Distributor: Sony Pictures
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writers: Richard Wenk & Nic Pizzolatto
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Peter Sarsgaard, Haley Bennett, Ethan Hawke, Lee Byung-Hun, Manuel Garcia-Fulfo, Vincent D’nofrio
Genre: Western, Action, Drama
Based off of the 1960 classic, Director Antoine Fuqua does very well in paying tribute to the spaghetti western genre, from the location to the classic plot, and especially in the gunslinging Mexican standoffs. The action is certainly heavy and rather gruesome on occasions, making it all the more engaging and entertaining for audiences. What certainly helps is the steady camerawork in both action and dialogue scenes as it allows the film more enjoyable and easy to follow. If it had been the usual shaky camera, it would have taken away from the overall quality of the film, especially during the shoot outs scenes.
Violent Content: A number of shootouts, some that are rather graphic in blood. A number of people being blown up by dynamite as well appear in the film.
Language/Crude Humor: God’s name taken in vain a couple of times along with usages of b**** and s*** here and there.
Sexual Content: Can-Can Girls and prostitutes appear but nothing is shown in regards to sexual content or nudity. While they’re drunk, men talk about woman inappropriately but nothing too detailed or graphic.
Drug/Alcohol Content: Alcohol is consumed throughout and characters also smoke. There is a scene of drunkenness, but it’s a very short one.
Spiritual Content: Some characters display redemption and a will to stand for those who cannot stand for themselves.
Negative Content: While it is not highly expanded on, there is a seeking of revenge by some characters who are consumed by it.
Positive Content: Seeking redemption, forgiveness, and standing for the helpless against the corrupt.
After witnessing a brutal town shootout and the loss of her husband under the command of Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), widower Emma (Haley Bennett) seeks vengeance for her and the town. By making a payment to Bounty Hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), the search begins for the best gunslingers to take Bogue’s army down and restore the town to the people.
While the team is of seven, the primary characters are Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke, a highly noted fact just based off of the advertisement. This being said, they do not steal the entire spotlight of the film as audiences take an interest in Emma, the woman responsible for assembling the team and rallying the town to stand for themselves. While she has an amount of fear and anxiety, she also possesses great courage and a strong will to the point where it is displays in battle with her hand on the trigger.
More screen time certainly could have been shed on the supporting cast of the team. For some members, this lack of character development leaves a pondering mystery, those that are to themselves in particular. During the showdowns however, the team’s lack of screen time is certainly made up for as they individually showoff their skill sets in gunslinging and close combat against Bogue’s army.
These gunslingers are tough, but some contain significant flaws. Rather than being a stumbling block in their development, it allows audiences to have a sense of sympathy and understanding that not all characters behind a gun are tough-skinned. It also allows these certain characters to earn redeeming qualities and a strong courage to stand for the victimized and for their reputations.
Even though his screen time is short, Peter Sarsgaard portrays a worthy villain full of greed and lust for power as his ruthlessness and demand for respect expands throughout his performance.
The well-paced plot contains the spaghetti Western feel as it retells the classic story of greedy gold and oil businessmen shooting out against the saviors of a small oppressed town. What was expanded on regarding the classic plot is how tactical the team of seven were in training the townsfolk and planning for the battle to come. It adds more to the overall showdown, allowing itself to be more entertaining, engaging, and enjoyable to watch. What is also touched on in the film is the classic seeking of revenge for certain characters, which is pretty common among Westerns. Not only does it touch on revenge, but also touches on the outcomes of being consumed by it to where it becomes one’s primary goal in life.
The Magnificent Seven in itself is the retelling of a western classic with new approaches that allow it to stand on its own, even as a remake. From beginning to end, audiences are engaged as the primary focus of the film does not stray off into unnecessary subplots or love interests of any sort. Certainly a film worth watching not just once over the weekend, but twice.
+ Consistent plot + Enjoyable & likable characters + Intense action + Tribute to Spaghetti Western
- Lack of side character development - Underwhelming villain
The Bottom Line
Even as a remake, The Magnificent Seven stands on its own as a western, paying tribute to the classics. Great action, location shots, camera work, and simple yet understandable plot. Enjoyable film for the weekend.