Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven is a remake of the 1960s John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven (which itself was inspired by Akira Kurosawa’’s The Seven Samurai), and stars Denzel Washington as Sam Chisolm, a warrant office and leader of The Magnificent Seven, who agrees to help a town in their fight against Bart Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). Sam recruits a group of fighters which include drunken, gambler Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), war veteran Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) and exiled Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).
There really isn’t much to Antonie Fuqua’s remake of The Magnificent Seven in terms of updating the original’s narrative, though one of the more major differences is the fact that the villain is no longer Mexican and now one of the seven (also women get a bigger role in the film, albeit just the one woman). Whist it doesn’t change much, it’s a film that looks back lovingly at the great Westerns of the past, paying homage to both the 1960 film (James Horner’s great score is inspired by Elmer Bernstein’s work) and other clichés of great films of the genre. Outside of the narrative is the more diverse cast, which despite what The Guardian tried to say, isn’t a statement about diversity in Hollywood at all, at least according to the film’s star Denzel Washington.
The Magnificent Seven make for a likeable bunch, and the actors have a good chemistry between them, even if some feel a little underdeveloped. Josh Faraday and Sam Chisolm get most of the attention, but the others such as Manuel Garcia-Rulfo’s Mexican outlaw Vasquez gets a bit of a raw deal by being the most forgettable character of the group. The performances are great across the board, Denzel Washington is reliable as ever and Chris Pratt (a huge star after beefing up) gets most of the laughs.
The main problem of the film is, however, is its strict adherence to Hollywood formula, because the film has very little difference to the 1960 film and because the film adheres to a typical formula the film is a predictable one. Yet the film is an entertaining one and it ends in an exciting, well shot, and edited bloody, almost Sam Peckinpahesque, shootout. It’s fun disposable stuff that doesn’t change too much but manages to be an endearing homage to the great westerns of a bygone era