Review: This year’s Magnificent Seven, by nature, is an oddball – a remake of John Sturges’ preserved Wild West classic, which was a result of remaking Akira Kurosawa’s essential Seven Samurai. A simple classic story, which Antoine Fuqua remakes with True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk, might only differ a little from whichever source materials it follows; but, in an era of forgettable blockbusters, this one might fade in one or two years, contrasted to the everlasting originals.
While it is still the same story where 7 unsung heroes – in this term, gunslingers – assemble; the new Magnificent Seven attempts to Americanize the source of conflicts. Wiping off the classic bandit nature of the villains and substituting it with a greedy, heartless capitalist in face of Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) is how. In addition, it makes use of a little more motivation to make it more Western (in favor of Quentin Tarantino): revenge.
There is a prologue where a strong-hearted female protagonist (an effective addition to the storytelling) is introduced. She is Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett, Hardcore Henry and the upcoming The Girl on the Train), whose husband, along with some other villagers, is murdered in favor of Bogue’s ambition.
Angered and desperate, she asks a bounty hunter, Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) to aid her and the rest of the villagers to get rid of Bogue and his men. While reluctant at the beginning, Sam accepts the offer and starts assembling a team consisting of gambler/trickster Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) and partner Billy Rocks (Lee Byung-hun), a tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), a Mexican fugitive Vazquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and a Comanche Indian Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). A mission for money turns into something else when the magnificent seven gets to the village and sees what they’re fighting for.
First and most important thing to highlight about this new Magnificent Seven is the titular heroes. With striking diversity in terms of ethnicity, background and style of fighting, the band of heroes has never been this colorful. Also, a female supporting character to the seven is also a great addition. As much as they’re all fascinating in looks, those characters are all likable, although Pizzolatto and Wenk give less depth than they deserve.
In some parts, Antoine Fuqua’s over-stylized and over-explosive action directions are captivating to some extent. He’s making it as if this remake is a fun joyride into Wild West with dynamic action sequences and part-time comedy. But, that’s where all the fun ends.
While the source materials are grand productions, this remake chooses to tone down the grandiosity and, instead, make the whole setup a lite one – a corny summer blockbuster for the sake of entertainment only. Accordingly, The Magnificent Seven cuts down most interaction between the seven and the villagers which leads to the originals’ strongest emotional bond. In return, this remake only poses some Police Academy-esque interaction with some occasional flirts and group-interaction.
The new setup, which was written neatly, might be deviating from the source materials; however, it falls short as it goes. Pacing problem and hasty execution make 130 minutes of The Magnificent Seven feels too short; moreover with that kind of conclusion, which could not live up the expectation.
Final verdict, The Magnificent Seven might have all the advantages of likable cast and characters as well as dynamic action sequences – in which Antoine Fuqua excels -, however, its decision to appear lite as a popcorn entertainment makes it fall short in comparison with grandiosity the original Magnificent Seven and the Japanese epic it remade, Seven Samurai, been knowing for.
The Magnificent Seven (2016)
Action, Western Directed by: Antoine Fuqua Written by: Richard Wenk, Nic Pizzolatto Starred by: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Peter Sarsgaard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Haley Bennett Runtime: 132 mins Rated PG-13
This review is sponsored by Book My Show Indonesia.