Review by: Dave Griffiths
One primary question must be asked when a remake of a film surfaces; why bother? Was it because a director thought he or she had a more creative or ‘modern’ way to revise the original story? Was it because a team of filmmakers thought that current day technology could improve on what was made decades ago? Sadly, the remake of legendary western The Magnificent Seven fails to come up with a valid answer.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), this remake sees honest lawman Chisolm (Denzel Washington – American Gangster) recruited by innocent widow Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett – The Equalizer) whose husband was murdered when he stood up against corrupt gold mining company owner Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard – Green Lantern). Bogue has held a town to ransom and when Chisolm is convinced to take him on, he bands together with a gambler, a burnt out war veteran, a tribe hunter, a knife expert, a native warrior and finally, a wanted outlaw.
One of the few positives is Denzel Washington’s casting as the lead, and it’s always nice to see a big budget Western back in cinemas. Despite, Fuqua’s remake offers nothing new to the genre lacks imagination and depth. Having a native American warrior fighting amicably alongside a tribe hunter is a missed opportunity in terms of building tension since they would realistically clash. Similarly, Chisolm’s motivation for getting involved in the first place is handled clumsily and is explained far too late in the film.
Beyond the lack of plot development, the characters are similarly stifled. With Denzel Washington given plenty of chances to shine in this film, none of his co-stars receive similar opportunities. Chris Pratt is obviously there for comic relief and is called upon to merely recycle his character in Guardians Of The Galaxy. The remaining cast is left to flounder in clichés, with Manuel Garcia-Rulfo a wasted talent. One minor consolation is only Emily Bennett‘s performance suggesting bigger things for her in future.
The Magnificent Seven may entertain a less discriminating audience, but seasoned fans of Westerns will find this weaker than the original and offering nothing new.