In the film industry remakes are intriguing and challenging because public would compare the original and the remake anyhow. It is similar to filming a book actually. Expectations are high and difficult to meet. Nevertheless director Antoine Fuqua took the challenge for a remake of the classic western Magnificent Seven 1960.
An industrialist named Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) wants to take over a little town of Rose Creek for his own profit. The inhabitants resist but some are killed. So two of them search for a help and find this in one bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington). Chisolm then gathers six others to help him executing the task, to get rid off Bogue from Rose Creek.
After having reviewed two winter themed westerns The Hateful Eight and The Revenant earlier this year, The Magnificent Seven is a good old one. Fuqua’s newest is a western just like many other western classics. The setting is a remote town located in the frontier with a main road where the saloon and sheriff’s office stand on the side. At the end of the main road there is the church. Shot in widescreen, the landscapes in the frontier land are splendid. Even the colour tone is set in the tawny filter just like the old western movies. The story is quite black and white, there is the good and the bad. The good prevails at the end.
The Magnificent Seven is a colourful bunch of seven gunmen consisting of a black man, one Comanche warrior, one Mexican, a Chinese and three white men. The role of the feisty widow, Emma Cullen, is also rather unusual. She is a bad ass young lady who takes a weapon to fight together with the men. Fuqua presents the race diversity and women’s empowerment in this movie because those are the actualities what we are dealing with today.
Despite the cast I find the Magnificent Seven rather bland. I am sorry for this. Washington and Hawke perform very well as usual. D’Onofrio is quite entertaining with his high-pitched voice as God fearing hunter. Pratt seems too eager to act as a cool, good-looking, crook with a high sense of dignity. However, the villain Bogue is not as cruel as I expected. Sarsgaard plays just another annoying villain. Yes, he ruthlessly orders his bandits to kill the villagers but there is a lack of cruelty I sensed on-screen of his performance. A good western needs a horribly evil character to challenge the heroes. The characters could have been explored deeper.
At the end there is a tribute to the 1960’s version; the grand theme song. This brought my childhood memories come to life. I watched this movie in the cinema with my husband who is also a movie buff. When we heard the intro we warmly smiled and stayed on our seat until the credit titles were over. My father and grandfather were western fans. So I grew up with some western classic which they played on VCR mostly on weekends.
I leave you with Elmer Bernstein’s spectacular work. In my opinion one of the two most impressive western theme songs besides that of Clint Eastwood’s The Good, The Bad and The ugly.