The Magnificent Seven is what going to the movies is all about. This movie promised action, adventure, and heart and delivered all three in spades. It may not have been perfect but with an outstanding cast, a perfect setting, and some solid cinematography this movie is easily at the top of my summer movies list.
Director Antoine Fuqua updates the 1960s Classic with a diverse cast and a shot of adrenaline. But while the action may have been intense and exciting, the film tries to play to its western roots bringing some great emotion and interesting storytelling as well. Rather than a mexican town beset by bandits, this version shows us a town called Rose Creek where a robber baron has come to take the land for the attached gold mine. Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) has come to rob the people of their land and kills anyone who gets in his way including Emma Cullen’s (friend of Wampaslayer Haley Bennett) husband. Emma wants revenge and to save the town so she seeks out Chisolm (Denzel Washington), a bounty hunter who assembles a team of rough gunslingers to defend the town and take out Bogue.
Of course I feel that Denzel Washington is one of the greatest actors of all time and he was amazing in this film but the character I loved the most was Jack Horne played by Vincent D’Onofrio. I must admit that D’Onofrio was not personally on my radar until his terrifying and wonderful performance as the Kingpin of Daredevil but ever since I have been enamored with his abilities. There was not a lot of time given to the development of each character as there were so many leading actors in the film but his story was by far the most intriguing. He is an old mountain man who has lost his family and his career and is left with only his faith. He’s a savage bear of a man in battle but the kindest and most noble character to the people he meets. It was interesting to see a character like this rolled in with these cowboys and warriors as it lent a real level of emotion during what would have only been more fight scenes.
On the flip side the most surprising thing for me in this film was how much I didn’t care for Chris Pratt. I have been a Pratt fanboy since Parks and Recreation and usually feel that he can do no wrong but in this case I found that he was off the mark. The film never really explored the characters in depth and for good reason as they would have been seven separate plot lines in a two hour movie but with most you had an understanding of where they came from. Ethan Hawke struggled with reliving his days in the army, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo is on the run, and Martin Sensmeier has been kicked from his tribe on a solitary path. But with Chris Pratt, he was just a cowboy who liked to drink and make jokes. I understand that he was trying to be the Steve McQueen of the group but with all of the characters having a real emotional arc some of his performance just fell flat.
This movie was amazing and definitely worth seeing in the largest theater with as many speakers as possible. The soundtrack screams old western as well as the tense moments between the heroes and the villains. Both the large scale action scenes and the fights that ended with a single gunshot are equally as intense. Fuqua creates real emotional stakes in this movie and that is not something that you tend to see in these big budget action films. Before we get lost in the holiday movie season, do yourself a favor and check out The Magnificent Seven.
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