The Magnificent Seven is the ultimate tale of good vs. evil. It takes the viewer on a journey with a band of seven outlaws in the West as they attempt to save a town from a greedy bandit.
From the get-go, The Magnificent Seven brings the audience into its conflict. Townspeople are having a town hall type meeting in a church to discuss Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), a bandit who’s using nearby gold mines to take over the town. Things escalate quickly when Bogue crashes the meeting and lets the townspeople know of his crooked agenda. This opening scene ends with the church burning and thus, creating a need for Bogue to be stopped.
From there, we meet the members of the “The Magnificent Seven.” The leader is Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), a bounty hunter who is approached by two people of the town Bogue has taken over. He acts as a “Nick Fury” and recruits the other members of the group. I was really impressed by Washington’s performance. He had a certain stature about him that made me believe in everything his character said or did. He also has a mysterious background that’s hinted at throughout the film.
At the heart of it all, The Magnificent Seven is a true western film. It’s a remake of the classic 1960 Western film. I haven’t seen the original, so I won’t be able to do any comparisons, but there were definitely callbacks to the the classic Western film style. This included the music, sound effects and close-up shots of actors that almost seemed grainy. Don’t forget the horses, guns and those Western-style buildings. The movie does a great job at creating the setting and building this world.
As it builds the world, it attempts to build the characters in the actual Magnificent Seven. This includes characters played by Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt and Vincent D’Onofrio. Because of the nature of movie run times and the number of characters, The Magnificent Seven struggles to develop its main characters. We get a brief taste of who these outlaws are when we initially meet them, but that’s about it. Washington’s character is the only character who’s really fleshed out and that doesn’t happen until the final minutes.
On top of individual character development, I would have liked to see better interactions between the members of the Magnificent Seven. Much of the interaction between them is quipping or sassy remarks towards one another. That’s fun and all, but let’s see some bonding over their past murders or bloody histories.
The characters themselves are still entertaining and fun to watch. D’Onofrio’s performance surprised me, especially after watching him in Netflix’s Daredevil. He plays the squeaky loose-cannon Jack Horne and everything he says is gold. These entertaining characters add to the overall entertaining and fun tone of the movie. There are moments of suspense, especially in the film’s climax, but for the most part, you can sit back, relax and and watch sweaty men shoot each other.
The Magnificent Seven is certainly entertaining, but don’t go in expecting to feel for the characters if something harmful happens to them in the end. It knows it’s a Western film and its final moments will keep the audience guessing how it all ends.