Denzel Washington in a scene from the movie The Magnificent Seven.
Denzel Washington in a scene from the movie The Magnificent Seven. Sam Emerson

MOVIE REVIEW: The Magnificent Seven could have been better

IT FEELS pretty unnecessary to claim that the new remake of the 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven (which was in turn a remake of the ground-breaking 1954 Kurosawa film Seven Samurai) makes for good light entertainment, but doesn't live up to the standard of the source material.

It's a strange criticism when you realise that this is exactly the reaction that the studio wanted.

It's certainly not unique to The Magnificent Seven, but between this, Ghostbusters, The Jungle Book and almost every other modern remake you can think of, it seems that the key to making a financially safe blockbuster today is a familiar, broad, inoffensive tale that plays enough on nostalgia to sell a few DVDs of the original while you're at it.

It's especially disappointing considering that the iconic story of seven skilled but seemingly incompatible tough guys, banding together to fight a greater evil, could have been so much more given the talent involved.

Antoine Fuqua has had his share of career lows but films like Training Day and Southpaw at least fill me with enough confidence that the director has a really good Western somewhere inside of him.

Vincent D'Onofrio, Martin Sensmeier, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Byung-hun Lee in a scene from The Magnificent Seven.
Vincent D'Onofrio, Martin Sensmeier, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Byung-hun Lee in a scene from The Magnificent Seven. Scott Garfield

Add the screen presence of Denzel Washington, the charm of Chris Pratt and the skill of Peter Saarsgard (just a few of the many immensely talented actors appearing in this movie) and by all accounts, The Magnificent Seven should have been a slam dunk.

However the end result feels so uninspired that despite being fun, it's a movie that's never as good as it could have been.

My trips to the cinemas are starting to feel a lot like the movies themselves: repetitive.

The Magnificent Seven is no more guilty of this than any other mainstream movie you could name, and to be fair it's a competently made, perfectly enjoyable movie. It's just always a shame when talent falls short of its potential.

 

The Magnificent Seven

Stars: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Peter Saarsgard.

Director: Antoine Fuqua.

Rating:M

Verdict: 2.5/5 stars
 



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