So maybe it has been too long since I last watch a movie simply for the eye candies, and that was my main reason to watch The Magnificent Seven. Which means I went in looking for entertainment and couldn’t give no shit about it being a remake of a remake, or comparing it to the original movies. All I know is I want to be entertained, and that’s what I got.
When Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) took over Rose Creek and killed Matthew Cullen (Matt Bomer), his widow Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) rides out to recruit people in an attempt to save the town.
Enter the army of seven: Chisolm (Denzel Washington), Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Billy Rocks (Lee Byung-Hun), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).
First of all, let me state outright that I remember nothing concerning the original The Magnificent Seven or Seven Samurai. Take it as a blasphemy or preemptive self defense if you want, but I seriously recall none of those two movies. So I watched this movie as it is, an attempt to revive the Wild West genre. Which it fails to do. Sure, it is entertaining. I admit that. But like a rigged Mexican stand off, it left much to be desired.
See, I didn’t expect Richard Wenk and Nic Pizzolatto to give me anything but a three part structures Hollywood narrative. It has introduction, it gives you the conflict, then it serves the resolution. I didn’t expect any shrewd revelations either. And I would have no problem with such simple story line, if it could at least managed to keep its pace. Alas, it suffers from too little too much dramatization. Yes, I know you’re trying to get me to sympathize with them. But your way of doing so backfired. Not spectacularly, but enough to made me yawn and avert my eyes from the screen to focus on something else.
Thing is, drama would work only if there are appealing multi-dimensional characters to get invested in. And I found none of those. Despite the effort to give them exposition, motives, and even character development, none of them stuck. So those talented actors are wasted on this movie. Chris Pratt, despite his usual careless but attractive character didn’t shine. Denzel Washington is as charismatic as usual, but Chisolm didn’t had any depth. Ethan Hawke is appealing and greasy and got me cooing, but his problems are skin deep and merely serves as plot device. It’s supposed to spice up the story, but ended up bland. Lee Byung-Hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Martin Sensmeier were the token trio. Their characters are attractive, yes, but that’s that. Even Peter Sarsgaard’s Bogue are nothing more than your typical kind-of-neurotic bad guy. Whose presence and/or death induce no feeling. Only Vincent D’Onofrio shines through, making his Jack Horne actually worth being emotionally invested on. He stole the screen from his very first scene, and his character actually have depth.
Still, if I wasn’t looking for mindless entertainment, I would have questioned their decisions to stick together in that life and death situation. It would make far more sense to just pack up and leave. Screw brotherhood bond, there were not enough believable bonding moment for me to buy that they’re a band of rogues fighting others’ fight because that’s the right thing to do. While the citizens? Canon fodder. I knew from the start that they’d be nothing but canon fodder – even the character said most of them won’t survive the fight. And it impaired my capability to care for those villagers. So when everything that they’re fighting for – be it Rose Creek, Chisolm’s revenge, or whatever other reasons they see fit – aren’t appealing, I’m left with only the gun fight to console me.
To be fair, some of the gun fights are pleasing. I love Billy’s stand off, even if I know how it’ll played out. It also made for a convincing character introduction. And those sequences, the surprises when they first came charging to Rose Creek with gun blazing, that put a grin on my face. But the rush died too quickly, and the build up for an even grandeur finale didn’t paid off. Instead, The Magnificent Seven served a draggy overlong finale with groan inducing ending. Which is such a shame, really. Because western gunfight had a certain tension and appeal to it, which Antoine Fuqua failed on utilizing.
The Magnificent Seven is a surprisingly lengthy entertainment. Had it cut down its duration, it would have been more packed with a tighter pace, and it’d be more enjoyable. Would probably end up as spectacle without substance, but it’ll be better than being bland on both. But hey, at least I got to see assorted eye candies getting dusty and showing how good they are as gunslinger. Or knife thrower. Or archer.
Director: Antoine Fuqua. Writers: Richard Wenk & Nic Pizzolatto. Released on: 21 September 2016. Casts: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Lee Byung-Hun, Vincent D’Onofrio, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Peter Sarsgaard.