The Magnificent Seven (12A)
In 1879 the nefarious industrialist Bartholomew Bogue has seized control of the mining town of Rose Creek and is planning to evict the locals so he can strip the land of its resources. After several citizens of Rose Creek are gunned down by Bogue’s men for protesting against him the strong-willed Emma Cullen hires bounty hunter Sam Chisolm to save their town. Chisolm agrees to do so and sets about assembling a team to undertake the task.
I should state now that I have never seen the original The Magnificent Seven nor Seven Samurai (the film that inspired it). So if you were hoping for a review that states whether or not this new film compares to the original then you should look for another review.
As someone who has never seen the originals I loved it! It was a good ol’ Western that romped along at a fast pace and its two hour running time passed in the blink of an eye. Antoine Fuqua directs and does so with the same intensity with which he directed The Equaliser and Southpaw – two films that I enjoyed immensely. When it came to The Magnificent Seven I wondered what Fuqua was going to do with the material, he brought frequent collaborator Denzel Washington on board much to my delight. But what else was he going to do, subvert the genre a la Quentin Tarantino? No, because Fuqua isn’t Quentin Tarantino and I think he knows that, because rather than trying to subvert the genre he instead dives head first at every single genre cliché he knows. A stranger walks through some flicky-flacky saloon doors and the piano stops playing… as I said: “every single genre cliché”. This isn’t a bad thing at all, not in my mind anyway, I found that it actually enhanced my enjoyment of the film.
This film boasts an awesome and (more surprisingly) ethnically diverse cast and doesn’t turn the non-white characters into lazy stereotypes. Denzel Washington, Byung-hun Lee, Martin Sensmeier, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio and Ethan Hawke are the titular seven and they all have their own unique set of skills, like The Avengers but with significantly less superpowers and covered in dirt. Each of their performances are captivating and (I rarely use this phrase) top-notch. Denzel Washington is electric as the leader of The Seven and he radiates charisma, but I have yet to see a film in which he doesn’t – American Gangster perhaps. Chris Pratt does what he does best: being very funny and extremely watchable, I look forward to every film that his name is attached to. Finally, I want to mention Martin Sensmeier who plays the Native American warrior Red Harvest. First off, his casting marks a big progressive step forward in the Western genre, rather than just being villains for the white heroes to kill as used to be the case. Furthermore, his character doesn’t feel like a lazy stereotype either. Yes, he fires arrows all over the place like the lovechild of Katniss Everdeen and Hawkeye, but he’s a really badass member of the team and his skills are utilised well. It was a welcome sight indeed. Oh, and once you’ve seen this film you will not be able to take Vincent D’Onofrio seriously as The Kingpin in Daredevil.
A thoroughly enjoyable Western extravaganza with an all-star ensemble cast. It was big, it was explosive and the cast were always ready to crack wise and crack skulls in equal measure. It was a really fun time and if there is a sequel I will be rushing to see it! Magnificent indeed!