The recent film of Magnificent Seven is a remake of the original Magnificent Seven done in 1960 that was also the remake from the original film Seven Samurai which came out in 1954. All three films are based off the same screenplay by Akira Kurosawa who wrote and directed Seven Samurai 50+ years ago. How will the new version stack up to the prior two films?
Based on and recognized for the original screenplay of Akira Kurosawa and directed by Antoine Fugua who directed Training Day, The Equalizer, and Shooter brings back the Old West, were there are gun man, outlaws, and small unsafe villages.
It is based in a town called Rose Creek which is close to a mining down and under the tyranny and oppression of a man named Bartholomew Bogue. He owns the lawmen, the gamblers, and the gunmen to keep strict control and take what he wants. He is tired of dealing with the local folk of Rose Creek and gives them three weeks to sell their land to him or he will take on extreme measures to get there land…
Emma Cullen whose husband was killed by Bogue in front of her decides to seek out gunmen who are willing to defend her town and her revenge. Emma and Teddy Q (another townsman) find Sam Chisolm, a Bounty Hunter who decided to help the townsfolk by enlisting six others to help fight against Bogue. He recruits Josh Faraday, Goodnight Robicheaux, Jack Horne, Billy Rocks, Vasquez, and Red Harvest. They all come from different backgrounds, cultures, and walks of life. However they decide to take on this impossible fight alongside each other for the salvation of the town people of Rose Creek for the greater good.
Before I start with my comments regarding the new Magnificent Seven, I need to explain the background of my thoughts. It is hard to give remarks without talking about the two prior films that came before this one.
If you watch Seven Samurai, a Japanese film, you will understand my comments regarding the new version. Seven Samurai is in the top 50 movies of all time. It was known as the first action film ever. Once you see Seven Samurai, then you need to watch the 1960 Magnificent Seven. As I did this, the plot to even the dialogue in 60’s version of Magnificent Seven is exactly the same! I felt like instead of Samurai’s we had gunmen, and instead of Japanese villagers we had Mexican Villagers. Besides the signature soundtrack and great casting of the 60’s Magnificent Seven, I was disappointed of the copycat production to Seven Samurai. It just was to close and for me was disappointed to see. I can understand if viewers had no idea that Seven Samurai existed… So now what does this have to do with the recent Magnificent Seven? The 2016 version did everything the original 1960’s version should have done, and it made it their own.
Director Antione Fugua knocked it out of the park. He had a lot riding against him making this film. First, the Western genre is a dying breed in cinema. Second, taking a lot of superstars like Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington, and Ethan Hawke and make it believable that they are gunslingers and hopefully they can gel. Third, taking a film that has been done before and make it original enough it isn’t a copy but have enough to give the prior film respect and acknowledgement. He did all of these things, and may have rejuvenated the Western genre again. That we will see.
Peter Sarsgaard also should get a lot of credit for playing a ruthless bad man named Bartholomew Bogue. With every good guy, you need a bad guy, and he was able to flaunt his character with power and darkness.
Denzel Washington played Sam Chisolm. When he came into the screen, his demand and presence said it all. He played a great leader in the film and was able to orchestrate the other gunmen and the townspeople against an impossible defeat. Ethan Hawke’s supporting role just added to the chemistry. Chris Pratt brought the entertainment to this film which was needed for a storyline than was brim and full of revenge.
The storyline had some good points on it as well. It allowed the audience to understand the threat that was over the townspeople in a big way and the decisions they had to make in order to survive. However, it didn’t have to go to an “Old Man” for advice because they had motive against Bogue and his men. The fight sequences didn’t have to be half the movie either. Though there was tragedy, it did keep the same plot line up until the end of the film.
What didn’t Work:
There are two different points I will make that could’ve gone better. However these two points are minor, and didn’t ruin the film at all.
First the gathering of all the gunmen came a bit too easy. It felt a little bit incomplete why each one except Midnight Robichaeaux and Billy Rocks joined Sam Chisolm. Joining an impossible task takes from the soul. I just wish there was some more in depth why each one joined. Though it seemed that they became close when join all together.
Second part is that the main points of the prior two films were not only about revenge. I really go back and forth on this point. In Seven Samurai, it ends that the villagers won but they as Samurai’s lost. Same in the 1960’s (again cause of the copy of the Seven Samurai) it spoke to the dying art and breed of the gunmen and the west. Without ruining the new version, it wasn’t. It was geared towards revenge. I go back and forth on this issue because the gunman and Western has been dead. If that is the point then it defeats the purpose. On the other hand, the point of them being lost is because they fight everyone else’s battles, and will always become the losers at the end of the day. However a main reason why these gunmen came to defend the town is to overthrow tyranny and stand up for the little guy. Again, it is a moot point, but holds for debate.
This is a must see film. It was well done, and brought the Western genre to the modern era. It holds on its own. It brought ode to Seven Samurai with some of the fight scenes that were “Samurai-ask” characters into the storyline. It gave respect to the prior Magnificent Seven but at the end of the day it stands on its own. This film can ride off into the sunset knowing that the Westerns have been rejuvenated. Go see this film.
I give this film 4 out of 5 stars
If you like this film, I recommend: