Magnificent 7 is a remake of a old western from 1960 (and then a television show of the same name from 1998). And even these are a remake of a 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai. I haven’t seen any of these films.
In the opening moments, we see a harsh and violent thief named Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) attack a village because they have mines that he wants. These villagers can’t do anything about it but a widow (Haley Bennett) seeks out help that can. She finds Chisolm (Denzel Washington), a local bounty hunter who takes on the job of defending this small town. He then goes out to recruit more men to help do this seemingly impossible task. He’s joined by Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Martin Sensmeier, and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo.
This is a really fun movie. This feels like it should have been a June or July release, doing what a lot of summer blockbusters failed to do. There are some amazing action sequences and fight choreography (mostly the badass Byung-hun Lee) but overall, it’s just fun. This comes out mostly through Chris Pratt’s character who absolutely revels in the chaos and has a huge grin on his face, just like the entire audience did.
Movies like this can be a little predictable, but the journey here is totally worth it. They set Sarsgaard up to be a horrible villain (he’s a bit typecast now) and the whole movie is revving up to get revenge. It works, it’s satisfying, and it’s full of great moments.
That stuff alone would’ve made the movie good. But what adds a little cherry on top is that the casting is perfect and they deliver performances to be proud of. Denzel is one of the best, so it’s no surprise when he takes a break from the action to deliver an incredible emotional moment, but the other leads all deliver as well. This movie adds a nice layer on top of the shooting, that other movies like this would have neglected.
What doesn’t work?
Plot-wise, this is a bit predictable but only because the original movies probably created this trope. So I have a hard time holding that against this film.
Also, the villain of the film is absolutely horrible but he only has like three scenes and you don’t really understand why he is this way (other than greed, I guess?). In a movie like this, maybe he just serves as a plot device. Someone to rally against. I wish he were a little more fleshed out but it’s understandable.
No one should dislike this movie, to any degree. It’s fun, it’s full of great action, and it’s satisfying in the end. It’s a safe bet, for anyone just wanting some escapism. It’s not going to win any awards though, even though the performances are much better than other movies in this genre. You might forget it sooner rather than later but it’s a blast while you’re in the theater.