The remake of 1960’s Magnificent Seven seems to have bypassed the ‘Oh God Not Another Blockbuster Sequel’ brigade (of which I count myself a proud member) Is this because the 1960’s version was itself a remake of a 1954 film? Or because unlike say Ghostbusters, the version that most people remember is just an OK ensemble cast film and not some untouchable classic?
Either way, this version has now ridden into cinemas and is pretty much a beat for beat, if not shot for shot remake. The plot certainly hasn’t changed. A small village under attack from someone that even Saturday morning cartoons would call over the top hires seven ethnically diverse stereotypes with one character trait each to teach him a message about the power of friendship and love/ shoot him and all his red-shirts.
I did enjoy this film, the cast has great chemistry with several (rather too short) scenes dedicated to them just hanging out and chilling. But, by the end the only difference between this and say The Avengers is that the villain isn’t trying to to take over the world with a giant beam of light for once.
And, despite being longer than the 1960 version, the film feel slightly rushed, with seemingly no second act beyond a short montage of the team helping to prepare the town for battle and the final battle itself goes for for about five minutes too long.
A lot of the subtlety seems to have gone as well, like I said the villain may as well be eyeing the local virgins with a copy of the railway timetable close at hand, and whilst I did enjoy the team, they never really and truly develop in any way and I’d be hard pushed to name any of the characters- especially since they just seem to be playing themselves. Apart from Chris Pratt- He’s still playing Star Lord. But it works though. It all just works. The casts chemistry is spectacular with Haley Bennett as a grieving widow who’s pretty handy with a gun and seems to be the only one who’s doing any acting which pretty much means she steals every single scene she’s in.
Also, the director did something with the sounds during the last fight that, whilst I appreciate what he was going for just didn’t work and detracted from what should have been a pretty powerful moment. And it has maybe one or two too many Chris Pratt one liners, but it does its action right, and I did really enjoy the last scene at the end of the film.
But, what the film has in broad strokes, it lacks in small moments, there’s no moment such as the sharing of the food scene in the first film or how the only winners are the farmers or any other small moments that make this feel like a small town facing almost impossible odds. Like I said, despite being longer than the 1960’s version it somehow feels shorter, more rushed.
The Magnificent Seven is a fun diversion for a few hours but I doubt it’s going to be in anyone’s mind for long. Whilst it does a lot of things right, it doesn’t do anything memorable other than potentially breathe life into a genre that I’d long thought dead.
My Score- If Nothing Else