Saturday, 24 September 2016

The Magnificent Seven

Year of Release:  2016
Director:  Antoine Fuqua
Screenplay:  Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk, based on Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni
Starring:  Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard
Running Time:  133 minutes
Genre:  Western, action

The year is 1879, and the small mining town of Rose Creek is plagued by ruthless industrialist Bart Bogue (Sarsgaard), who wants control of the entire town.  After Bogue turns a town meeting in the local church into a massacre, young widow Emma Cullen (Bennett), whose husband was killed by Bogue, and her friend Teddy (Luke Grimes) ride out to find gunfighters to help protect the town.  They find bounty hunter Sam Chisholm (Washington), who has a personal grievance against Bogue, gunfighter and gambler Josh Faraday (Pratt), sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheux (Hawke), and his associate and expert knife fighter Billy Rocks (Lee), wanted outlaw Vasquez (Garcia-Rulfo), grizzled frontiersman Jack Horne (D'Onofrio) and Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Sensmeier).  These seven have to protect a town of farmers against a ruthless army.

This is a remake of the classic 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven, which in turn was a remake of the 1954 film Seven Samurai.  This is a hugely entertaining, classical Western, full of the traditional tropes of the genre, there is even a scene where the piano stops playing when a  character shoulders into the saloon.  I have to confess, I am a huge fan of Westerns, and this film left me with a big smile on my face.  It's a good old-fashioned romp, in the best sense, full of action, and daring-do, with a dash of humour and emotion (the final moments have real emotional weight).  Washington and Pratt provide real movie-star charisma.  Aside form a more diverse cast, this is very much a traditional Western, and doesn't really do much that hasn't been done before, but for old-school Saturday matinee fun, it certainly delivers.

Vincent D'Onofrio, Martin Sensmeier, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Byung-hun Lee are The Magnificent Seven

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