Cinematic Releases: The Magnificent Seven (2016) - Reviewed

Director Antoine Fuqua delivers a remake of the classic Western, The Magnificent Seven in a brand new package that assembles a stellar cast for a retelling of the tale we already know and love.

Instead of taking this new version in a different direction or brandishing stylistic camera work and action, Fuqua takes a step backwards and turns in a modern version of the movie that plays it close to the chest. This is a Western after all and Antoine obviously knows how to jump genres without fouling up the reason we love these types of movies. Going back decades, the remake is a hard line, old school Western that barely shows any blood during its scenes of excessive killing and sets up a story that's rudimentary but skillful at the same time. Instead of going for the gusto with effects shots and hyper editing, these Western avengers assemble for one of the better remakes we've seen.

Fuqua and Denzel Washington consistently make good movies together. From Training Day to the Equalizer reboot, these two know how to work together while making quality movies high on character, chemistry, and plot. If anything, The Magnificent Seven is a great example of successful actors working together to try and make the best of a movie that they know many people will turn their noses up at. Unlike many remakes, do overs, or reboots, this is a tribute to the original movie that doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. It follows ever so closely to its source material as it adds little touches just to add some flair. Using beautiful set design and very little CGI imagery, The Magnificent Seven is a time capsule back to the days when films were about story and development.

The pairing of Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt as the two main heroes is simply perfect. They play off each other with wit and charm, never going too overboard or hammy. With Vincent D'onofrio's endearing performance as Jack Horne and Ethan Hawke as the PTSD suffering Goodnight Robicheaux, the film is already set up as a tour de force of great character players. Adding the creepy, but totally dialed in Peter Sarsgaard as the villain is just icing on this delicious cake of bullets, hatchets, and arrows. Cam Gigandet shows up as a bit player but is thrown under a carriage before we really get to see much of his useless and utterly talentless acting. The beautiful Haley Bennett rounds out the cast as the main female lead. What's really cool and original is that they never sacrifice her as some love interest for one of the main characters.

Has anyone seen our car?

A lot of moviegoers are going to skip out on this one because of the remake curse. But much like Ben-Hur, they're going to be missing out on something special. No. Most classics don't really need someone to make an updated version. And yes, most suck. But in the instance of this movie, it's a relevant retelling that lets some popular actors play outlaw for 120 minutes. The respect for the 1960 film is all over this thing. There's love coursing through the veins of this Fuqua project. For someone that loves Westerns old and new, The Magnificent Seven (2016) let me escape space adventures, comic book heroes, and found footage horror for an evening. For that, I'm thankful. Sometimes it's nice to experience real adventure at the theater again.

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