If you’re a fan of Western Cinema, then this premise should sound very familiar. A quiet little town is invaded and ruled by an evil Monarch who makes life a living hell for the towns folk. However, when things are at their worse an unexpected hero or hero’s walk into town to liberate the people from their oppressors, and some cool guns and shootouts ensue. It’s basic Western 101, and a premise that’s been utilized in countless films from the genera including “Rio Lobo”, “Tombstone”, “Blazing Saddles” “Shane”, and naturally any one of the previous film version of “The Magnificent Seven”. Personally, I love this formula, and westerns always seem to represent the genera best when it’s pulled off right. Because of this, I feel like I don’t need to review the 2016 remake of “The Magnificent Seven” in comparison to its predecessors, but to all other Westerns that utilize this classic formula.
In this regard, I think the 2016 version of “The Magnificent Seven” is a great success, and personally, I liked it more than some of the originals. It stayed true to the formula of a classic Western, but executed very well, with a solid direction, and an excellent cast. Honestly, it’s this cast that makes the movie work so well. Actors like Denzel Washington, Vincent D’Onofrio and especially Chris Pratt all add a lot of dignity, personality and charisma to their roles. I also love the variety in which these seven hero’s are assembled. In comparison to ‘say’, the 1970 classic of “The Magnificent Seven”, the cast was good but they were all the same ethnicity and interchangeable at times. This latest remake by contrast has an African American, an Asian, an Indian, a Caucasian and a pudgy Mountain Man, each with their own distinct character traits and charms. I loved these characters and cheered for them every time they were on screen. I also loved the towns people, in fact right from opening scene I wanted to see these good people set free from the terrine of the villains.
The movie is also beautifully shot, with gorgeous cinematography, and breathtaking landscape. The movie is just a big spectacle, but for as over the top as the action gets, it still maintains its roots and sticks with what you can get away with in a Western. The gun slinging shoot-outs by the way are outstanding, like great classy Western shootouts, but with the energy and sparkle that will entertain a modern audience. The climax is arguably the greatest action packed finally I’ve ever seen in a Western sense “The Wild Bunch” from 1969.
I was a little skeptical going into this film, but I was surprised in just how invested I got. I really liked the characters, the action was terrific, it was shot beautifully, and I was never bored. It may not be a better or more classic movie than some of its predecessors, but I personally enjoyed this more, and even if it’s not better, it’s still works on its own. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I think I’ll remember it as one of my new favorite Westerns from the new millennium.
I give the 2016 remake of “The Magnificent Seven” 4 stars out of 5.