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Review: The Magnificent Seven

September 23, 2016

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

the-magnificent-seven-posterA remake of the classic 1960 western, which was itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven is a new take on a well-worn tale from director Antoine Fuqua, that feels fresh and entertaining thanks to its kick-ass and refreshingly diverse cast.

After her husband is killed by capitalist land baron Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Saarsgard), who wants to buy up the small town of Rose Creek, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) enlists bounty hunter Sam Chisholm (Denzel Washington) to help her both get vengeance and protect their land.

Sam rounds up a motley crew of men to help, including gambler Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), the hard-drinking sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) and his knife-throwing sidekick Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), grizzled mountain man Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Commanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier), to prepare the town for the coming showdown.

Although The Magnificent Seven takes a bit of time to get going in the first hour, it’s kept enjoyable by the interplay between the cast, and once it really kicks into high gear in the second half, the film delivers thrilling entertainment.  Boasting epic cinematography and a great score by the late James Horner, it all builds towards a showdown that offers pretty much wall-to-wall action, delivering the wild shootout that we are promised from the buildup, with violence that pushes right to the edges of its PG-13 rating.

There isn’t a weak link in terms of the ensemble cast, with Denzel Washington bringing his signature coolness under pressure persona to the leading role, and the rest of the actors doing fun variations on their usual characters.  Essentially playing Star-Lord as a cowboy, Chris Pratt steals the show as he spouts wisecracks that do a good job of lightening the mood.  The racial diversity of the main characters also adds a new layer of depth to the story here, with a personal vendetta between Sam Chisholm and Bartholomew Boque that gives added weight to the finale.

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