Good, not quite magnificent
SADDLE up for a trip back to the wild wild west with this agreeable remake of the 1960 Steve McQueen classic, itself inspired by 1954’s Seven Samurai.
Corrupt and land hungry industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) has his sights set on small simple town Rose Creek in the 1870s, intimidating residents into selling to him for a mere $20 a pop.
Fed up with the scare tactics, young woman Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) steps up when others cower; she hires bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) to kill Bogue and his men and save the town, but he cannot do it alone.
Sam recruits a ragtag team of men, including gambler Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt) and legendary sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), to face Bogue’s army.
Sticking closely to western genre tropes, there are few surprises up this film’s sleeve.
In a way it works, as at its core, this a simple story about right and wrong. But with such a long, protracted build-up to the inevitable showdown, this story often trots when it should canter.
Director Antoine Fuqua has assembled an appealing cast who deliver solid performances; Pratt predictably provides the majority of the comic relief.
While the debate continues over the purpose and relevance of remakes, The Magnificent Seven will not tip it in either direction – it is simply an enjoyable diversion.
Sometimes that is all we seek at the movies.