A big topic among moviegoers, especially over the last few years, is remakes. Hate em, love em, they divide us like no other topic can. I for one am all about a good story being retold by a new storyteller; I love to see different interpretations and how they can differ. One recent remake, The Magnificent Seven, seemed to come and go on the big screen with no hoopla, didn’t really hear negative or positive talk, it just was here, then gone. The film is a remake of the 1960 film of the same name that starred Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner which was in fact a remake itself of the 1954 Japanese Akira Kurosawa film Seven Samurai. So here we are in 2016 with the remake of a remake in an age of remake debate, yet no one really said much of anything. So the only question that remains is: Is it any good?
In 1879 in the small mining town of Rose Creek, the townsfolk are being terrorized by a corrupt industrialist named Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) who is forcing them to sell their land to him for next to nothing. Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) watched her husband gunned down by Bogue and now seeks help to rid the town of him once and for all. After convincing a warrant officer named Chisholm (Denzel Washington) to help he assembles a group of seven rogues to lead the fight with the townspeople and it literally may come down to do or die for all involved.
I am a big fan of both Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven from 1960 so I was very curious to see what a modern day retelling would bring. Director Antoine Fuqua has kind of been making westerns his whole career but with modern day settings in films like Training Day, The Replacement Killers and The Equalizer. So it came as no surprise when his take on The Magnificent Seven was a super fun, sometimes very funny, action packed star-studded affair with gorgeous cinematography. The top notch cast led by Washington and including Chris Pratt, Byung-hun Lee, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio and more are all great here and best of all seem to be having a lot of fun. Their chemistry together as an ensemble is great, Pratt’s one-liners are gold, D’Onofrio steals every scene he is in and Lee is the definition of badass. And Denzel perfectly heads them up with a man in black that is all kinds of lethal hero. The action set pieces, especially the long finale gun battle, are phenomenal and a dream come true for western fans, especially fans that are newer to the genre. The Magnificent Seven has all the slickness of a modern action flick with the character and humor of a classic. Highly recommended.