Hey you. I wrote this Review Just for You because I like you.I also like pizza.
Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk
This week’s only major new release targeted to people over the age of 5, The Magnificent Seven (the remake of Mag-7 which was a remake of The Seven Samurai which was a remake of 7 H*s For 7 Pimps which was a remake of 7 Inches: The Kyle Dingle Story which was a remake of Snow White Eats The Seven Dwarves) is a serviceable if unremarkable western/action movie.
Considering the movie’s pedigree, director Antione Fuqua (The Equalizer) reuniting with his Training Day stars Denzel Washington (The Little Things) and Ethan Hawke, plus the galaxy-sized star power of Chris Pratt (Jurassic World:Fallen Kingdom), the movie should have been a dynamite sized bang powerful enough to blow up a train.
Instead, you’re watching most of the movie thinking “This should be getting better right about now”. You’ll be thinking that throughout most of 2 hour running time until the end credits when you realize you‘ve had a train run on you. By then you’ll have been lulled into a state of jaded acceptance, grateful at least you saw a lot of people and horses shot up.
In that way Seven is a lot like last Augusts’ Suicide Squad, but this time, instead of Will Smith, the film stars an non-Oreo like Denzel Washington.
The plot follows the same basic blueprint as the ‘60 original except updated with iPhones and internet whining and an anachronistic transgender character.
It’s the year 1879 in the generic western Town/Set of Goldville, California. It’s not actually called Goldville, but the one-dimensional bad guy Bart Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) is buying up all the land at pennies on the dollar because it’s near a gold mine.
Anybody that stands up to him gets shot because that’s what one-dimensional bad guys do and that’s exactly what happens to Matthew “Just Got Shot” Cullen (Matt “Barely in the movie” Bomer).
Bart Bogue says he’ll be back from Sacramento in 3 weeks, and the Goldville extras better be ready to leave Goldville or else he’ll shoot them again. Just to make his point he burns down the town church. This is bittersweet because there was an altar boy getting violated by a priest while the church was burning…so it’s kind of a wash. Because the priest is dead. Not the altar boy.
If Bart Bogue had a moustache, he’d be twirling it by now.
Dead guy Cullen’s widow Emma (Haley Bennett- The Girl on the Train) is super-pissed that her husband is dead that she finds a warrant officer named Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), tells her sob story, and offers him all of the town’s money. Upon hearing the name “Bart Bogue” Chisolm agrees to help the poor extras of Goldville, but he’s going to need the help of 10 other guys to steal money from the casino---
---scratch that--- he’s going to need the help of 6 other guys to kill Bart and reclaim the fake set of Goldville.
Screenwriters Richard Wenk and Nic Pizzolatto have nicely given the other characters half a dimension to play. They are-
- Faraday (Chris Pratt)- he’s playing the wisecracky-quippy-one-linery guy that’s good with a gun. He’s playing the Chris Pratt Character and nobody does it better than Chris Pratt
- Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke)- He’s got the best character name and is good with a gun. That’s it.
- Old Crotchety Guy (Vincent D’Onofrio in a Grizzly Adams beard)- I think he’s doing an impression of Rip Torn or Randy Quaid IRL. Either way, it looks like he belongs in an entirely different movie
- Asian Guy (Byung-hun Lee)- His character literally brings knives to a gunfight
- Mexican Guy- He’s the guy that’s Mexican, or as Chris Pratt says in the trailer, “Oh Good We got us a Mexican.”
These guardians of the goldmines are heading back to Cali, but Bart Bogue says, “I don’t think so”.
What works with The Magnificent Seven
- Of the high-octane cast, Chris Pratt is the only one that looks like he’s having fun. Sure, he’s playing the character he always plays, but at least he’s funny when everyone else seems to be going through the motions and just wishing for them to call ‘cut‘ so they can get out of the heat.
- The final shootout is as technically proficient as you’d expect from such a high-budget production, even if director Fuqua strays into Michael Bay territory by making the action drag just a little too long. Maybe it’s just to reward you for keeping your eyes open through such a vacant production.
What Doesn’t Work With The Magnificent Seven
- As you watch Mag7-’16, you feel that something is missing. It won’t be until the credits roll that you realize that the movie lacks (for want of a better word) a soul. You’d don’t get that any of the principals involved are making it other than to play with prop guns and ride with trained horses. You’ll exit the film feeling empty. You’ll leave the parking lot forgetting what you just saw.There are worse ways to spend 2 hours.
There are much better ways to spend 2 hours.
- It’s fun seeing Ethan Hawke reunite with his Training Day costar Washington, but you soon realize Hawke’s given the worst written character to play, complete with the most predicable 3rd-act entrance.
- I was wrong, Peter Sarsgaard is given the worst character to play, and he’s just looks embarrassed to be doing it. At least he’s getting a paycheck and working with Denzel Washington.
Far from magnificent. Recommended (barely) because there’s nothing else opening this weekend and Blair Witch isn’t very good.