By Christian DiMartino
Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven is a remake of a classic western named The Magnificent Seven. That film, made in 1960, was a remake of a Japanese film called Seven Samurai. Hmm. A remake within a remake. So, basically, Fuqua’s film is “Remake-ception.” To further: it’s unnecessary.
But that’s not to say the film is without its pleasures.
Is any remake necessary? Eh, not really, because most of the time, the first time was already the charm. But if we’re gonna get a remake of a classic, I’m perfectly fine if it’s something like what Fuqua has done here. It’s a film that’s out to change your life or anything. It’s really just pure cinematic fun. Loud and overlong, it’s more than worth it once it’s spectacular final battle arrives.
Set in a Western town (you know, like one you’d see in a Western), the film opens with a bang. While nearly half the town is having a meeting at a church, a notorious rascal named Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) and his gang invade, and you can assume blood is shed (well actually not really. It’s strange: there is a crap-load of violence here, but none of it bloody, so it escaped with a PG-13 rating). Emma (Haley Bennett, who appears to be in everything this year), a townswoman whose husband was murdered by the gang, decides that enough is enough, and seeks help.
The help? Well, let’s just say, the town is good hands. Denzel Washington plays the leader, Sam Chisolm, and let’s just say, even at 61, Washington is still the coolest guy in the room. There’s also Chris Pratt’s Josh Faraday, a Chris Pratt type, Ethan Hawke’s Goodnight Robicheaux (fun fact: Fuqua, Washington, and Hawke all worked together some 15 years ago on Training Day).
We also have Vincent D’Onofrio’s Jack Horne, and… good God does he really look like that? I’m sorry that’s rude. And rounding out the Seven: Billy (Byung-hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). Together, they help prepare the members of the town for battle against Bogue and his men.
I’m not sure if Fuqua has made a great film (though Training Day is really good), but he always makes something enjoyable at least. Here’s another one. The Magnificent Seven does something rare: it has about a 40 minute action sequence, and there’s never a second in it that’s short of riveting. Even though there isn’t that much in the way of character development, you still manage to care about these characters. Not to mention, it’s all so marvelously orchestrated and crafted. Whatever doubts you have about the first part of the film will be put to the side.
Even though this isn’t a film that we needed, Fuqua does it with such style. The cast is also in top form, especially Washington, who is always a treat. Before seeing it, I said to myself, “Denzel Washington is in this movie. He doesn’t do bad movies.” I’d still say I’m on the money with that one.
It’s a predictable and noisy film, yes. But it’s a fun, predictable, and noisy film. It won’t end up a classic like the original, but it stands up well on it’s own. Yee-haw… okay I’m done here. I ruined it. I’m sorry.