The Magnificent Seven 2016 is about as brazen as the cowboys it portrays. It’s loud, visceral and action packed and an instant classic in the Western genre. I left the theater realizing that I just saw a motion picture that might bring back the great Western.
The Magnificent Seven has all the elements working in harmony: a talented director with a top notch cast (Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, etc…), an easy to follow plot, action sequences and enough humor thrown in to make it a fun 2 hour spent in the movie theater.
The first half of this film is all about getting to know the “7” as they get together. This deliberate pacing allows the viewer to understand each of the “7s” personality quirks and pays off in the action scenes. I found myself rooting for these guys and waited for each one to pull out their peculiar skill to help advance the scene…while peeking between my fingers.
The performances of the “7” is made the movie great. Start with the always dependable Denzel Washington as the leader of the “7”, Sam Chisolm. He, mysteriously, takes on the task of defending this town from an army of bad guys and brings steely-eyed determination to his work. He brings an “everything is going to be all right” confidence and attitude to his performance and I just sat back and enjoyed every minute of it.
He is assisted by relative newcomers Byung-hun Lee as Billy Rocks who is charming and devastating as the man with the knives, Manual Garcia-Rulfo as Mexican Outlaw Vasquez, tough on the outside, soft on the inside, and Martin Sensmeier as no nonsense “loner” Indian sharp shooter (with the bow arrow) Red Harvest. All these performances/characters are strong, but they take a back seat to even more impressive performances by film veterans:
Ethan Hawk shined bright in his best performance to date (at least for me) as legendary killer Goodnight Robicheaux. Great character for him! Then the always-interesting Vincent D’Onofrio shows quirkiness, humor and charm to slightly crazy mountain man/tracker Jack Horne, and good-ol’ dependable Chris Pratt reprising his “charming rogue” persona as gambler Josh Faraday, with a layer of darkness. He was terrific.
The director introduced the “7” and ratchets up the action in such a way that works very well. He did a very good job at laying out where everyone is, what their job is and why it is important, so that when the bullets start flying and the bodies start dropping you know what is going on and it is not just a bunch of people shooting for no reason at all.
The Magnificent Seven isn’t a perfect film, but it is a top-notch action packed Western that will, most certainly, inspire other Westerns and remakes. Maybe The Dirty Dozen?