The fall movie season gallops off to a fun start, thanks to the fun western that is Magnificent Seven. Unlike most recent westerns, like The Revenent or more modern interpretations like No Country for Old Men, Magnificent Seven is an up to date version of saloon shoot ’em ups and cowboy action, worthy of modern popcorn entertainment but not for deep insight into man’s psyche. But that’ not a bad thing.
Reuniting with his Training Day day director Antoine Fuqua, Denzel Washington stars as Sam Chisolm, a bounty hunter who falls under the employment of Mrs. Cullen, a recently made widow by the evil Bogue and his army of goons. She hires Chisolm to take him out and restore safety to her town. With the help of six other gunslingers, including Chris Pratt’s Fairaday, fellow Training Day star Ethan Hawke’s Goodnight Rocibeaux, Vincent D’Onofrio’s Jack Horne and Byung-hun Lee’s Billy Rocks, they saddle up for some sweet sweet revenge.
Now, know this. Magnificent Seven isn’t a very deep movie. Nor does it want to be. It does not bring up race when a black man leads a racially diverse posse, nor does it tell Emma Cullen to sit back while those men do all the fighting. This movie was created to be a fun time at the movie, kick back and let the action and banter unfold, which the film nails.
I had a really fun time with this one, which is refreshing since 2016 hasn’t been the best for movies. Seven, a remake of a film of the same name and in turn a remake of Seven Samurai, is where the formula essentially comes from. We’ve seen this story before, and it is a bit of a shame that the film didn’t do a bit more with it’s story, it’s still fun to see a familiar story retold with a fresh cast and director.
Denzel knocks it out of the park again as Sam, the sharpshooting gunslinger and “duly sworn warrant officer”. Chris Pratt plays Chris Pratt and it did take me out of the movie sometimes with his style of comedy as he played the “charming gambler” type. Billy Rocks, the knife wielding badass was the coolest I found while Hawke’s Goodnight Robicheaux (best name in the movie) the most intriguing, a former confederate sharpshooter with some lingering problems. It’s a shame the other three characters, a Mexican named Vasquez and a Camache named Red Harvest don’t get the screen time to be developed. Harvest is the skilled bowman while Vasquez is the one with the attitude.
The cinematography however is topnotch and I think this is the film that should have made use of the 70mm filming instead of last years’ Hateful Eight. Wide shots of the Louisiana countryside with snowy mountains in the distance make some beautiful vistas. Couple this with Jack Horner’s final score (finished by Sam Franglen) and it really set the mood. I loved the trumpet echos that played throughout the movie and the use of the original theme.
All in all, Seven is not a deep movie, or original, but it was a fun ride and sometimes, that’s all that matters.