I will take any modern Western Hollywood wants to give me. If you are a fan of movies in general, you already know the story: there’s a poor farming village being bullied by the wealthy and powerful. They have no choice but to gather everything they have to hire mercenaries to help protect them. Enter seven cowboys/samurai. Yes, this is a remake of a remake, and no, that didn’t make me any less excited about it. I love Westerns, but they are relatively rare in modern cinema; we no longer live in the 50’s and 60’s where they were just everywhere, so I have learned to grab them when I can get it. The trailer to this looked positively badass, and yeah, it did not leave me with an ounce of disappointment.
Denzel has a pretty top notch track record, all things considered.
Now I liked the original, but it does have pacing issues that don’t translate all that well to a modern audience (which I realize is something that is not necessarily the movie’s fault). While this film here does take its time introducing you to all of the characters, it moves relatively quickly. Also, with the original Magnificent Seven, there were a few cowboys that faded into the background. Not here. Every single one has a personality (albeit stereotypical), and while the amount of screen time is going to the bigger names as expected, you walk away remembering every single character. This is because they all have personality and their own specific set of skills that make them memorable. It’s an old story that’s tried and true, and there is nothing wrong with that. It actually ends up succeeding on a number of different levels, and the more I think about it, the more I like it.
As blasphemous as this may sound, I think I might actually like this over the original.
It’s not a perfect movie, but I wasn’t expecting it to be. My biggest gripe with this is that the script could have sparkled more, and it would have benefited from a pass from a punch up writer. It’s also a superhero movie in guise of a Western, and it really does fit the template of The Avengers; you have these larger than life heroes coming together to save the day in extravagant fashion. Because of that, the danger doesn’t really feel as palpable as it could be because they hardly get grazed… that is, until the end. The gunplay in this is pretty stellar, and it pulls off almost every trick shot in the book. The whole time you are waiting for this climatic showdown to be reached, and when you finally get there, it gives you every thing you paid for. If you are a Western lover like I am, you should go out and support this, because it is a crowd pleaser.
The Magnificent Seven (2016) ****
– Critic for Hire