The Western genre seems to be dishing out some more movies to cater to the modern movie-going audience into seeing some films with Quentin Tarantino’s ‘The Hateful Eight’, and ‘Django Unchained’. Antoine Fuqua (who directed ‘Training Day’ and ‘The Equalizer’) has decided to direct a western, but not just any western; this one is a remake of a classic called ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (which is also a remake of Akiro Kurosawa’s ‘Seven Samurai’). It looks like Fuqua has discovered the formula for creating a perfect Western (The costume design, the cinematography, etc.), but it feels as though he is missing a few things to make this an engaging one.
It has the potential and the star power to match, but ‘The Magnificent Seven’ is a remake that needs more work in order for it to succeed as a film. If you take a look at the ‘Pete’s Dragon’ remake that came out this year, it worked because it changed the story up a bit for it to make modern audiences happy with amazing visuals, great chemistry, and a touching story. With ‘The Magnificent Seven’, you get a couple of characters that feel like they’re just there to be a part of the cast, mediocre acting, and a pace during the climax that needs to be faster.
I have to confess that I’ve never actually seen the original two films that inspired this remake, so I feel it deserves at least a pass for not being able to work as well as it should. I also feel that I should mention the main cast since they are the power that brings this movie together. Denzel Washington as Chisolm is a bad-ass that seems like the typical cowboy cliche, but works to his advantage when need be; Chris Pratt as the alcoholic Josh Faraday is a sight to watch and adds to the comic relief, but has problems finding the right accent to match his character; Ethan Hawke does well as Goodnight Robicheaux and adds a bit of humanity to his character, but feels a bit of a predictability; Vincent D’Onofrio feels like a bit of annoyance as Jack Horne, who spends his time talking in awkward pauses and doesn’t even say much; Byung-Hun Lee is a bad-ass as Billy Rocks, but along with his co-star Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (who plays Vasquez) are the two characters that feel as if they just need to be there; while Martin Sensmeier’s archer character Red Harvest is the real character that steals the show with his quiet nature.
There’s also Emma Cullen (Hayley Bennett), a widow looking for revenge against Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) for the murder of her husband and the slaughter of the many townsfolk. Bennett starts off as quiet and trying to portray emotion, but does well as the film goes on and she has to join the men on their journey for justice; while Sarsgaard is not as intimidating as he should be as Bogue and comes off as laughable. On one final note, I admire what ‘The Magnificent Seven’ is trying to accomplish as a Western, but I needed more fun and excitement as the main ingredient.