm, we've got Denzel Washington giving us one smooth yet noble bounty hunter.  For his part as Goodnight Robicheaux, Ethan Hawke gives us one slick good old southern boy talking loads of trash.  As Josh Farraday, Chris Pratt clowns around and kicks ass simultaneously.  All the while, we have the likes of Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Martin Sensmeier round out the group with a plethora of colorful personalities.  Finally, Peter Sarsgaard gives us a stone cold villain focused on nothing but land and power.  All of these actors bring something to the film, but none of them really have the opportunity to rise to the occasion and shine

Entertaining but not excelling, The Magnificent Seven gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Have a few rounds of beer with this one.