Oct. 25, 2016
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'The Magnificent Seven' Review

September 28, 2016, 12:00 am

Hold onto your hats, because here comes another remake—this time in the form of legendary Western The Magnificent Seven (which was itself a retelling of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai). In this new iteration, the black-hearted Bartholomew Bogue (a cartoonishly evil Peter Sarsgaard) is hell-bent on taking over the small valley town of Rose Creek, and the people who live there are pretty sad about it. Cue social unrest exploding into street violence and a whole mess of murders.

Observing her husband gunned down in broad daylight doesn’t sit too well with Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett), so she hires a duly licensed warrant officer named Chisolm (Denzel Washington) to take Bogue down. “I seek righteousness,” Emma says, “but I shall take revenge.” Dang!

Chisolm takes on the job, natch, and it seems like maybe he has his own mysterious reasons for pursuing Bogue—but he can’t do it alone. This is where the six other guys come into play, though their motivations are flimsy at best. Faraday (the always likeable Chris Pratt), for example, owes Chisolm for getting his horse out of hock, and Goodnight Robicheaux (a surprisingly decent Ethan Hawke) joins because, uh … well, he just does. Ditto for his stereotypical Asian pal Billy Rocks (Bynug-hun Lee), the tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), a Mexican outlaw named Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and a loner Comanche warrior named Red Harvest (whom they meet completely by chance and who joins the posse because he seemingly didn’t have anything else going on—played by Martin Sensmeier). It’s fun enough to watch the assemblage of the group, and there is definite chemistry between Washington and Pratt, but this must be about the most predictable movie of all time. And sure, it’s a remake, but we honestly expected a more sophisticated retelling from such an accomplished writer (True Detective mastermind Nic Pizzolatto). Everything plays out exactly how you’d expect and the overused filmic devices just keep on a-coming. It sure is entertaining, though, and one does wonder how on earth a two-hour film that’s basically just dudes getting shot in the face didn’t pick up the R rating. Regardless, The Magnificent Seven is fine. Just fine.

The Magnificent Seven
Violet Crown, Regal,
133 min.


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