“The Magnificent Seven” never quite lives up to the adjective in its title, yet the western delivers a beautifully shot, action-packed experience.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, “The Magnificent Seven” is based on the 1960 movie of the same name, which itself was a re-imagining of Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai.”
“The Magnificent Seven” tells the story of seven men who come together to defend a town from a villain who is destroying the livelihood of the townspeople. Along the way, each of the seven gives up his own personal agenda in favor of honorably opposing the bad guys led by Bartholomew Bogue, brilliantly played by Peter Sarsgaard.
Bogue is a worthy villain, despite his lackluster motivation. Sarsgaard does a good job portraying a slimy, evil-to-the-core man who is willing to kill without mercy.
“The Magnificent Seven” offers enjoyable action scenes that are tons of fun to watch. Most of the action uses real stuntmen instead of CGI, which is quite refreshing.
The majority of the action occurs in the last half hour of the movie. Much of the rest of the movie is devoted to gathering the seven and preparing for the big battle with Bogue’s army. This allows for a large amount of buildup, which culminates in a worthy climax.
The movie is also well acted. Denzel Washington, portraying bounty hunter Sam Chisholm, and Chris Pratt, playing card trick-loving gunslinger Josh Faraday, deliver their typical great performances.
The standout actors are Ethan Hawke as the former Confederate sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux, and Vincent D’Onofrio who portrays Jack Horn, a slightly off-kilter mountain man. The rest of the seven, including knife fighter Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Ruflo), and a Comanche named Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier), nail their respective roles.
The main problem with “The Magnificent Seven” is its lack of character development. In both “Seven Samurai” and the original “Magnificent Seven,” there is an underlying theme of regret among each of the characters about their lives as warriors. However, this theme is not deeply explored in the current film. Several of the characters have little or no back story given to them. Those that do don’t receive enough screen time.
Overall, “The Magnificent Seven” is enjoyable. While the story lacks the depth of its predecessors, it hits the mark in delivering an entertaining, western experience full of fun and excitement.