The Magnificent Seven

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I always complain when they remake a movie and it isn’t necessary. Now, I was happy with the remake of 3:10 to Yuma, because I had never seen the 1957 original. The 1960 version of The Magnificent Seven is the perfect western to remake, because it’s not really on this generation’s radar.

I was worried when I saw Antoine Fuqua directed it. His last movie Southpaw was okay, but I hated Fallen, Olympus Has Fallen, and The Equalizer. And don’t even get me started on Training Day, the most ridiculous movie ever made (and Denzel Washington won an Oscar for it).

Well, he brought Washington in for this, and in place of Yul Brynner, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson….we have Chris Pratt — who tried to bring some of that humor he had in Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s Ethan Hawke, as a Confederate soldier with some kind of PTSD. Vincent D’Onforio is a bear of a fighter and religious nut. Of course, you can’t have a movie like this without a martial arts fighter — Byung-hun Lee plays him.

Washington plays Sam Chisolm, who is approached by a woman (Haley Bennett) whose small town is being terrorized by Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), a rich baron that comes in and steals people’s land. When he offers them small amounts of money for it and they refuse, they end up dead.

Chisolm needs to get a crew together for the job. He brings in Josh Faraday (Pratt), who is great at poker, card tricks, and shooting. Also drinking.

Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) bickers a lot with Faraday. I wondered why he wasn’t bickering with Sam, since he was the lawman on his tail before recruiting him.

There’s a Comanche named Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier), who we meet when he cuts the liver out of a deer and hands a piece to Sam as a peace offering. Didn’t we just see that in The Revenant? And, I prefered the tough Comanche at the poker table in Hell or High Water a lot more.

Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio) could’ve been an interesting character, as a big, bad fighting machine that also likes to quote scripture. The problem is that the screenwriters (Richard Wenk, Nic Pizzolatto), throw in all these eccentric quirks for this rag-tag group, and that means D’Onofrio overacts.

As much as this movie reminded me of better films like Unforgiven and Django Unchained, it had enough entertainment. You’re never bored watching these characters as they train and set up traps for the marauders that will surely be riding into town.

If I were to list my favorite westerns, this wouldn’t make my Top 50. Yet it’s a popcorn flick that passes the time and is decent enough. You won’t feel like you wasted your time. I didn’t, and I can be tough on these types of pictures.

It gets 2 1/2 stars out of 5.