I’m not really a huge fan of Western movies, which are something of a dying breed these days.
With that in mind, I’ve never seen the 1960s version of The Magnificent Seven – but, of course, I’m aware of it.
For me, that was a bonus as I was able to look at Antoine Fuqua’s (Training Day) remake with fresh eyes and not draw any comparisons with the Steve McQueen classic.
I was, however, drawn to The Magnificent Seven by the casting of Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke, as well as it having True Detective’s Nic Pizzolatto on co-writing duty.
At its core, the film is a simple story of revenge. The heinous acts of heartless villain Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard – Black Mass) in a small town called Rose Creek drive widowed Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett – The Equalizer) and her friend Teddy Q (Luke Grimes – Fifty Shades of Grey) to hire a seven-man “team” to take back her devastated town.
As far as I’m aware, it’s pretty much the same concept as the 1960 John Sturges-directed “original”, which itself was a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai.
The Seven are very much led by Washington’s Sam Chisolm, who (although he won’t say it himself) is essentially a bounty hunter.
He’s joined by fast-talking – and drinking – gambler Josh Faraday (Pratt – Jurassic World), sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Hawke – Training Day), assassin Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee – Terminator Genisys), Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo – Cake), tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio – Daredevil’s Kingpin) and the deadly native American Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier – Lilin’s Brood).
You get the impression that this group of men probably wouldn’t have travelled in the same circles back in post-civil war America (circa 1870), but that kind of animosity isn’t really explored.
Each of the characters has their own introduction, but The Magnificent Seven is essentially all about the final conflict between the group and Bogue’s people.
Sadly, that made things feel a little processional and largely predictable. If you’ve seen this kind of film before, you know how things usually play out. Frankly, The Magnificent Seven didn’t surprise me once and I did feel a little bored waiting for the end game to kick off.
The cast, however, look like they’re enjoying themselves and do just about save the day. It must also be said that the final battle is very well done and really delivers.
Both Washington and Pratt shine as characters that you can tell they enjoyed playing, while the other five all play very important roles in making the team more well-rounded.
There’s nothing you haven’t seen before here, which is a little disappointing.
But if the idea of a number of top actors gun-slinging in a Wild West setting is your bag, you’ll likely enjoy what is a largely solid offering.
Voice Verdict: 6.5/10 (reviewed at Boston’s West End Cinema)
Boston’s West End Cinema (Fri, Sept 30 to Thurs, Oct 6)
**GIRL ON THE TRAIN (15)
5.40pm (Wed/Thu), 8.20pm (Wed/Thu)
**MISS PEREGRINES HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN 3D (12A)
2.45pm (Fri/Sat/Sun/Wed), 8.20pm (daily)
**MISS PEREGRINES HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN 2D (12A)
Noon (Sat/Sun/Wed), 5.30pm (daily)
**DEEPWATER HORIZON (12A)
1pm (Sat/Sun/Wed), 3.30pm (daily), 6pm (daily), 8.30pm (daily)
MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (12A)
2.20pm (Fri/Sat/Wed), 4.30pm (Tue), 5.20pm (Fri/Sat/Mon), 8.20pm (daily)
BRIDGET JONES’S BABY (15)
Noon (Sat/Sun/Wed), 2.40pm (Fri/Sat/Sun/Wed), 5.30pm (daily), 8.30pm (daily)
FINDING DORY 2D (U)
10am (Sat/Sun), 3pm (Sat/Sun)
THE BFG 2D (PG)
10am (Sat/Sun), 12.30pm (Sat)
THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (15)
6pm (daily), 8.30pm (Fri/Sat/Mon)
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS 2D (PG)
10am (Sat), noon (Sat/Sun)
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2D (U)
Sat/Sun 10.15am – Ratchet & Clank
Wed 11.30am –Magnificent Seven (12A)
ROH: NORMA (ENCORE)
AUSTRALIAN BALLET: SLEEPING BEAUTY
**FREE LIST SUSPENDED