Release date: 23rd September 2016/Watch the trailer here
Remember the ‘Old West’ scene in The Lego Movie that poked fun at every Western cliché in the book? That’s The Magnificent Seven – they even share Chris Pratt!
Teasing aside, Antoine Fuqua’s remake of the 1960 classic is a lot of fun, despite the sheer amount of clichéd gun-spinning that takes place. The story begins in the small town of Rose Creek, which has been taken over by the thieving Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) and his band of ruthless supporters. Desperate townswoman Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) enlists the help of bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), who gathers together a group of seven fellow outlaws and hired guns to protect Rose Creek and fight for the town’s freedom. Washington leads the star-studded magnificent seven, which also includes the heavy-drinking, heavy-gambling Joshua Faraday (Chris Pratt), notorious gunman Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), the bear-like tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), a knife-slinging assassin called Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).
It’s quite the line-up, thankfully comprised of seven capable, charismatic actors. Plenty of time (arguably too much time) is dedicated to introducing the seven, giving the audience ample opportunity to get acquainted. Although this approach pays off in the long-run, it does make for a slow beginning, which is at least interspersed with some stunning cinematography and a genuine, authentic ‘Wild West’ feel.
It’s in the second act that The Magnificent Seven begins to pick up the pace, once the seven are assembled and they’ve had their first good old-fashioned shootout. The action scenes are tightly choreographed and exhilarating to watch, all building towards a final showdown which is one of the better action set pieces of the year so far. It’s the simplicity of the action that makes it so effective, which is something that can be said for the film as a whole. It’s far from perfect, but it more than delivers in the form of a piece of pure popcorn entertainment at the tail end of the summer season.
Unfortunately, for all of The Magnificent Seven‘s high points – most of which can be found towards the finale – there is the fact that the film slips into boring territory one too many times. Even so, it’s worth it in the end, if not purely for the camaraderie between a talented cast that are clearly having the time of their lives.