Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Magnificent Seven - Movie Review

Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard, Luke Grimes, Matt Bomer and Cam Gigandet.
Written by Nic Pizzolatto & Richard Wenk.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua.


Did we need this remake? No, but might as well have some fun with it.

It's a great story, told over and over, from the original Seven Samurai to the Yul Brenner/Steve McQueen classic to Three Amigos to A Bug's Life.  People in peril from someone powerful and evil seek help from outsiders.

This movie features the robber-baron Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), the hammiest mustache-twirling villain you're going to see this year, counting the animated movies. He's bought off the law to the point that he and his men can just shoot a few people in broad daylight and set fire to their church, and no one does anything. After her husband is killed, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) enlists the help of bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington). The town scrapes together what possessions they have left so Chisolm can recruit who he needs to in order to kill Bogue. (And Chisolm's bounty hunter scenes reminded me a lot of Django Unchained.)

This is where the movie really picks up. We're given enough time to meet the recruits one by one and have enough time with them that we care whether all of them will survive the inevitable showdown. Faraday (Chris Pratt) is the wise-cracking gambler. Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) is the bandit. Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) is the legendary Civil War sharpshooter, and Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee) is his knife-wielding companion. Jack Horne (Vincent D'Onofrio) is the expert mountain man. Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier) is the Comanche who finds himself without a tribe.

The third act, after the Seven have fortified the town and trained the remaining citizens the best they could, is the money part of the movie. I loved the set-up and execution of the final half-hour battle.

It's not particularly deep, and I would argue it doesn't take itself too seriously. For a movie where almost 200 people get killed.

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