27 September 2023

The Magnificent Seven

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Reviewed by Victor Rebikoff.

Director: Antoine Fuqua, MGM Pictures, M, 133 Minutes.

There would be many movie lovers quite surprised to see that the original cult classic western ‘The Magnificent Seven’ released in 1960 and starring the late legendary actor Yul Brynner has been remade.

African American director Antoine Fuqua has adapted Akira Kurosawa’s renowned ‘Seven Samurai’ screenplay to the big screen, reteaming with Denzel Washington (‘The Equalizer’) and Ethan Hawke (‘Training Day’) in his revised rendition of the timeless story.

Instead of a Mexican village, the story is set in the town of Rose Creek under the cruel control of mining mogul Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard – ‘Black Mass’) where its townspeople have no one to turn to for help.

In desperation, one woman does emerge, following Bogue’s shooting of her husband in cold blood, Emma Cullen (Hayley Bennett – ‘Hardcore Henry’) wastes no time in appealing to Sam Chisholm (Washington), the man in black, for his support.

Chisolm then gathers a diverse team that includes Goodnight (Hawke); mountain-man Jack (Vincent D’Onofrio – ‘Death Wish’); gambler Josh (Chris Pratt – ‘Passengers’); Mexican bandit Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo – ‘Widows’); Asian swordsman Billy (Byung-Hun Lee – ‘G.I.Joe’); and Comanche Indian, Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier – ‘Wind River’).

With his team in tow Chisolm is ready to confront the culprits who have ruined Rose Creek, unaware of the hundreds of soldiers Bogue has assembled to battle against seven courageous men and the town’s people.

What follows is nothing short of a bloodbath in the same vein as the bloody Alamo conflict and, like Yul Brynner’s character in the classic version, Chisolm is left with only a few of his magnificent seven.

In many respects Fuqua’s film does not live up to its grand scale setting and neither does it generate the same type of enjoyment and excitement as the classic western released 60 years ago.

Except for the pleasing performances from the magnificent Washington, as well as Hawke and Sarsgaard, the storyline is somewhat hampered by the inclusion of the many bloodthirsty scenes not to mention the duration of the film.

Undoubtedly the 1960 version of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ remains one of the best westerns ever made and the most entertaining due to an enjoyable storyline and a great cast.

Vic’s Verdict: 2 ½ Stars

The Magnificent Seven is being televised on 9 GEM at 8.30PM on Saturday 14 August.

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