The Magnificent Seven – The Word Magnificent Is A Bit Boastful – Review

Courtesy Columbia

Courtesy Columbia

Denzel Washington stars as Sam Chisolm – a bounty hunter wandering the old west collecting his money and frightening anyone who stands in his way.  He has been approached by two members of the small town of Rose Creek, which has become subject to the power and evil of Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) – an industrialist taking all of the land and gold in and out of Rose Creek, and killing anyone who gets in the way.

Sam isn’t one to watch some bully take advantage of these hardworking settlers, so he agrees to help, and recruits a team to battle the army Bogue is sure to bring to the fight.

Can this motley crew of vagabonds and aging warriors protect the town?

Why is Sam interested in this fight?

The Magnificent Seven is a stunning tribute to classic westerns in every sense of the word, even if the movie itself is just passable.

Director Antoine Fuqua presents all of the elements from a bunch of rogue gunslingers strutting around with more machismo than any gangster rapper could muster to the amazing music from the original film to the dusty, eerie serenity of this town in the middle of nowhere suddenly exploding in violence.  The camera angles, the shadows, the dialogue, the themes and the showdowns all make you feel like John Wayne might come walking onto the set at any moment.

The rest of it needs a bit of work.

Washington is amazing, as always, as the haggard, righteous man seemingly drawing on years of pain, violence and bleakness to do the unthinkable, dirty job of standing up to a powerful man who might be too much for any common citizen to topple, while Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and the rest of the ensemble provide equal parts comic relief and more haunted souls seeking redemption for the lives they have led.

However, writers Richard Wenk and Nic Pizzolatto fail to add as much depth to the script as our actors do to the characters.

The Magnificent Seven is a fairly straightforward movie avoiding any complications and development of story for the people on the screen.  In one sense, it’s nice to see the pair avoid some obvious clichés.  On the other hand, they avoid doing anything to spruce up the movie before we get to the inevitable and amazing climactic battle.

The whole sequence of meeting each member of The Magnificent Seven is wasted as the audience doesn’t get much background about any of them as they join the gang.

Sam’s ultimate reason for joining this battle is hinted at, but never explored until the very end of the movie, when it just doesn’t matter anymore.

Even relationships between the settlers are glossed over.

The Magnificent Seven is an achievement in paying homage, but not to creating brilliance.

2_5waffles_sml2 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)

The Magnificent Seven is rated PG-13 for extended and intense sequences of Western violence, and for historical smoking, some language and suggestive material.