Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt are roughly 29 per cent of The Magnificent Seven.

Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt are roughly 29 per cent of The Magnificent Seven.

Reel Reviews: Magnificent remake is mediocre

A remake of a remake, The Magnificent Seven begs the question, “has Hollywood given up on originality?”

  • Sep. 30, 2016 8:00 a.m.

Bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) is enlisted by desperate townsfolk eager to be rid of a tyrannical industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard).

To save the town from Bogue and his gang, Chisolm rounds up six local troublemakers for an ole’ fashioned showdown in the wild west.

We ask, “Has Hollywood given up on originality?”

TAYLOR: The Magnificent Seven is a remake of a remake. It’s not a bad film, but it is in no way impressive and its weaknesses are only really noticed with a critical eye.

The film is an imitation of the things we’re supposed to associate with western films we love: big scenery, big music, big characters. Yet it is also light, modern, comical and unapologetic about violence. This combination creates a very apparent approximation of what we would have liked, perhaps in a better movie.

HOWE: I don’t know why you are getting so down on it. I thought it was as good as the original remake but not quite as good as the original.

There is the lead up to meeting each character, a little bit of background, and the skills they can offer the townsfolk.

For a movie genre that we don’t see that often – the last one I can remember was The Lone Ranger, which was pretty abysmal – The Magnificent Seven, on the other hand, is entertaining.

I agree that it is comical in some respects, but so was the 1960s’ version. Remember you had Steve McQueen providing the comic relief in that one.

TAYLOR: Some moments worked and others felt tacked on, or melodramatic. Western epics, even those not stemming from samurai films, are by the nature of their honour-bound characters known for laying it on.

In Seven, the filmmakers wanted us to take the film seriously, to care about their characters’ poorly explained back-stories. We can, but only because we’ve already seen this film. This is laziness begetting laziness.

However, I still found fleeting moments interesting and some performances were very good.

It could also be argued that any western is better than no western. See it with low expectations and be pleasantly surprised.

HOWE: There were some good performance, considering the list of actors: Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio and Ethan Hawke. The last two on that list did a great job, maybe going as far as saying this has been one of Hawke’s best performances in a long time.

I am not going to say this is the best western I have ever seen, far from it, but I did find it very entertaining. It makes for a nice change from teen apocalyptic movies, crass comedies, or the 10 million superhero films that the movie business bombard us with.

– Howe gives The Magnificent Seven 3.5 playing cards out of 5.

– Taylor gives it 2.5 murderous heroes out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe review the latest films for The Morning Star every Friday.