“The Magnificent Seven” Movie Review

Can we all just agree that Denzel Washington is the man? Seriously, if there’s one thing this movie educated me about, it’s that statement. This Western movie debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival before receiving a worldwide release of September 23rd, 2016, when it grossed over $40 million in its opening weekend. Set in 1877, a corrupt industrialist named Bartholomew Bogue is terrorizing the small town of Rose Creek for their plentiful mines. Two residents, Emma Cullen and Teddy Q, decide their only choice is to recruit as many bounty hunters possible to protect them. Seven men agree to do so- black bounty hunter Sam Chisolm, gambler Josh Faraday, Comanche warrior Red Harvest, Mexican outlaw Vasquez, sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux, hunter Jack Horne, and assassin Billy Rocks. Despite taking the title from the 1960 film of the same, I wouldn’t call this a remake. While they have similar plots and settings, they’re both ultimately products of their time. This one feels more like a celebration of the Western film, a genre with installments that are few and far in-between in modern times. It’s apparent because the idea of cowboys and bounty hunters defending a small town of innocent villagers from a band of bad men has been a plot device used in countless Western stories. But it works here. As I said in my intro, Denzel Washington is a complete badass in this movie. I believe this is his third outing with director Antoine Fuqua, whom he had previously collaborated on Training Day and The Equalizer. If you tell this man your secrets, he won’t tell anyone else. If you’re his friend and someone messes with you, he will take care of that problem. I guess I love damaged characters who are very efficient at what they do.And yeah, the other six members of the Seven did a great job. Chris Pratt is hilarious as Faraday, proving once again his justification for taking over Hollywood in the last few years. I was really glad to see Ethan Hawke reunite on-screen with Denzel for the first time since Training Day. He plays a very well-spoken and friendly sharpshooter who is capable of shooting your head off, even if he may be hesitant to pull it off. Vincent D’Onofrio, Martin Sensmeier, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Lee Byung-hun are all great in their respective roles, but I wish that some of them had gotten more screen-time. At a point, I started wondering which of these men is cannon fodder. But from the way they interact in scenes together, I’m convinced that these seven men probably hang out with each other. Haley Bennet was also a performance worth noting as Emma Cullen. At first glance, she just comes across as a typical Western damsel-in-distress, looking for a handsome man to ride on a horse with her into the sunset. As it turns out, she’s pretty capable of looking after herself, showing proficiency with firearms and killing nasty outlaws. The camera work is fantastic. With long, drawn out wide shots of men riding on horseback contrasted by quick edits of intense gun battles, John Refoua and Mauro Fiore deliver a beautiful-looking adventure. The two of them do a great job of making the audience feel as though they really are in the town of Rose Creek. Let’s touch on the musical score. Having tragically died in June of last year, this was James Horner’s final posthumous soundtrack. Though it was finished by his friend Simon Franglen, it still had all the violins, twangy guitars, and intense drumbeats that we’ve come to love and expect from the genre. I wouldn’t say that The Magnificent Seven offers much that is new or improves on the original film. But it was still a lot of fun to watch, especially considering the rarity of its genre in recent cinema. It knows what it is for the most part, and that’s probably the best thing any movie can do.

Image result for the magnificent seven

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