Studio: Columbia Pictures. (2hr. 12 min.)
Plot: A group of mercenaries are recruited to defend a town from a ruthless band of outlaws.
Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard
Bottom Line: ***
By Samantha Ofole-Prince
With seven appealing actors playing characters with charming quirks, there’s good reason to watch this latest remake of “The Magnificent Seven.” Based on John Sturges’ 1960 film, in which Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen starred, the film itself was an old West reimagining of Akira Kurosawa’s iconic film "The Seven Samurai."
Antoine Fuqua’s modern remake follows the same formula of the original and stars Denzel Washington as Sam Chisolm, a bounty hunter hired by the recently widowed Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) to protect their small farming town from the grasps of a greedy industrialist. The villainous Bartholomew Bogue, (played brilliantly by Peter Sarsgaard) is running a mining operation nearby and wants to buy up the town for his gold mining operation. With a swarm of private security and the local sheriffs on his payroll, he’s untouchable and the town of Rose Creek are desperate for help and offer Chisolm a large sum of money for protection.
Since it’s not a job for one man, Chisolm recruits six others for the task. They include a charming card trickster (Chris Pratt), a Confederate marksman (Ethan Hawke), a blade-wielding expert (Byung-hun Lee), a Mexican cowboy (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), a hatchet wielding mountain man (Vincent D’Onofrio) and a Comanche warrior (Martin Sensmeier). With his delightfully diverse team, the seven stride into the town of Rose Creek to serve and protect.
This update doesn't stray too far from the original Western film, in which the townspeople of a Mexican village hired seven American gunslingers to protect them from bandits. Fuqua takes his time setting up the scene, introducing audiences to the seven in the first hour before spending the final hour on a climatic shoot-em up extravaganza. It’s an impressive apocalyptic gunfight that’s particularly satisfying, avoiding visual effects and choosing practical stunts instead.
The film does well in the capable hands of Denzel, who delivers his familiar swagger within the first few minutes of the film’s opening. He’s tough and is a master with his weapon, which is established very early on when he locates an outlaw at a Saloon.
“I have a family!” Pleads the outlaw as he stars into the barrel of Denzel’s gun. “They won’t miss you,” is his sardonic reply before he discharges his brand of justice with a single shot. It’s one liners likes those that are littered throughout the film. Chris Pratt as Faraday, a cocky gambler with a penchant for whiskey, provides majority of the film’s few laughs and the scenes when they try to train the townsfolk to defend themselves delivers some chuckles.
A dutiful rehashing of the seven gunmen who attempt to save a terrorized town, it’s a worthwhile flick to sit through. It’s an entertaining Western tale of outsiders coming together for a righteous reason and the icing on the cake is that we get to hear Elmer Bernstein's iconic theme to 1960's “The Magnificent Seven.”
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This was printed in the October 2, 2016 - October 16, 2016 edition.