Between The Magnificent Seven (the original 1960 film) and its source material, Seven Samurai, the former was the first I got to see, that when I saw the latter later, I found the similarities in plot elements and themes uncanny. It was still later before I learned that it was because The Magnificent Seven is an American reimagining of Seven Samurai, changing the premise of samurais and the Sengoku Period into gunslingers and the Wild West. Anyway, I love both films, but by being the first of the two that I was able to see, as well as being in color, I have more fondness for The Magnificent Seven.
I only discovered that there’s a 2016 remake of The Magnificent Seven when a trailer was released. I first thought that, as what recent 21st century remakes of classic films have proven, it was going to suck. But the trailer actually looked solidly fun that I easily got sold on what the remake was going for. Thus, coming into the movie, I had my expectation for it shaped by the trailer: an entertaining popcorn action movie. And, fortunately, it turned out to be exactly that.
The Magnificent Seven remake features a new septet made up of warrant officer Sam Chisholm (Denzel Washington), the gambler Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), the ex-Confederate sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), the blade-wielding East Asian immigrant Billy Rocks (Lee Byung-hun), the Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), the mountain man tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), and the Comanche brave Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). They are recruited by desperate widow Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) to rid her town of Rose Creek from the ruthless, corrupt industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) and his army of thugs.
As expected, this movie isn’t as poignantly thoughtful as the original. But, aside from that, it’s perfect as the dumb, fun popcorn movie it has always been all about. It doesn’t pretend to be otherwise. Hence, I enjoyed it a lot.
I also like its ensemble more than the original’s. The nu-Seven are more racially diverse and have more colorful personalities. The performances of its cast are also great, making all of their respective characters likable badasses.
I have no real complain with this movie. It does have some dumb and conventional plot details. But they’re all within the accepted parameters of what it’s going for – again, a popcorn movie. However, I did wish it ended differently. *SPOILERS* I was hoping that this remake would have all of its titular Seven riding towards the sunset – a happier ending than what its source material had. But just as with the original movie and Seven Samurai, only three of the Seven remained alive in the end.
Lastly, I appreciate that the iconic theme made it to the remake. Though I had to wait till the end to hear it.
To sum it up, The Magnificent Seven is not quite a “magnificent” film. However, its visually pleasing cinematography, impeccably authentic Western atmosphere, effective humor, engaging action sequences, common but solid plot, and interesting characters make it an immensely enjoyable movie to watch.