Seven Up

Wash­ing­ton and Pratt sad­dle up in The Mag­nif­i­cent Seven

Empire (UK) - - PREMIERE -

ul Bryn­ner. Steve Mcqueen. Charles Bron­son. James Coburn. robert vaughn. the Other two. Beloved of pub quiz movie rounds (liq­uid prizes if you re­mem­bered Brad Dex­ter and Horst Buch­holz), the Mag­nif­i­cent Seven are one of the tough­est gangs in movie his­tory; coura­geous, in­ven­tive, no non­sense and com­pletely Cau­casian. In re­mak­ing John Sturges’ 1960 favourite, based on Akira Kuro­sawa’s Seven Sa­mu­rai, based on John las­seter’s A Bug’s Life, direc­tor An­toine Fuqua is look­ing to change things up, not in the name of di­ver­sity quo­tas but as a re­sponse to the trou­bled times.

“ter­ror­ism is alive,” he says. “It takes a so­ci­ety to fight them now. It’s not like a group of white guys has to fight the bad guys. We’ve all got to fight to­gether against one cause.”

Set just af­ter the Civil War (Amer­i­can, not Mar­vel), this lat­est in­car­na­tion may have tin­kered with the cast­ing but Fuqua has “kept that sim­ple through-line alive; I did not want to com­pli­cate that story.” So bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Den­zel Wash­ing­ton, sport­ing epic side­burns) is hired to re­cruit six men to de­fend the town of rose Creek from the ma­raud­ers of evil in­dus­tri­al­ist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sars­gaard). Step for­ward gam­bler-turned-ex­plo­sives expert Josh Far­ra­day (Chris Pratt, chan­nelling Mcqueen), nervy sharp­shooter Good­night ro­bicheaux (ethan Hawke, com­plet­ing the Train­ing Day re­union), trap­per Jack Horne (vin­cent D’onofrio), knife-as­sas­sin Billy rocks (Byung-hun lee), and the Dex­ter-buch­holz re­mem­ber-their-names combo of out­law vasquez (Manuel Gar­cia-rulfo) and Co­manche red Har­vest (Martin Sens­meier). As an on­screen posse, they might be a wild bunch; as a group of ac­tors, not so much.

“I would sit with them, then just back away and watch them from a dis­tance,” says Fuqua about his cast hang­ing out while film­ing, wait­ing for Ba­ton rouge’s mon­soons to sub­side. “they were just hav­ing a good time. they were just like kids.” let’s hope that sense of lark­ish fun doesn’t spill over into full-blown com­edy. Af­ter all, we’ve al­ready got a Ridicu­lous 6 — and there isn’t a quiz on earth that asks you to re­mem­ber their names. IAN FREER

The Mag­nif­i­cent Seven is out on septem­ber 23.

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