Sometimes journalists move around and sample different beats to broaden their experience. In line with that, my editor recently asked me to try my hand at reviewing movies.
There’s nothing wrong with the reviewers we have, but if they got eaten by a puma, then where would we be? We would immediately need a new film critic who hadn’t been eaten. That’s where I might come in.
So, my editor sent me to the Violet Crown to review The Magnificent Seven, a remake of a remake, starring Denzel Washington.
The movie is pretty bad, and it was totally unnecessary, since you can just stream the 1960 version and watch Steve McQueen. If I were an actor, my guiding rule would be “Never, ever, ever get compared to that guy,” because it wouldn’t end well.
The movie was shot in New Mexico. The scenery is beyond breathtaking, so we sure held up our part of the bargain. It’s like a 130-minute commercial for coming here for vacation. I mean, minus 122 minutes of mindless carnage.
You probably know the story. Poor, downtrodden citizens, unspeakably evil billionaire bully trying to take everything they have, and maybe a strong woman can bring him down. Wait. Wasn’t that the exact plot of the 2016 presidential election?
Anyway, the plucky heroine watches the billionaire murder her husband, burn down the church and wear flip flops to a nice restaurant. She needs revenge, so she fills a satchel with all the money in the town and hires Denzel, who then recruits six other guys to seek justice.
One thing I thought was weird was that it’s been, like, a week since her husband was killed, and the widow turns into a brazen hussy, showing cleavage and whatnot. It’s a strange way to grieve, especially in 1879. You should cover up and give the poor guy a funeral, you vixen!
The seven good guys ride into town, confront two dozen of the billionaire’s hired goons, and kill them. Bodies everywhere. I initially thought that was the ending, but then I realized we were only 40 minutes into it. The real bloodbath was yet to come.
About that. Holy crap. Let’s just say, if you’ve ever yawned while seeing a cowboy get shot in the face, then maybe you can imagine the rest of this movie. Head explodes. Yawn. Head explodes. Yawn. Head explodes. Yawn. Like that, over and over…
Spoiler alert: The evil billionaire returns with a huge army of professional killers, and they attack the town. Flying lead, dying gunslingers, spurting blood. When most of the bad guys are dead, the billionaire gives an ominous order. He has a Gatling gun, a killing machine of devastating range and power, which proceeds to pulverize the town, splinter by splinter.
I was only a private in the Indiana National Guard, but even to me that didn’t seem like a brilliant military plan. Wouldn’t you flatten the town with the Gatling gun before you sent your army in? I would have been one pissed-off gunslinger, had I been there. “Hey! Dick, did you know we had a Gatling gun back there? Neither did I! WTF?”
But here is what really drove me nuts. Everybody is familiar with the film’s very famous musical score, but guess when you get to hear it in this movie? Over the closing credits, when most of the seven are already dead!
Hey, that guy’s dead! That one got shot off the roof! That dude, total loser! This one is toast! Why are they playing this music now? I want me some Steve McQueen!
Robert Basler’s humor column runs twice monthly in SFR. Email the author: firstname.lastname@example.org