Main cast: Denzel Washington (Sam Chisolm), Chris Pratt (Josh Faraday), Ethan Hawke (Goodnight Robicheaux), Vincent D’Onofrio (Jack Horne), Lee Byung-hun (Billy Rocks), Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Vasquez), Martin Sensmeier (Red Harvest), Haley Bennett (Emma Cullen), and Peter Sarsgaard (Bartholomew Bogue)
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Meet Bartholomew Bogue. He is a villain that would have made Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam proud. Devoid of subtlety, this growling, prancing, drug-addled crime baron wants the lands of Rose Creek, so in the opening of the movie, he charges with his equally hammy trigger-happy mercenaries into the town, has his men shoot a few people, and then has the church burned down. Emma Cullen’s husband is shot dead by Bogue’s men, so when bounty hunter Sam Chisolm wanders into the next time and shoots dead a wanted man, she tries to hire him to help free her town from Bogue. Sam knows Bogue – the man killed his family and tore apart his town back in those days – so he sets about getting a group of people to help him take down the Bogue Army.
We have Josh Faraday, which is basically Chris Pratt playing the same dude that he had played in his last few movies – Faraday is a happy-go-lucky booze-loving charmer who is also very good at killing. Then again, Denzel Washington is also playing the same kind of dude these days, so I guess being typecasted is fine as long as the bills are paid. Goodnight Robicheaux, an expert marksman, and Sam used to be on opposing sides in the War between the States, and he was a bounty hunter too until he met Billy Rocks and the two struck up a mutually beneficial partnership with him playing the manager and Billy the pugilist/gunfighter in the unofficial cowboy version of the underground fighting circuit. So alright, Billy and Goody will come along, as Goody is tight with Sam too, although Goody has a secret: he has long his nerves when it comes to using the rifle.
We also have Vasquez, an outlaw whom Sam promised not to track down anymore if he would assist Sam in this, along with Jack Horne, a tracker who has a long success rate of gathering scalps of Native Americans, only to be left with no job and no money once the war with the Native Americans has cooled down. Finally, Red Harvest, a Comanche, shows up to join them because
this show admirably wants as many diverse characters as possible he feels that his destiny is with them. Or something.
So, are these bunch of people capable of whipping together the folks of Rose Creek into a halfway decent fighting force, as well as bolstering the defenses of the place? The Bogue Army is, after all, going to be big in number and full of meanies.
This The Magnificent Seven, a remake of the 1960 movie of the same name, may boast a different cast of gunslingers with different names and such, but there are enough elements that mirror the 1960 movie (and the Japanese movie Seven Samurai that was the basis for both movies), so much so that if you have watched any of the other two movies, you can easily guess the way this one will turn out. Is this a good or bad thing? Well, it depends on how many explosions and shootout scenes you like in your movies, as this one throws out any shred of deeper characterization in favor of bang-bang-bang and boom-boom stuff.
I personally find the cringey over the top bad guys a little too hammy for my liking. While such caricatures may be fine in 1960, I’d like to think that we have come a long way since, and the presence of such characters tips this movie from campy to absurd. The focus on action scenes and superficial one-liners reduce our main cast into forgettable stock characters that do their thing in a by-the-numbers way. The weird out of the blue appearance of this Comanche villain to take down a few of the good guys also has me scratching my head. Did a few scenes end up on the cutting room floor, or is the script just a mess?
At the end of the day, this one ends up being a hollow remake, that strips out the heart and soul of its predecessors only to fill the empty spaces with mechanical shoot-outs and silly explosions.