Magnificent Seven [Review]

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down. Simple, spoiler free reviews.

With the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue, the desperate townspeople employ the protection from seven men. Among them are outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns. As they prepare the town for the violent battle they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for far more than money.

Magnificent Seven stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier as the 7 while Haley Bennett plays Emma Cullen the widow who hires the group and Peter Sarsgaard as Bartholomew Bogue.

I’ll let you in on a secret, I’ve never seen the original 1960 Magnificent Seven (which yes, I know is a remake of 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai). If that puts you off from reading this film review, fair enough I won’t take any offence. Maybe you’d be interested to know the opinions of someone who went in cold though. Or you know, maybe I’m just a big dumbo idiot who doesn’t know anything about anything. Your call!

Westerns seem to be back in for Hollywood. This year alone we’ve had Hateful Eight and this remake, with The Lone Ranger a few years ago too. I like Westerns, they’re normally a run romp. Simply stated, Magnificent Seven is exactly what I thought it would be. A big old firefight with some interesting but ultimately underdeveloped characters. I enjoyed it though!

the-magnificent-seven-denzel-washingtonThe film spends quite a lot of screen time gathering the group, but not much time explaining who people are and what makes them tick. They’re fighting because it’s the right thing to do, but why are they really fighting? Washington’s character has his reasons, which I’ll come to in a moment. Buto any of the others? I know it’s hard to accomplish a full, meaningful introduction to so many characters in such short time but I’m not sure the film even tried to do that. A quick ‘here is this persons skill’ and move onto the next one is all we got. Again, while showing no reason for actually agreeing to join. It’s not the money, because the monies pretty crap. So why are these six men so happy to follow Chisolm to what is most likely going to be their deaths.

Denzel Washington probably has the most character development or background. Yet, his character Sam Chisolm’s history with Bartholomew felt somewhat forced in my opinion. Not everything has to be wrapped up and quite so personal. I would have happily accepted that Chisolm was simply sick of hearing about the atrocities committed under his name and wanted to do something rather than a personal history between the two.

Acting wise everyone does a good job. Washington is convincing in his bad ass bounty hunter role. Chris Pratt is fun, but he’s been more fun in his other films. The rest of the seven and supporting cast are solid too but nothing spectacular. Meanwhile Peter Sarsgaard could have been amazing in his soft spoken role as villain but ultimately doesn’t get many chances to shine and feels like a wasted opportunity.

As I said when I started this review, I’ve never seen the original so I don’t really know if this is missing the heart, or presence or that special something that it has. So I can tell you is that I enjoyed it and yes, I would recommend it as it’s a solid popcorn flick that will keep you entertained. The Magnificent 7 is…pretty good.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

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