Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The Remake of A Remake in The West

Seven gunmen in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.

The Magnificent Seven is directed by Antoine Fuqua and stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Vincent D'Onofrio; Ethan Hawke and a tonne of other badasses. It's the remake of a remake of a remake even though it's kind of a retelling, that is something we've seen before. The basic storylines are fairly timeless like every great story is. There are even a tonnes of other movies especially Westerns that have a very similar feel as this one. Best example, Clint Eastwood has been in movies with the same plot quite a few times. 

Denzel Washington is teaming up with Fuqua for the third time. Here he plays, essentially, the part of Yul Brynner in John Sturges' movie and Takashi Shimura in the sublime 7th Samurai by Kurosawa - which is no problem when your name is Denzel Washington and you have the experience authority and charisma. He owns the film. This man is a complete legend and it was amazing to see him reunited with Ethan Hawke on screen again. Hawke's character being also very interesting, as he has conflicted feelings, he feels the need to help these people but he also has a past with Washington's character and starts to feel unsure about himself. Add Chris Pratt and his eternal charming asshole and you get a bunch of likeable and entertaining characters. Even Vincent D'Onofrio is surprisingly (for me) good in this film.

I love Antoine Fuqua as a director, I find him very versatile and effective, going from Training Day to Shooter, to two of my favourite movies of the past two years: The Equalizer and Southpaw. He really can do any genre and proves that again this time by making a very fun Western. In fact, this film is extremely well shot. With Leone-style horses galloping across widescreen plains in clouds of dust. But don't be fooled, this film hurts with guns, knives, arrows, cannons, dynamite and machine guns. Finally, this film is also a Western with political intent. The gang includes an Irishman, a Mexican, a Native American and a Korean as Fuqua, both addresses Hollywood's diversity issue and sends Donald Trump a message that America was built upon the immigrant spirit. 

Overall, The Magnificent Seven is a straight up popcorn entertainment, don't go to this movie expecting anything else. It was also fun to see a standard Western again, with duels stand-off. This movie is a remake that actually delivers.

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