Now even if you’ve never seen it or seen any western for that matter, you’ve at least heard of the Magnificent Seven.
The tale of a band of gunslingers brought together to stop a rampaging gang of outlaws from raiding a terrorised town, it’s been told countless times over the years but the original has stood the test of time (we’ll get to the fact it’s a remake, don’t worry).
Now while it’s standard practice for Hollywood to fire out remakes left, right and centre that range from meh to crap, director Antoine Fuqua’s version of the Magnificent Seven may just buck that trend.
Before we go on though, it’s probably worth mentioning that the Magnificent Seven of the 1960’s, which has spawned countless sequels and spinoffs, is in itself a remake. The original is the perfect example of a Hollywood remake done well; with an all-star cast that included Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson, the movie was an instant hit.
However it owes much of its success to the original Seven Samurai by the Legendary Akira Kurosawa in which seven samurai warriors band together to defend a village from bandits. Basically any plot that involves a group of skilled individuals defending a settlement from bandits/monsters/minions owes Seven Samurai some credit. So with a remake and original that are both critically and financially successful what has to be done to make sure that the latest addition doesn’t end up in the remake scrap heap.
Well a good start would probably be to try and change things up a bit, now that doesn’t mean changing the whole formula (if it isn’t broke don’t fix it) but freshen the story and characters up. It’s lucky then that Fuqua has done just that. There’s still that small town under attack by the big bad bandits but this telling sees some things being changed up.
The villain of the piece this time isn’t a bandit leader but a corrupt industrialist played by Peter Sarsgaard who through villainous shenanigans (moustache twirling may be included) murders one Matthew Cullen, who’s widow Emma (played by Haley Bennett) enlists the help of the seven in stopping Bogue and his army of guns from destroying the town.
So just who are the seven then?
First up we have the man charged with assembling and leading the rag tag group of saviours; Sam Chisolm as played by Denzel Washington. A bounty hunter who is initially hesitant on taking up the contract but takes it on when he sees that maybe this is his chance for redemption.
Next is the gambling man Josh Farraday played by Chris Pratt. Farraday is a man of simple tastes, he likes to gamble and he likes to drink during it and maybe set off an explosion or two. One of the first to be recruited, expect Pratts comedic skills to be in full effect here.
Then there’s Vasquez played by Manuel Garcia-Rulfo. An outlaw who does not care for the rules and laws of the west, he’s robbed his fair share of banks but clearly there’s more than meets the eye to him.
Next up is the fantastically named Goodnight Robicheaux and is played by Ethan Hawke. This man has reached the peak of what it means to be a sharpshooter, if it fires bullets then he will hit the bullseye with it.
From guns to knives, we have Billy Rocks the assassin, played by Byung-hun Lee. This assassin loves getting up close and personal with his collection of knives.
Vincent D’Onofrio stars as Jack Horne and easily wins the title of the group’s muscle. A tracker by trade, Horne is a big man who I’m fairly certain enjoys the cold depths of winter in the wilderness. Definitely not a man to be messed with.
Finally there’s the Comanche warrior Red Harvest who favours a bow and arrow over a gun. Pretty good with his hand weapon too.
We can expect no shortage of action from this instalment what with an army of bandits to dispose of but also the fact good action is simply a staple in Fuqua’s films.
Comedy will also play a big role inbetween the fight scenes since you do have a group of frankly unstable individuals in a very odd if not intense circumstance.
Finally, a decent story as well, as it is following a tried and proven formula which, as long as it’s updated, will work just fine.
This should be a safe bet for success; it has a strong cast, proven director, has an excellent story blueprint and has no real competition this month facing it. The only issue is that it is a reboot but as long as it is has some heart that’ll be no issue.
You can catch Magnificent 7 in UK cinemas 23 September.