What are the main ingredients for a good western flick? Cowboys and their horses, saloons, guns and a standoff, right? “The Magnificent Seven” adds extra ingredients to cook a western for the 21st Century.
Denzel Washington stars as Sam Chisolm, a gun-toting bounty hunter. While en route to catching wanted men, Chisolm is asked for help by Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett). She wants him to stop Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), a ruling tyrant of her hometown, Rose Creek. Chisolm takes the job when Emma says she’ll pay him everything she has.
Chisolm recruits some tough men to help with the job. He gets Gambler Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), Sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Assassin Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), Mountain-Man Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and Comanche Warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). They travel to Rose Creek and prepare the villagers for rebellion.
“The Magnificent Seven” is a remake of the 1960 film starring Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. Both films had similarities. A tyrant ruled over villagers, making their lives miserable. The Seven not only fought for the town, but taught the villagers how to fight.
When Billy Rocks assassinated a cowboy with a knife in a shoot-off, it mirrored Britt (James Coburn) assassinating a cowboy in the classic film.
There were some differences in this film. Diversity in the Seven gave the movie more pizazz than the original all-white cast. Emily carried a strong voice and gun of her own, which was a step-up from the typical western flick female.
Similar to his role in “Jurassic World,” Pratt gives a superb performance as a wise-cracking alcoholic gambler. Just as two men he stole money from are about to kill him, Faraday turns the tables by performing an impressive card trick.
Washington’s trademark performance is similar to his roles in “Man on Fire” and “The Equalizer.” He’s a simple man seeking justice, even if he has to go through hell to get it. This makes him a worthy leader of the Seven.
“The Magnificent Seven” had some flaws. There could have been more shootouts in Rose Creek. Chisolm could have interacted with Bogue more like Brynner did in the original film. A dash of romance would not have hurt either. But if you’re looking for a 21st Century western film, “The Magnificent Seven” is right up your alley.
Studio: Metro Golden Mayer (2hr 13min)
Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennet, Peter Sarsgaard.
Story: Six gunslingers and a Native American join forces to stop an evil man from destroying a village.
Final Score: A-