“The Magnificent Seven” looks good but lacks soul.
The movie is a remake of the 1960 western classic by the same name, and it certainly looked to impress with its star-studded ensemble cast. With names like Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio and Peter Sarsgaard, director Antoine Fuqua was certainly poised for success.
The cast itself did pay off quite well. Chris Pratt impresses as self-absorbed cowboy Josh Faraday, Denzel Washington’s Sam Chisolm is the quintessential western lawman and the rest of the cast is quite good also. The action in the film is fun and quick-moving, and the climax was quite gripping.
The main problems of the film, however, arise with the writing and cinematography.
As with many remakes, “The Magnificent Seven” lacks the magic of the original film. The movie gets a bit dull when the characters are sitting around talking to one another, and none of them really seem to have a good reason to be there in the first place.
A poor town in the west is being driven out by a rich businessman (Peter Sarsgaard) looking to use the land for mining, killing anyone who gets in his way and taking over the town with his own hired army. Two people living in the town (Haley Bennett and Luke Grimes) flee to hire men to help them take the town back. The seven men are assembled by Chisolm and the fight begins.
As stated, the action itself is great, weighty and no character is safe from being killed. Major conflicts are done well, and the seven at one point take down about 30 men in the span of a five-minute action scene that doesn’t stray too far from plausible reality.
The interactions between the seven, however, fail to impress. They fight well together, but their dialogue lacks charm.
The film, aside from the action scenes, is shot quite boringly as well. Left to right tracking shots abound, and the cinematography lacks passion.
The end of the film also disappoints, leaving viewers wondering whether anything was really accomplished. Main characters end up dying, but the emotional impact on viewers is minimal since the characters lack depth.
Ultimately, “The Magnificent Seven” pales in comparison to the original, retreading a well-known story without providing anything new. If the film makers’ goal was a plain remake, they succeeded but forgot to include an emotional center.