The Magnificent Seven isn’t an attempt to try and reinvigorate the Western genre, but rather a timely reminder that the tales of the Wild West still deserve a spot amongst the noise of today’s Hollywood blockbusters. It’s a remake of the 1960s classic that manages to avoid all the pitfalls and tropes of modern rehashes, delivering a tip of the hat to the original and that era of cinema.
Denzel Washington provides the tentpole for the film, and, as expected, delivers once again with his usual scene-dominating performances. But he’s not without star-quality company. Chris Pratt, playing a happy-go-lucky gambler, is as charming and endearing as Chris Pratt can ever be, and Ethan Hawke (who is reunited with his Training Day co-star Washington and director Antoine Fuqua) fills the boots of a broken yet brilliant former sharpshooter of the Confederate army excellently. Throw in the likes of Vincent D’Onofrio (Jurassic World, Full Metal Jacket) as a gauche tracker and Lee Byung-hun as a knife-wielding assassin, and you’ve got a diverse cast that oozes more chemistry than a science-fair. Not to mention Peter Sarsgaard playing the villain, who is as enjoyably despicable as you’d hope.
In addition to a great cast, the reason The Magnificent Seven works so well is because it knows exactly what it is. It’s got punchy gunplay, big-sky scenery, horsemanship, and more one-liners than a Steven Seagal special – basically everything you could want out of a stylish action film, but it also has a lot of heart. Every merc gets his moment, even if it’s the briefest snippet of characterisation, which helps transform the misfits and rag-tag dirty scoundrels into redeeming heroes. It’s an age-old story, but fittingly so, as The Magnificent Seven’s clear plot doesn’t aim to be anything bigger or more grandiose than a tale of redemption and revenge that’ll have you rooting for the good guys and kicking the proverbial dust at the bad guys.
Like the motley crew of heroes in the film, The Magnificent Seven remake proves that no matter how old or rough-around-the-edges something is, everything and everyone deserves a second chance. This is a film that lives up to its name. Magnificent.
The Magnificent Seven hits cinemas on 23 September 2016.
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