The Magnificent 7 (2016)
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Written by: Akira Kurosawa, Richard Wenk, Nic Pizzolatto
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Haley Bennett
Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) builds up an intense sense of tension that plays out throughout the film. He gives us those classic scenes that are well known in Westerns such as those always tense suspenseful stare-downs or traditional quick-draw shootouts. Moreover, I also appreciated how Fuqua didn’t neglect the actual cultural issues that were relevant in 1879. Fuqua didn’t go overboard like Quentin Tarantino by constantly dropping N-words to remind you of the racist climate. Instead, you still get subtle reminders that there’s still some racial tension present.
The biggest draw for this film is going to be the characters. Denzel is Denzel. I don’t think he can be anyone besides that anymore. He’s smooth, calm, collective, and dangerous whenever he has a gun. Chris Pratt brings in the comic relief with his charm and wit. Vincent D’Onofrio absolutely transforms no matter the role he’s in. The slight change in his voice (which was a little awkward) still helped him turn into a completely different and believable character. What’s even more interesting to watch is the development of each character. While it may not be the deepest, it was nice to get a little backstory that ultimately referenced what makes them each unique.
There’s plenty of gun toting action to keep you entertained. Despite being limited on the type of weapons that were available in the late 1800s, it was nice to see the various types of weapons used in their battles.
While the cast did work pretty well together, the recruitment process was pretty weak in my opinion. Many of the motivations for the characters to join together on this supposed “impossible job” just didn’t seem believable. Beyond that, the story is pretty predictable and basic. There’s only a slight minor twist towards the end, but it’s really nothing shocking. Though this isn’t major, I think they could’ve expanded Matt Bomer’s role a bit more than they did. He’s just a good actor, so it kind sucks to see him have a small role.
I really enjoyed The Magnificent Seven. After watching it, I could easily recall the reasons why I used to dream about being a cowboy when I was a kid. If I had to compare, I’d say it was like Django + Suicide Squad + with a dash of The Hateful Eight. It’s a pretty straight forward movie. What you see in the trailers is exactly what you’ll get. There’s a combination of drama, action, suspense and very mild humor which, I think, makes it a pretty decent all around movie. I’d certainly recommend seeing it in theaters.