(l to r) Vincent D'Onofrio, Martin Sensmeier, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Byung-hun Lee star in Columbia Pictures' THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.

Release Date: September 23, 2016
Running Time: 2 hours and 12 minutes
Rated PG-13 for extended and intense sequences of western violence, and for historical smoking, some language and suggestive materials.
Grade: B+
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua

Magnificent Seven, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke

I seek righteousness as we all should, but I’ll take revenge.

In 1879, the citizens of Rose Creek are terrorized by industrialist, Bartholomew Bogue, who destroys their church after demanding that they sell their land for $20 a parcel. Bogue is determined to gain rights to the gold mines that lay near the town. When Bogue imposes his will on the town by gunning down innocent folks, a newly widowed Emma Cullen seeks help from a bounty hunter named Chisolm. Driven by demons of his past, Chisholm agrees to protect the townsfolk so he has heads out to recruit a posse.

First he approaches a gambler Josh Faraday (who has a fondness for explosives), then he enlists the aid an outlaw (Vasquez), a retired Civil War veteran sharpshooter (Goodnight Robicheaux), an assassin (Billy Rocks), a tracker (Jack Horne), and a Comanche warrior (Red Harvest). With each joining for different reasons, they quickly gather resources and attempt to train the townsfolk knowing that they have one week until Bogue returns with an army. Against impossible odds the seven fight as one to preserve the lives of Rose Creek.

“What we lost in the fire we will find in the ashes”

The Magnificent Seven hits the big screen 56 years after the original starring Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. Both are Old West style remakes of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Japanese-language film Seventh Samurai. The Magnificent Seven is also the last film of Academy Award winning composer James Horner (Titanic and Avatar), who died in a tragic plane crash in 2015. The score was completed by his friend, Simon Franglen.

It has been a long time since I enjoyed an old fashioned western. I thought Antoine Fuqua and his cast of two-footed and four-footed did a terrific job. I thought the characters each came with their own story. Some were intriguing enough that I would like to learn a little more about them.

Peter SarsgaardFuqua did a great job selecting a diverse cast that includes Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington, South Korean actor Byung-hun Lee, Native American actor Martin Sensmeier and Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo. Add to the mix Ethan Hawke (Training Day), Vincent D’Onofrio (Jurassic World) and the talent and charisma of Chris Pratt, one of Hollywood’s hottest actors (Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy and the upcoming Passengers with Jennifer Lawrence) and you have a well-rounded western with action and comedic energy.

I especially thought that Denzel Washington was exceptional as Sam Chisolm, the leader of the Seven. He nailed the swagger and stance of a true gunslinger. Fuqua also did a fantastic job creating the perfect angles for the photography. I loved the scene where Chisolm is standing opposite Peter Sarsgaard’s bad guy Bartholomew Bogue. It reminded me of the westerns of yesterday.

I thought the set design and costumes were authentic. You would never guess it was filmed mostly in Louisiana. Overall, it was a nice 21st Century adaptation of a classic American western. Gallop on down to the cinema and check out the all-star cast in Sony Pictures The Magnificent Seven.

-A.S. MacLeod

Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Magnificent Seven

Just make sure that we’re fighting the battle in front of us. Not the battle behind.

First of all, let’s pay homage to the original Seventh Samurai written by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, and Hider Oguni which was released in 1954. Then John Sturges remade the film as a western with mostly Caucasian actors to appeal to an American audience. I read that Akira Kurosawa as so impressed with Sturges’ remake that he presented him with a sword.

Chris Pratt, Magnificent SevenThe 1960 release of The Magnificent Seven was received with mixed to poor reviews, but has grown in popularity over the years due to its cast who later become movie stars. In 2013, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress and is the second most watched film in U.S. television history behind The Wizard of Oz. Antoine Fuqua, director, fell in love with Westerns when he was 12 years old.

Before commandeering this re-imaging, he was known for great films such as Training Day (2001), Olympus Has Fallen (2013), The Equalizer (2014), and Southpaw (2015). He is also known for directing films that contain politically driven elements and themes. The Magnificent Seven (2016) combines his passion for both. In addition to modernizing the story, written by Richard Wenk and Nic Pizzolatto (True Detective), Fuqua strove to cast a more diverse set of actors which he feels more accurately reflects life in the late 1800’s. In pre-production Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, and Tom Cruise were rumored to be in the cast, but I think that the choice of Denzel Washington as the lead was perfect. His mandatory cowboy training emanated in every scene that he was in. Rising star, Chris Pratt, was also very well cast as the care free gambler who provides comic relief throughout the film. Ethan Hawke, who co-starred with Washington in Training Day, shared some memorable scenes with the 7 and with Washington’s character. Vincent D’Onofrio seriously steps out of his norm and lights up the screen with his performance.

Each of the characters are developed enough that I cared what happened to them. Plus, the audience joined me in applause each time the 7 achieved a triumph. Lastly, the filming location, costumes, and score greatly enhanced the overall western feel of the film. In fact, this is the last of Jack Horner’s (An American Tail, Braveheart, and Titanic) posthumous work to be featured in a film. Ride on into the theater to immerse yourself in the wild wild west!

-Movie Buffette

Denzel Washington as Sam Chisolm
Chris Pratt as Josh Faraday
Ethan Hawke as Goodnight Robicheaux
Vincent D’Onofrio as Jack Horne
Byung-hun Lee as Billy Rocks
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Vasquez
Martin Sensmeier as Red Harvest
Haley Bennett as Emma Cullen
Peter Sarsgaard as Bartholomew Bogue
Luke Grimes as Teddy Q
Matt Bomer as Matthew Cullen
Jonathan Ross as Denali
Cam Gigandet as McCann

About Leigh Ann Rassler