'The Magnificent Seven' : Movie Review - Celebania


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Thursday 29 September 2016

'The Magnificent Seven' : Movie Review

Akira Kurosawa's celebrated and much revered classic 'Seven Samurai' gets yet another retread but this time the closest inspiration is the 1960 John Sturges directed Western 'The Magnificent Seven' starring legends like Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, Horst Buccholz, Eli Wallach, Robert Vaughn, Steve McQueen, Brad Dexter and James Coburn, which became a classic because its inspiration had already taken the cinema world by storm for it's celebration of courage, loyalty and self-sacrifice.

In the Antoine Fuqua version, the names are changed and the setting is Rose Creek, a small mining town beleaguered by menacing, villainous land shark Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Saarsgaard). Recently widowed Emma Cullen (Hayley Bennett) is the only one with the courage to seek out hired gunmen to defend her hometown against the dastardly externist. Chisolm (Denzel Washington), a sharp-shooting lawman and his pick of renegade gunslingers that include Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) Jack Horne (Vincent D'Onofrio), Billy rocks (Byung-Hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier) form the core of the offence team meant to give Bogue a bitter taste of his own medicine.

Denzel Washington gives great cowboy, in a black-on-black ensemble inspired by the one worn by Yul Brynner in the original Magnificent Seven, and when Chisolm's motivation for wanting to stop Bogue is finally revealed he delivers a fiery monologue that remains the remake's one truly memorable scene. Otherwise, this is, in every sense, cinematic leftovers: A mushy, reheated version of something that worked a lot better when it was fresh.

Fuqua's 'Magnificent Seven' appears to borrow quite heavily from Mel Brooks' 'Blazing Saddles' in terms of set-up- where a black lawman is hired to protect a all-white town against an evil capitalist. The basic premise of seven courageous self sacrificing bravehearts remains intact though. Fuqua's town in peril is a frontier one while Sturges one was a tiny Mexican hamlet plagued by bandits. The script , also credited to the original Japanese writers, has smart dialogues, interesting interplay between characters and a blistering climax.

Fuqua doesn't scrimp on the finale even though his lead-up is a slow and steady path to a conflagration that's quite a spectacle in itself. Fuqua's directorial skills in giving the audience pulpy , immensely satisfying thrills is a given and with this film he also proves that he is capable of taking on a variety of genres and delivering with a bang. The cast is well knit and delivers the eventual booty quite efficiently. The lone woman inclusion is welcome shift from tradition.

And Saarsgaard's villainy is classy enough even though he doesn't get much to do other than set out to decimate a township for it's imagined effrontery. This film is much closer to the spaghetti western of yore and is not likely to go down as a class act in itself.

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