Running time: 133 minutes. Budget $108 million dollars.
Written by Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk. Directed by Antoine Fuqua.
Another month, another Hollywood remake, however this time i don't have as strong feelings as I did for the abomination that was the Ben Hur remake, because not only was the original 1960 Magnificent Seven itself a remake of a 1954 film (Seven Samuari) but it also spawned its own sequel factory with not one but three sequels, Return of the Seven (1966), Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969) and the Magnificent Seven Ride (1972) and even a short lived tv show which ran from 1998 - 2000. So, in my mind, this new film is just another sequel to the original and as such can be happily enjoyed as such, rather than a terrible attempt by Hollywood to pointlessly and toothlessly remake yet another classic.
The plot, you won't be surprised to hear, especially if you've seen either the original Japanese movie on which the Magnificent Seven is based upon, or even if you've only watched the sublime 1960 version directed by John Sturges, sees a terrorised small town hire a rag-tag team of gunmen to take on a criminal who is holding the town to ransom. The bad guy in this case is Bartholomew Bogue, a corrupt, capitalist psychopath (Peter Sarsgaard) who's systematically attacking the townsfolk of Rose Creek, a small town situated directly over Bogue's gold mine operation in an attempt to take over the land. After a particularly brutal attack upon the church of Rose Creek which sees the death of nearly every adult male, widow Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) sets out to recruit a team of mercenaries to kill the bad guys. Luckily she strikes lucky on her first go by securing the services of Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) a bounty hunter with a score to settle. He quickly recruits the other six members of the seven starting with jolly drunk card-shark Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), each of the subsequent seven gets their own little back story as they're recruited with absolutely zero difficulty and this sequence is the most rewarding in the film. Once the seven arrive for the third act showdown, the film sort of loses its sense of humour and momentum and settles down for one extremely long and protracted gun battle that sees Bogue's huge army of baddies decimated in a series of skirmishes until the final mano a mano showdown between Chisolm and Bogue who naturally share a very unpleasant history.
Surprisingly enough playing the guess who lives and who dies game might surprise you as none of these characters is safe from a serious dose of lead poisoning.
Lacking the gloriously slow pace of the original as well as the devastatingly iconic cast, this sequel isn't terrible, it's certainly far, far better than any of Hollywood's recent remakes and should provide a violent, but not bloody, noisy and fun night out. Chris Pratt continues to prove he oozes charisma and the whole cast is great, particularly the double bill of Ethan Hawk, playing the Robert Vaughn role, and his knife-throwing Chinese buddy, Byung Hun Lee, as well as the whispering man-mountain, Vincent D'Onofrio.
Offering nothing new, director Antoine Fuqua still delivers an entertaining protracted shoot out movie with a good cast and a satisfying lack of cringe-inducing relevant updates.