By Mandela Wells
I like the western genre, but I got into the later western films when it was starting to become less frequent. My favorite western is 1992’s “Unforgiven” with Clint Eastwood, which is different compared to peoples usual answer of “The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly” or “A Fistfull of Dollars.“ I later came to love other modern day westerns like “Appaloosa,“ “3:10 to Yuma,“ and even “Rango” and other animated western. “The Magnificent Seven” carries on the new style of westerns while paying some homages to the old kind. Only once has a black man showed up in a western, but it was the spoof “Blazing Saddles.“ However, my main man Denzel Washington plays a true hardcore cowboy that leads a unique group of men which includes an Asian assassin, a Mexican bandit, and a Native American warrior. I repeat, a NATIVE AMERICAN working with cowboys. This “Magnificent Seven” remake introduces the current generation to a whole other kind of western film.
When her hometown is taking over by the ruthless Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) begs for the assistance of a warrant officer named Sam Chislom (Washington). Chislom agrees and rounds up 6 unique individuals such gambler Josh Farrady (Chris Pratt), sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheux (Ethan Hawke), assassin Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’onforio), Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier) and outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Ruflo). They all band together and rally a town to face off against Bogue and his army.
This is a film that could have been released over the summer. It was a highly entertaining picture. This is a major departure and evolution of Antoine Fuqoa’s directing abilities. I almost couldn’t believe this was him bringing all of this to life. It is unlike anything he’s done. he gives us an old fashion western story of 7 men who fight for their own personal honor and pride. The action scenes were great but the the final action scene in the town was the best part of the film. It was pretty cool at first and then when Goodnight came back it got turned up several notches and it so well shot and done.
Really great acting from the cast. My brotha zel never ceases to amaze me. He unleashes the same cold blooded badass that we’ve seen in the three films him and Fuqua done together. Chris Pratt was very impressive here. He has sooooooo much charisma, charm, and swagger he is continuously growing into a mega star. Farrady was a really interesting character, and I like where Pratt took him in this film. I was actually impressed with Haley Bennet.t I did not remember her at all in “The Equalizer,“ so to see her here front and center playing an unusual female role in a western and being able to hang with the boys was really great, good for her. Peter Sarsgaard was excellent as a villain. He played Bogue more like a villain who gets a high of sorts from killing and has no qualms about destroying lives. I haven’t seen that kind of villain in a long time.
It was so cool to see Ethan Hawke and Denzel back together again. The relationship between Sam and Goodnight kind of mirrors the relationship between the two in real life. Their both older now, Ethan is more accomplished and wiser than his “Training Day” days. Denzel still the same wise and impactful actor he is and he’s looking towards Hawke (or in this case Goodnight) to come through once again for a big task. The respect is there. I also enjoyed where Ethan took this character who seemed to be see sawing back and forth a lot.
The music was not great but not bad either. I would have made a few improvements on the score but its all good. The only thing of this entire film that disappointed me was Vincent D’onforio. His performance was terrible. He looked like a confused grizzly bear with too high pitch a voice, and I couldn’t understand him a lot. The writing overall is actually well structured. The most fantastic part of the script and story is that all the mystery and secrets of these men, including Chisolm, isn’t revealed until the end. I thought that was really refreshing to see.
“The Magnificent Seven” is an excellent film and another big hit for Denzel. Go see it!