Monday, September 26, 2016

[Review] The Magnificent Seven

Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) is fully game for this gleefully wild retelling of the Seven Samurai/The Magnificent Seven (1960) story. Stacked with a revamped cast, we're blessed with: Bounty Hunter (Denzel Washington), Gambler (Chris Pratt), Sharpshooter (Ethan Hawke), Assassin (Byung-hun Lee), Outlaw (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), Warrior (Martin Sensmeier), and Tracker (Vincent D'Onofrio). And thankfully, it's all a rootin' tootin' blast.

A despicable fella named Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard, thoroughly unlikable) is besieging towns and slaughtering locals. When Emma Cullen's (Haley Bennett) husband is brutally murdered in cold blood, she makes a proposition to a ruggedly smooth man in black (Washington), who rounds up a diverse bunch of highly skilled ragtags for a near-impossible mission to end Bogue's tyranny.

The opening of the film gets off to a shaky start, but as soon as I saw Denzel Washington's mutton chops grace the screen, I knew everything was gonna be alright. This film saddles up as a complete crowd-pleasing exertion of unabashed ownage. Fuqua reaps an unruly, violence-ridden environment where everyone is ready to pull a trigger at any second if someone so much reaches for a whiskey flask (or blinks). Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if the babies were stashing revolvers in their diapers.

The well-staged combat scenes warm us up as we witness the crew showcase their prowesses and eventually utilize them in the heat of battle. Amusingly, the gang of seven even compare their kill counts, Gimli and Legolas style (Lord of the Rings). Everything climaxes in an epic non-stop shootout. It's such a rowdy, savage, and elongated sequence that it almost becomes comical (in a good way) as countless bullets whizz by, dynamite explodes, and blood is spilled in an all-out frenzy.

Like most ensemble pieces in this fashion, some characters get more shine and development than others--although they all still leave more of an impression than most of the Suicide Squad. At the forefront, Denzel Washington's Sam Chisholm leads the way with his undying charisma as the story's noble hero, while Chris Pratt carries over his quippy action chops from Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy. Vincent D'Onofrio rolls out like a mix between Nick Nolte and Winnie the Pooh. The soft-spoken ball of fur recites scripture while jamming axes through unsuspecting skulls. Ethan Hawke plays a haunted sniper with a shotgun, and it's cool to see him reunite with his Training Day co-star. I also have to mention Haley Bennett's character--she's no pushover or damsel in distress, and she plays a significant role in the film which likely amounts to a star-making performance.

So if you want to see Martin Sensmeier take a bite out of a deer's heart, Byung-hun Lee swiftly fling knives at derogatory southerners like it's nothing, and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo clear out an entire saloon by himself, then this movie is for you. Of course it isn't a new tale (were you expecting it to be?). But with a firm grip on Western cinematic traditions, The Magnificent Seven (2016) is an entertaining and well-paced adventure that gets the job done, and then some. It's hard to believe that someone would go see this and not have a fun time. Pardon me--I meant a rootin' tootin' blast.

( 8/10 )

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  1. A mix between Nick Nolte and Winnie the Pooh? I have no idea how that would work but I am 100% sold on finding out! Seriously though, this movie looks kickass and I can't wait for it to arrive here next week. Great review mate :)

    1. Haha I think you'll know what I mean when you see it. It's a great flick. Thanks again for the comments man