The Magnificent Seven: Yeeeeeeee-Haaaaaaaw!

Written By Tommy Tracy

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The Magnificent Seven Plot Summary:

When an evil tycoon takes over a small, western town, seven men from all different walks of life must band together to eliminate him and gain redemption.

Remakes are an insanely difficult subject to tackle when it comes to cinema.  On one hand, moviegoers want originality, and don’t want to see their favorites remade (*cough Paul Feig cough*).  On the other hand, when we get films as great as Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead and David Cronenberg’s The Fly, we can’t really complain.  So when a remake of the classic western The Magnificent Seven was announced (in itself a remake), some had reservations.  I’m here to say you can breathe easy…this film is, ahem, magnificent.

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It’s safe to say the plot is not the most groundbreaking or original material.  When making a western, everything has already been done, and Magnificent Seven definitely has an array of clichés.  Don’t go in thinking you will see a new way of filmmaking.  Magnificent Seven is a fun flick filled with shootouts, cowboy slang and more horses than you can throw a saddle at.  That’s what makes it so great.  It doesn’t delve deep into any philosophical meaning.  You’re meant to have fun, and that’s where this film succeeds.

Where this film really shines is its characters.  Denzel Washington plays Sam Chisolm, a hard-nosed bounty hunter bent on helping the poor.  He meets up with Chris Pratt’s Josh Farraday, a charismatic cowboy with a heart of…well, not gold, but definitely bronze.  Ethan Hawke’s Goodnight Robicheaux is a sharpshooting Civil War vet with a hazy past.  He and his assassin friend, Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), join the gang as a favor to Chisolm.  Manuel Garcia-Rulfo’s outlaw Vasquez joins to clear a bounty on his head.  Rounding out the crew are Vincent D’Onofrio’s John Horne, a tracker who stalks Native American, Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).  Each and every one of these characters gets their chance to shine.  While Chisolm and Farraday are the stars of the gang, each member is given important time to flesh out their character and key the audience in on why they are there.  This is a true feat, as some of them may have been left in the dust if written poorly.  Each actor also does their absolute best, with D’Onofrio as a legitimate standout.

If you have seen the trailer, you’re already aware that the cinematography is a sight to behold.  It looks even better on Imax screens.  There are some beautiful wide shots, most notably the scenes where the Seven are walking down the main street of the town.  The shootouts (there are two) are amazing, edited with true perfection.  For those upset with the PG-13 rating, fret not.  This is as hard of a PG-13 you can get.

Magnificent Seven is one of the most fun and action-packed films I’ve seen this year. As someone who watched the original with my grandfather (and have also seen Seven Samurais), I can say this does them both justice.  Yes, we’ve seen these themes before, but when they are done with this much precision, fun and care, it creates a film everyone can enjoy.

Final Grade: 9.5/10