Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Magnificent Seven is an entertaining enough western. Whilst the film offers some initial spark, this is not enough to justify its existence.
When a small village are terrorised by an unflinching industrialist, they look for help in an unlikely source. The townsfolk employee a motley band of outlaws, bounty hunters and hired guns to defend their land and their lives…
A remake of the 1960 film (which in turn was a remake of Seven Samurai), director Antoine Fuqua updates The Magnificent Seven for a contemporary audience. The western period setting remains, yet there are some ideas which feel more modern. Action sequences in the film are a lot of fun, and overall the film is better paced than its predecessor.
The western tropes are clear as day in The Magnificent Seven. The basic themes of revenge, justice and integrity are present throughout. Fuqua infuses a modern tinge to the film. There is something contemporary about the land grab attempted by antagonist Bartholomew Bogue. Nevertheless, this link to recent news events could be coincidental. The diverse backgrounds of the defenders is commented upon, but it is not made into a big deal. Attitudes depicted in The Magnificent Seven are progressive, more often than not. However, this is not jarring.
Humour in the film works most of the time. The camaraderie between the seven hits and misses. There are some relationships that seem a lot more natural than others. In updating the film to give it more momentum, the screenwriters have forgotten to give the feel any real glimmer of originality. The antagonist is a one-dimensional villain, and there is little to most of the seven. Moreover, the narrative offers little of note. Denzel Washington is as strong as ever, and his chemistry with Ethan Hawke is reunited here. Chris Pratt is in danger of being typecast. Peter Sarsgaaard hams it up as Bogue.
On paper and initially, this remake has promise. However, The Magnificent Seven does not do enough to distinguish itself and is not memorable as a result.