Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Peter Sarsgaard, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Lee Bying-Hun, Martin Sensmeier.
How do you remake a classic? A film mentioned with hushed reverence? a film deemed so artistically & culturally relevant it was selected for preservation in the US national film registry? Well, by not really remaking it at all.
This is The Magnificent Seven in name and premise only, the story and characters are completely different to those of the 1960 original, much in the same way I guess that that same film remade Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, I think it would be unfair for that reason to too harshly judge the 2016 incarnation of the Seven. The premise remains fairly similar, a besieged township seeks the help of a assembled group of sharpshooters & outlaws to protect them from a despotic antagonist, we know the story.
This is a beautifully shot film, in locales such as Louisianna & New Mexico, it certainly sets the scene perfectly of untamed wilderness and dust strewn frontier. Director Fuqua, fresh from his recent success with Southpaw handles this film with a deft and sure hand. The cast all look as though they had an absolute ball making this film, each throughly inhabiting their characters with a confidence befitting their combined pedigree.
It isn’t a better film than either Seven Samurai or the original Magnificent Seven but then again, who expected it to be? I got what I expected & hoped for, a fun piece of beautifully shot cowboy escapism with a kick ass cast. I couldn’t have realistically asked for more and I didn’t leave the cinema with less.