Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Peter Sarsgaard, Haley Bennett, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia Rulfo, Luke Grimes, Matt Bomer, Martin Sensmeier, Cam Gigandet
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua
Westerns have had a hard time at the box office, but I’m glad Hollywood has continued to make them and not give up. The Magnificent Seven is a crowd pleasing attempt to get people excited about westerns again. The thing about The Magnificent Seven is that it is too formulaic to be great. It stuck to the formula to keep it from sucking, so you end up with a bleached clean “crowd pleaser” “blockbuster’.
It follows the “recruitment” formula, where we watch Denzel’s Chisolm recruits his band of miscreants. He grabs Faraday (Pratt) early on, to maximize Pratt’s screentime. Then he picks them up, basically one by one. We don’t get a lot of horse riding shots across the countryside, which I feel like was a great cinematographer opportunity. Instead, we get random shots of people looking off into the distance. There was one shot of a kid looking off at something in the distance near the end of the film that made me laugh.
Sarsgaard is so over the top. D’Onofrio is too, but then… he reigns it in halfway through the film. If he wasn’t going to make a clear decision about his accent, why not reshoot the early scene with his different accent? I dunno. The film takes a while to get going, but when it does hit action scenes, the action is shot really well. I also thoroughly enjoyed Washington and Pratt, and to a lesser extent the rest of the Seven.
I haven’t seen the original Magnificent Seven, so I can’t compare. I can guess that this isn’t as good as the original, because that’s remembered as a classic, and this will be remembered for a few years. It’s a decent distraction in a slow marketplace, and it’s a good showcase of Denzel and Pratt’s talent, but it’s a film that strived to be a B film, and it almost hit that.
FINAL GRADE: B-