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Yes, Denzel makes for one very cool bad-ass with his shiny Colt .45
strapped to his hip with the butt forward, but that's about it.
There is almost nothing in this picture that is a surprise or unpredictable. Dialog between actors is awkward and stilted (and sometimes completely unintelligible). Very little background on any of the characters is presented and offers no development what-so-ever.
Take "Red Harvest", the crack Indian archer outcast. We practically beg to know more about him, but all we get is his announcement, "The elders have said I'm on a different path", and boom, he's in the club. Please. The movie is over two hours long, and that's all we get?
There is a few laughs and a decent stunt here and there, but all that could have been accomplished in a much shorter run time and on a fraction of the ridiculous $95 million dollar budget.
More plot holes than you can count, and a final gun battle that is so technically improbable it will ruin what little suspension of dis-belief you had left. Example? The Gatling gun that fires hundreds of rounds on a single clip and magically zeros in on strategic targets... from a quarter mile away!
This movie is a perfect example of why I rarely venture out to see a first run picture for the same amount of money I could have spent on a half tank of gasoline.
Maybe your kids will enjoy it, but you will not.
For real, don't bother
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The third American remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. It has a
great deal of the same issues but they are exacerbated in this third
iteration. This movie of the three has weakest storytelling but some of
the best action, but it doesn't feel like a western. And it isn't quite
an action movie instead it is this kind of middle ground that just
makes the movie feel lost and out of place. And that is one of the over
arching issues with this movie, it doesn't know what it wants to be.
*LIGHT SPOILERS BELOW*
Everyone besides Denzel Washington has no motivation. The big bad guy an evil corporate industrialist (who honestly gains nothing by destroying the town...he has the mine rights already and would greatly benefit from having a town nearby) decides to destroy the town, murder half the inhabitants and set the church on fire in the first 5 min...just so you know he is evil. Chris Pratt's character Faraday is motivated to get his horse back and an obscure promise of some payout. But he realizes early on that he has his horse back and the payout isn't that much, so he kind of stays and dies for no reason. Ethen Hawke's "Goodnight" and Byung-hun Lee's "Billie" show up because Denzel asked nicely (again no talk of a payout). And this repeats itself with the rest of the characters, (except for the good Comanche Indian Denzel ate a raw deer liver so they became be-sties). And it gets worse because all the magnificent seven are the same stereotypes you have seen in Hollywood since the 70's. Mountain Man into Jesus, Noble Indian Savage, Mexican Bandit, Confederate Soldier with PTSD, Gambling Cowboy, token woman that can shoot, Asain samurai with a pistol, and the only real character Denzel Washington as Chisolm.
The action in this movie is however fast paced and over the top...Think of a western "SHOOT EM UP" and you have it. They do not use the traditional idea of western movies that build up the tension over the course of a movie. It is suddenly, Chris Pratt kills 8 bad guys in 15 seconds. Billie (the samurai gunslinger) runs in the open and stabs 4 cowboys with knives (despite having two pistols), and Mountain Man tackles a horse (despite having a pistol, rifle, tomahawk, knife etc). It is cool to watch but will have you at moments go WTF.
If you think about the story you will have a bad time. If you want realistic western action you will have a bad time. If you want a mediocre action movie that takes place in a western town, this could be worth a shot but only if you watch during a matinée. It doesn't hold a candle to the original (1960). But it does have better action than the 1998 one...but the story is worse. So it is basically on the same level as the made to TV movie.
Another MADE-FOR-TV movie brought to the screen.
More of the same from Hollywood.
Lets re-make a classic, but ensure it's politically correct and an absolute that it represents every race, so as not to step on any toes.
Oh,and lets give everyone modern-day attitudes and dialects, because apparently no one has the capability of acting with the original language or mannerisms associated with the time-period depicted.
Filling a movie with a handful of 'regular stars' does NOT assure the film will succeed. This one is like the recent 'TARZAN' movie.
Save your money and watch the Seven Samurai & The Magnificent Seven (original) to see film beauty and entertainment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The movie is a remake of "The Magnificent Seven" by John Sturges
(1960), which is itself a Western adaptation of Kurosawa's masterpiece,
"Seven Samourai" (1954). Despite a few flaws, the 1960 version was
balanced and entertaining: cast, dialogues and music, notably, have now
become legend. In comparison the latest version delivers almost
nothing. If anything, it proves that quality is not about plot (which
is roughly similar for the two Westerns), but about style.
*** WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS ***
The three films have the same structure: 1. Context and recruitment of the seven mercenaries; 2. Village life and training of the villagers; 3. Showdowns with the villains and conclusion. On all these parts, the movie fails.
1. CONTEXT AND RECRUITMENT OF THE SEVEN MERCENARIES. The context is over the top. The villains are horrendous, overstaffed for such a small village and ready to kill at any rate. By the way, Bogue, if you can murder "half a dozen" villagers for no reason, why do you even bother offering them to buy their land? Just start shooting to make them go away.
The recruitment is so incredible it becomes funny: reasons for joining the band remain completely obscure, if not absurd. Sure, I'll join this suicide mission just because you have my horse (Faraday). Of course I'll join because it will get just one single bounty hunter off my back, out of the dozens chasing me (Vasquez). No, I won't join you, I am going away well, after all why not, even though I don't know why I changed my mind (Horne). Hey, let's share deer liver for breakfast and I'll go along with you (Red Harvest).
2. VILLAGE LIFE AND TRAINING OF THE VILLAGERS. Village life, where? Villagers, who? We barely see any of this, we don't know how they live, what they think, how they feel. They are reduced to a simple background for the action. The character we understand most is Emma Cullen, which says something. In the previous movies, the villagers debated about options, asked advice to the wise elder, hid the women, betrayed the mercenaries. We saw them discussing, working, celebrating, building defences, training.
Here we only see a few minutes of the villagers' training. At first it is a disaster, but afterwards but afterwards nothing, we don't see how they progress, technically and psychologically, to be able to confront the villains.
3. SHOWDOWNS WITH THE VILLAINS AND CONCLUSION. In the previous movies, there was a build-up of the action, with limited confrontations that eventually lead to the final climatic showdown. Here there is a first fight as the mercenaries enter the village, and then we wait, and wait until the final showdown that lasts forever. Loads of explosions, of shooting, of deaths, more deaths It is impossible to keep track of the body count, however it seems much more than the original villain bunch. In terms of strategy, Bogue, since you have such a terrific machine gun, why do you use it AFTER most of your men have been massacred, not BEFORE? We will never know. Also, why do you even bother coming to this fight, endangering your life? Surely not because Chisolm would have called you a coward, since you don't remember who he is anyhow.
The movie ends in utter ridicule, with Chisolm trying to make Bogue pray with him. And when the three remaining mercenaries leave, letting the villagers sort out the mess, the latter repeat "thank you" as a mantra, even though most of their men died and their village is completely ravaged. Was that better than moving away? On a moral and symbolic ground it could have been, but then it would have required the movie to have moral and symbolic insight, instead of just inflated action.
This is where it doubly fails. First, it is a standard no-brainer action movie, while the two previous films (especially "Seven Samourai") were talking about values, honour, courage, purpose and dangers of fighting, characters, friendship, solidarity. Their ending was meaningful: villagers (life) win, mercenaries (death) lose. Dialogues were to the point; here, they are reduced and plain: just compare for instance the Quotes section of the three films on IMDb. There is only one scene when the main characters could have a real conversation: the dinner in the saloon. At that point we hope the movie will lift off the ground where it is stuck unfortunately, dialogues remain dull. Earlier, it makes two weak attempts to add substance, to no avail: Bogue's opening speech on capitalism and the ethnic diversity of the mercenaries.
Second, it does not even succeed in being an efficient action movie: it is full of stereotypes, lengths, overblown scenes and inconsistencies. To some extent it tries to imitate Sergio Leone's style (or Clint Eastwood's inspired by Leone): outfits, close shots, macabre tone, incongruities. However it is a far cry from this Western master because it lacks essential elements: pacing, measure, second-degree humour and class. A typical example of superficial form without purpose. I am not a huge fan of Tarantino (another possible reference), but at least he would have provided rhythm and coolness to the same story.
The only quality that emerges is the solid acting. A special mention to Denzel Washington as usual, to Ethan Hawke as a past legend now drowning in despair and fear, to Haley Bennett as a sensitive yet strong woman. Actually everybody is performing so well that it makes the movie enjoyable at times.
If you haven't seen Sturges' and Kurosawa's films, you are lucky, you will appreciate them considerably after this one.
Both Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington are in their 60s, both have defied the laws of Physics by starting brand-new careers as Action Heros late in life. and both are charismatic and talented enough to pull it off.
(Neeson with the Taken series plus a few other assorted action roles recently; Denzel with the Equalizer franchise and this strange oater.)
Frankly, I would be happy to buy a ticket buyer for all the action roles they both can dish up. If both these gentlemen want to continue to make these sorts of pictures for the next 20 years, I promise to keep watching.
However, leaving aside the star power of the lead in this production, overall this film is a borderline remake.
The original had a better ensemble cast, better music, and better acting.
This is an "OK" remake (as many other members have opined here) with arguably better pistol-handling skills.
And still a very nice way to spend a rainy afternoon.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Seven is the magic number. A "seven" rating for a somewhat
underwhelming movie. The gun fights were well executed and the cast as
good as advertised. It's the story that lagged. The team assembling so
quickly and their rationales for doing so are near nonsensical and
shallow. Also, PC Hollywood rearing its head was noticeable and
irritating. Casting the lead as a black man was absolutely fine
(especially given a superb talent like Denzel Washington) and actually
added to the narrative but adding an Indian, Asian and Mexican to the
team for good measure seemed tacked on and forced to a silly degree.
Making sure ALL the white men suffer a bad fate before the end of the
movie adds to the "white man guilt" Hollywood is so keen on promoting
At the end of the day, the movie is mostly unremarkable save for some intense gun battle scenes.
Antoine Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven is about as brazen as the cowboys it portrays. It is loud, visceral and action packed but lacks the necessary functions for it to be a truly great film. Despite Fuqua's most confident directing and Denzel Washington's excellent performance, the film ends up being as cluttered as the cast would suggest. When it all comes down to it, it is a matter of an overload of star power. While there have been films in the past that have had incredible casts and flourished, this film makes it feel as though the film is only big enough for one star. Chris Pratt is great as an alcoholic and incredibly ballsy gunslinger, Faraday, but he lacks any gusto to really command the screen as does most of the cast outside of Denzel Washington (someone who I can't say enough good things about here). It ends up feeling like these roles could have been played by anyone when it should have felt like these actor's owned these roles so much so that you can't imagine anyone else in it. Unfortunately that isn't the case here. Quite frankly, the only performances worth noting are Washington and Peter Sarsgaard, who gives a devilishly good performance as a sadistic law man. In this respect, the film is very much a disappointment for anyone expecting to see the next great ensemble film of the year. More importantly, those of you who were excited to see the re-teaming of the Training Day squad (Washington, Hawke and Fuqua) will have to wait a bit longer for that because there is barely any chemistry between Ethan Hawke's Goodnight Robicheaux and Washington's Chisolm. The screenplay, written by True Detective's Nic Pizzolatto and action aficionado, Richard Wenk is lackluster to say the least. As I said, the character development with the characters is either not there or so forced and unnatural that it takes you out of it. After the abysmal season 2 of True Detective and this, I think is safe to say that Pizzolatto is turning into the one hit wonder that everyone feared that he would be. However, I will still hold off on officially saying that about him because there are some ideas that were introduced in the film that were really interesting which is why it is all the more frustrating when they are cast aside and never touched upon again. The screenplay is the big problem here. It is well paced but emotionally hollow. It never really reaches anywhere near the heights of the Kurosawa masterpiece or even the 1957 remake that that film spawned. In this case, the script reads and sounds like a bad imitation. Despite this, The Magnificent Seven does boasts some pretty exceptional action set pieces much to Fuqua's credit. The film is explosive but it is highly predictable. Those who are killed don't really resonate with the viewer because quite honestly, we don't care about any of the characters outside of Washington. They are mere footnotes to the larger picture which is a monumental disappointment. Overall, I thought that Antoine Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven boasted a great idea and never truly capitalized on it. The film felt like it really could have been something but we are left holding on to the idea of what could have been.
Finally another great western movie!
To be sure, all the western clichés are found in this movie; and I don't have a problem with that! One of the things I liked best about this western was the pacing, sometimes I find westerns to be a little too slow (for my personal taste - subjective, I know) but I felt this movie nailed it, even with a run time a little over 2 hours.
The action scenes are great, very well done. The casting and acting was great - Denzel does a great job as the leader of this rag tag group of guys. Pratt, of course, nails the comedic relief role.
The movie carried a surprising amount of "heart" throughout it all the way to the end.
Here is the bottom line: Yes, this movie is worth your hard earned money to go see in the theater.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Y'know how sometimes the remake of a film can, if not actually improve
upon the original - though, arguably, 'Scarface' does just that - take
a different approach to the story of characters which is equally
engaging, or sufficiently different to make the revamp justified...but
not SO different that all it has is a titular connection to the
original? Scorsese's morally skewed 'Cape Fear', for example.
Well, 'The Magnificent Seven' ISN'T one of those films. Not blindingly awful - Denzel is engaging as ever, and Chris Pratt plays Chris Pratt like no-one else can - just...pointless. It suffers by clearly having been designed by a committee.
"Hmmm", some twelve-year-old studio exec has thought. "Westerns aren't ethnically diverse...so lets have a black star...but never actually register for more than a fleeting moment that he's a black man in prejudice-ridden 1870s America. A Native American, too...but let's not dwell on the irony that he's helping the townsfolk protect the land they stole from HIS people. Oh, and there were a lot of Mexicans in the original....but they're a political hot-potato, right now 'cos of Trump...so ONE will do, even although he doesn't appear to have any distinctive character traits, other than BEING a Mexican (a violent, rapacious one, at that...The Donald would be SO happy!). Oh, and we're clearly missing the Asian market...so how about an oriental knife-flashing Ninja type. THAT's not a stereotype, at all!!'
Now some of this would be excusable if half these characters had a back-story. Ethan Hawke has a potentially interesting riff on Robert Vaughan's jittery death-rattled mercenary, and Vincent D'Onofrio's quirky Jack Horne hints at an intriguing tragic history, but neither is particularly developed. hat said, they are still MORE fleshed out than any other characters, save for Denzel Washington's Chisolm, onto whom a wholly unnecessary revenge sub-plot is half-heartedly grafted.
All of the original seven are, to some extent, either idealists or characters in need of redemption. They are all Western archetypes - but the reason archetypes WORK is that they are universal. THESE seven are just...clichés.
All you NEED to know about Yul Brynner's principled gun-for-hire, Chris, in his bond with Steve McQueen's drifter, Vin Tanner, is summed-up in the wonderful Riding Shotgun On A Hearse: willing to bring Hell down on themselves and everyone else to bury a dead Indian, scorned by the prejudiced 'civilized' townies. They do what's RIGHT, according to morality rather than law or social convention. The link between Washington and Pratt is a formulaic bar-room shoot-out. Dull. A wasted opportunity - but typical of this cliché-ridden dross.
Oddly, the plot of the original film is entirely dropped, in favour of an artless re-hash of the key elements of 'High Plains Drifter' (break out the red paint an' the dynamite, kids!), and although the bland score hints at cues from Bernstein's gloriously rousing soundtrack, they wait until the end credits before a rather limp arrangement of the iconic theme kicks in.
That's a BIG tune, boys and girls...and you didn't earn it.
Crap. Watch the original, instead. More fun. More emotional connection. Just...better
Come on now. If you're going to re-make "The Magnificent 7" let's do it
magnificently. Where was that great music? Where is the superlative
cast that include Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles
Bronson, James Coburn, and Vladimir Sokoloff? You might argue that
Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt are on a level with Brynner and
McQueen, but I wouldn't. Pratt certainly has potential, but he doesn't
yet have McQueen's star power. The rest are pale imitations, except
perhaps for an unbelievably fat Vincent D'Onofrio who is certainly
This is a modern re-telling. You might call it the Diversity 7. The producers threw in just about every minority you can think of Mexican, Asian, Black, Woman. The only thing missing was a "little" person .
Personally I liked the idea of the woman, played very well by Haley Bennett who has been with Washington before ("The Equalizer").
An action film like this works only when the villain is villainous. Eli Wallach was terrific. Peter Sarsgaard wouldn't scare a fly.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed it. It's OK, but it's not magnificent.
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