MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Magnificent Seven’ is as ordinary as unnecessary remakes get
Hollywood has been trying like hell to bring the western back over the last couple of years. We’ve seen several efforts just within the last year or so, the most successful being “The Hateful Eight” or this year’s fantastic “Hell or High Water.”
However, as we all know, sometimes Hollywood tries way too hard to push a trend, inevitably and often unintentionally killing any and all momentum it may have had in the first place.
“The Magnificent Seven” isn’t going to be the movie to end Hollywood’s infatuation with the western, but it certainly serves a reminder that not every western is created equal.
For diehards of the western genre, or at the very least people older than me, the title of this one rings a bell.
That’s right everyone, it’s another remake, this time of the 1960 classic featuring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and Charles Bronson.
The cast of the 2016 version is even more star-studded, featuring big names like Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Peter Sarsgaard.
This odd bunch of characters get pulled together by Sam Chisolm to seek justice for Emma Cohen, played by the gorgeous Haley Bennett, from a villainous land baron (Sarsgaard) who murdered her husband, Bartholomew Bogue.
Looking past it being a remake, this movie seems so oddly familiar for some reason.
Maybe it’s Denzel as Chisolm, a tough-as-nails African-American bounty hunter in an unwelcoming western world.
Sound familiar? You’re probably thinking of the much better “Django Unchained.”
Maybe it’s because Pratt plays Josh Faraday, a smart-mouthed, yet capable gun for hire who’s given all the comedic lines?
No, no. Not Star Lord from the also much better “Guardians of the Galaxy.” This role is much different… all of his character development is replaced by alcoholism, I guess?
I figure I can probably stop with the labored metaphor by now, right? OK, good.
This movie feels familiar because it steals from not only every other western I’ve ever seen, but from other hit action movies as well.
Damn near every story element and every character here feels like a rehash of something that’s already been done better by another film.
Even with a huge cast of good character actors, only a few stand out as interesting or individual.
Byung-hun Lee, who plays knife expert and all-around badass Billy Rocks, is a breath of fresh air. His character is cool and different from the cast of mostly southern white dudes.
Plus, I’ve enjoyed Lee in his roles like an NIS agent in “I Saw the Devil,” Storm Shadow in the “G.I. Joe” franchise, and the T-1000 in “Terminator Salvation.”
My favorite character, however, has to be outdoorsman Jack Horn, played by the always awesome Vincent D’Onofrio. Maybe it’s because he’s the only character with a little bit of individuality on screen, but something about this high-voiced Bible thumper captured my heart.
Which is interesting, because my normal reaction to those types of characters is repulsion, so that speaks to D’Onofrio’s talent as an actor.
That being said, this movies has issues. Its pacing is weird, a lot of its characters are flat as cardboard, and the Peter Sarsgaard as the villain is piss poor.
It’s not that anything about him is really all that bad, but nothing about him is good either. He’s sort of just there as the mustache twirling evil guy. The only thing he was missing was tying Bennett to the railroad tracks.
Those are the type of villains I can’t stand, the dudes who are evil just because the script says so. No motivation, no nothing.
That was the biggest overall problem with the whole package, a lack of inspiration and original ideas. While the 1960 film was technically a remake of “Seven Samurai,” its different setting and approach to the story made all the difference.
I would say the movie was a slog, but I honest to God forgot damn near everything about it as soon as I walked out of the theater. It was just a big, exacerbated “meh” of an experience.
As if it’s any surprise, “The Magnificent Seven” is another remake that doesn’t live up to the original and, for the most part, fails to entertain in damn near every way.