REVIEW: The Magnificent Seven (2016)

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2016, Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures

Director:
Antoine Fuqua
Producers:
Roger Birnbaum
Todd Black
Writers:
Akira Kurosawa (original screenplay “Seven Samurai”)
Shinobu Hashimoto (original screenplay “Seven Samurai”)
Hideo Ogami (original screenplay “Seven Samurai”)
Nic Pizzolatto (screenplay)
Richard Wenk (screenplay)
Cinematography:
Mauro Fiore
Editing:
John Refoua

Cast:
Denzel Washington (Sam Chisholm)
Chris Pratt (Josh Faraday)
Ethan Hawke (Goodnight Robicheaux)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Jack Horne)
Lee Byung-Hun (Billy Rocks)
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Vasquez)
Martin Sensmeier (Red Harvest)
Haley Bennett (Emma Cullen)
Peter Sarsgaard (Bartholomew Bogue)
Luke Grimes (Teddy Q)
Matt Bomer (Matthew Cullen)
Jonathan Joss (Denali)
Can Gigandet (McCann)

Antonie Fuqua remakes the classic 1960 western based on one of Akira Kurosawa’s greatest epics and with an eclectic cast, this is one team that works wonders in the Old West.

Bartholomew Bogue has taken over Rose Creek, a small town near a gold mine. Anyone who stands in Bogue’s way is in danger of being killed and that’s what happens to Matthew Cullen, who had planned to lead a charge to stop Bogue. Cullen’s grieving widow Emma has grown tired of Bogue and decides to do something about it. She decides to hire anyone capable of stopping Bogue. She finds warrant officer Sam Chisholm and gambler Josh Faraday.

Chisholm and Faraday separate to find more recruits. Faraday finds the sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux and the Asian-born knife wielder Billy Rocks. Chisholm finds fugitive Vasquez and offers him to help in exchange for letting him go free when the mission is over. The group reunites and come across elder tracker Jack Horne and a Comanche warrior, Red Harvest. When the seven head to Rose Creek, they make their names known as they are able to defeat some of Bogue’s men. When Bogue gets wind of what has transpired, Bogue launches a massive attack on the town, causing these seven unlikely heroes to lead an attack that can save the town and possibly get them killed.

In 1954, Akira Kurosawa brought out one of his most well-known epic films, Seven Samurai and six years later, that film was remade in Hollywood as the classic western that starred Yul Brynner as the leader of the seven unlikely heroes in charge with protecting a town from a notorious bandit gang. Five and half decades later, Antoine Fuqua brings his own spin on the Western story and does something one would never imagine and that is to bring diversity amongst the titular “Magnificent Seven”.

In an era where African-Americans would have been completely disgraced, Denzel Washington’s introduction as leader Sam Chisholm shows him walking into a saloon. He gets the look from everyone but surprisingly, race is not the issue. It is because he is walking into potentially dangerous territory and Washington rightfully leads the charge and makes one hell of a leader and finds a worthy well, “second in command” in the form of Chris Pratt, who brings a lot of comic relief in the role of gambler Faraday as does Vincent D’Onofrio at times in his role of tracker Horne.

Ethan Hawke does quite well as Robichaux, who suffers from PTSD after his experiences in the Civil War while Korean actor Lee Byung-Hun proves ample support as Robichaux’s trusted partner Billy Rocks, who is quite an expert with knives. Rounding out the seven is Canadian-born Martin Sensmeier, who gets his biggest role to date in the role of Comanche warrior Red Harvest, whose intro scene is a bit cringeworthy when he gives a gift to pledge his loyalty to Chisholm. Peter Sarsgaard makes a pretty good villain in the notorious Bogue while Haley Bennett proves herself to play an against-type role of this genre as the tough Emma Cullen, who wants to not only protect the town, but have revenge on her mind when her husband, played in a cameo by White Collar star Matt Bomer, is killed in the film’s opening scene.

There are plenty of shootouts, close quarters knife action, and even archery and axe throwing in the film with the final act being the film’s piece de resistance. The action scenes alone are such enjoyment for action and Western fans but it is the finale that is truly epic and determines the fates of virtually everyone involved.

The Magnificent Seven 2016 is truly a fun and wild ride with an excellent use of diversity in the cast who all work well together with their characters having one goal in mind, no matter the cost. Definitely worth checking out.

WFG RATING: A

DVD/BLU-RAY

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