Movie Review – ‘The Magnificent Seven’

“The Magnificent Seven” rustles up a widely satisfying film for moviegoers to consume.  It singlehandedly grabs a Colt .45 Peacemaker and makes Westerns cool again. 

– Patrick King, REEL BRIEF


Denzel Washington makes his Western movie debut in this Wild West remake of the 1960 American film classic.  Director Antoine Faqua, who brought us “Training Day” and “The Equalizer” starring Washington, now showcases the Academy Award-winning actor as methodical gunslinger Sam Chisolm, a soft-spoken but duly sworn bounty hunter who must save a small farming town from a greedy, tyrannical killer and his men.

Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke bookend a magnificent supporting cast of unsavory characters that boast gun-fighting reputations and skills found as far away as three days’ travel by horse.  One of the film’s best attributes is the recruiting trip and sales pitch that Denzel Washington must take in order to assemble his diverse band of justice warriors. 

The unwritten Code of the West says that you never ask a cowboy about his past, only judge him for the man he is today.  Perhaps in no other movie genre is less character development expected or required than in Westerns.  As predictive as the gun-blazing endings to these old frontier stories are, viewers can just as easily spot the troublemakers in every saloon and along each dirt-filled main street. “The Magnificent Seven” is no exception, with twitchy fingers, long stares and whispered voices the precursors to gunfire and scattered bystanders.


From one deadly dust-up to another, this suspense thriller packs steady rounds of bullets flying and wisecracks flowing.  Justice may have a number, but that sum is vastly lower than the overwhelming odds these seven must confront.  In the meantime, though, camaraderie, card games and whiskey calm the mercenaries’ nerves.

Although Washington, Pratt and Hawke aren’t Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson from John Sturges’ roll-out 56 years ago (which was based on Japan’s film “The Seven Samurai” in 1954), this 2016 version is impressive on its own merit. The cinematography, while underutilized, captures New Mexico’s land of enchantment with its picturesque sheer, rocky cliffs.  Scoring the film’s music at the time of his death, “Titanic” composer James Horner brings crossed looks, showdowns and even nightly campfires alive through his talented sound mix.

Despite a predictable plot, “The Magnificent Seven” rustles up a widely satisfying film for moviegoers to consume.  It singlehandedly grabs a Colt .45 Peacemaker and makes Westerns cool again.  A well-acted ensemble that looks like a United Nations peacekeeping force, is anything but.  “The Magnificent Seven” looks, feels and sounds like the Old West.  And that’s how it should be.  Giddy up.

Grade: B

“The Magnificent Seven” is rated PG-13 for extended and intense sequences of Western violence, historical smoking, some language, and suggestive material.  Its running time is 2 hours and 12 minutes.

© 2016, Patrick. All rights reserved.

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