Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Magnificent Seven (2016) - Review

Having only three weeks to decide on whether they should sell their homes to a robber baron or be killed on the streets, citizens of Rose Creek hire seven roaming gunslingers willing enough to do battle with the evil industrialist and his mercenary army. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is as fine as a finely forgettable action flick can be. Antoine Fuqua is a very serviceable director of thrills, spills, gunfire and explosions but his soul is clearly not fully invested in this pointless remake. Shootouts start off with a high amount of tension only to then be ruined by bad editing that leaves you unable to grasp the geography of the location and easily spot who's shooting who. The film's creative changes in the makeup of its racially diverse cast and their characters' backstory may feel like a welcome change from their predecessors in the John Sturges classic, which of course took the DNA from Akira Kurosawa's phenomenal SEVEN SAMURAI, but they all lack true depth due to the film's willingness to cut out all characterization in order to streamline the story. Hell, the story is so lean that instead of a series of escalating battles between the two groups, the film concludes on absolute genocide in one big showdown. Those few that have some substance to them however are clearly plagiarizing from better material and more entertaining modern westerns; it doesn't take a rocket scientist to spot that Denzel Washington's bounty hunter Sam Chisolm is a carbon copy of Jaime Foxx's Django. The saving grace of the movie is its rich cast, all of whom make a lifetime's supply of chicken salad out of the shit spun by Richard Wenk and True Detective's Nic Pizzolatto. The camaraderie between the seven is so infectious and delightful to partake in, as they all trade a joke one minute and justifiable kill a man the next. Chris Pratt maybe the shining star for many a viewer with his literally and figuratively wild card antics but it's Ethan Hawke as Goodnight, a silly drunkard who's ravaged by his marksmanship and Confederate-bred hatred, who really steals every scene. Barely being a worthwhile watch, you're better off waiting for this remake's eventual premiere on TNT in order to see this.


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