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Review: The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven is a reboot of the 1960 Western classic, directed by Antoine Fuqua, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt. The film is about seven men who join together to protect a town from an evil businessman who intends to take control and mine the land for gold.

(l to r) Vincent D'Onofrio, Martin Sensmeier, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Byung-hun Lee star in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures' THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.
(From left) Vincent D’Onofrio, Martin Sensmeier, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Byung-hun Lee as the Magnificent Seven

As reboots go, the quality of The Magnificent Seven is not quite as magnificent as the title suggests, although it is a very good way to kill two hours. The film contains moments of great tension and action, my favourite being when the seven take out the corrupt lawmen of a town. This moment showcases how great Fuqua, Director of The Equalizer and Training Day, is at handling tension and action.

The acting was good with Denzel Washington’s performance as Chisolm, a man seeking revenge and redemption, standing out. Chris Pratt does what Chris Pratt always does: quip around and look good for the camera, with the effect of being both grating and charming. Ethan Hawke plays Goodnight, who Chisolm knows from fighting him in the Civil War. He is a legend who has lost his touch, a character Hawke plays with a strong sense of vulnerability.

Ethan Hawke in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures' THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.
Ethan Hawke playing Goodnight

In common with other recent blockbusters, timing and humour are off-putting. The film is also incredibly predictable if you have ever seen anything similar before.

Furthermore, character motivations are confusing. Chris Pratt goes on a suicidal mission just to get his horse back and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo’s character Vasquez joins in just because Chisolm promises not to hunt him down for a bounty after the mission, although it is clear that many others will. By far the worst character was Peter Sarsgaard’s villain Bogue. For a smart businessman he seemed incredibly irrational, shooting someone just for delivering bad news.

Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures' THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.
A suicidal task undertaken to rescue a horse? It’s as daft as it sounds

The first half of the film was generally forgettable and generic although, after the action started in the second half, the film picked up and Fuqua’s stellar directing shone through.

The film’s score, composed by James Horner and Simon Franglen, was fantastic and added excitement and tension to the action. Horner died earlier this year in a plane crash, and this score reminded me how much the composer of Titanic and Braveheart will be missed.

Overall The Magnificent Seven, whilst having a few good moments, does not compare well to the original.

★★★☆☆