TIFF 2016: Fuqua's 'The Magnificent Seven' is Sheer Entertainment

September 10, 2016

The Magnificent Seven Review

Seven outlaws come together to save a helpless town from a greedy tyrant in Antoine Fuqua's new version of The Magnificent Seven, a remake of the original 1960 film (directed by John Sturges) which in itself was an adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai. That's probably the most confusing thing to be said about this new movie since the story its telling is as straight-forward and as expected as you've seen many times before. The good news, however, is what Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven lacks in originality it more than makes up for in sheer entertainment, for those wondering if this one is worth seeing.

The year is 1879 and the town of Rose Creek has been descended upon by bandits looking to kick out its residents and mine the land for gold. The villainous group is led by Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard, looking incredibly sleepy) and he's the typical bully, a guy who only talks tough when he's surrounded by his henchmen. To ensure he means business, Bogue turns the town into a war zone and even burns down the local church for good measure. Scared and destitute, the local residents turn to sympathetic outlaw Sam Chisolm for help. He's played by Denzel Washington and that becomes his cue to round up a small posse of freedom fighters for backup.

There may indeed be seven multi-ethnic heroes in The Magnificent Seven, but only four of them are given any halfway decent character development. The aforementioned Sam is the bounty hunting leader of the group, Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt) is the group's charismatic comic relief, Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) is a traumatized war veteran and Jack Horne (Vincent D'Onofrio) is the crazy wild card. This rag tag group of antiheroes is nothing new but the secret ingredient that makes the film work is the cast's chemistry together. In a similar story structure it's the same thing that worked for the Ocean's Eleven ensemble and it's also the same thing that worked against the Suicide Squad crew earlier this summer.

Part of the film's credit goes to director Antoine Fuqua (known for Training Day, Brooklyn's Finest, The Equalizer) who manages to take the suicidal task of remaking a classic film and delivering an enjoyable rollercoaster ride. This is his third pairing with both Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke and their working relationship translates to a very fun and solid chemistry onscreen. Denzel in particular continues to be so charismatic and engaging in The Magnificent Seven that it's easy to take him for granted. There are still a few movie stars left in Hollywood and he is definitely one of the greats.

Fuqua's updated The Magnificent Seven isn't searching for anything deep or profound, it is well-crafted A-B-C storytelling and on those terms its audience will be fulfilled. This is a movie that sets up seven reluctant fighters in its first half and pays it off in the second half with action, fun and a huge Gatling gun.

Marco's TIFF Rating: B
Follow Marco on Twitter - @BigDumbMale

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I'm usually put off by remakes and the trailer for this doesn't make me feel like they've done anything to warrant me changing my mind.

InNolanWeTrust on Sep 10, 2016


The only remake that tried and succeeded in bringing something really different, while using the same title, is De Palma's Scarface. Carpenter's the Thing was also a great remake that overtook The thing from outer space, even though it used the same name and plot. Hollywood should stop it with these reboot/remakes. They are killing the cinema industry.

tarek on Sep 11, 2016


Both The Thing and The Fly are those rare examples of remakes equaling or surpassing the originals. Taking advantage of modern day horror FX and some exceptional directing really elevated them to the classics that they now are. Scarface is excellent as well.

InNolanWeTrust on Sep 12, 2016


Oh! The fly! I forgot this awesomely disturbing movie. Cronenberg at his best. Let's face it, the 80s are the golden age of modern cinema.

tarek on Sep 12, 2016


Agreed. This movie excelled in playing with our nerves. De Niro was deliciously awful. I need to watch it again.

tarek on Sep 12, 2016


Hey Bo! I have finally watched it. This movie should have won at least two Oscars. One for direction and one for special effects. the scene on the bridge is so good I'm still wondering how they have managed to shoot it... I learned this movie was released the same time as Star Wars. That was a very unfortunate move. What I liked the most, above the exotic and realistic locations and sets was the first act. ( I learned the movie was shot on one island of the Dominican republic, with the help of an executive producer of Paramount who was in "business" with the government). The story was built like a giant Fresco. You can't make sense of what was going on until you get the whole picture. The Heist chapter reminded me of a good Scorcese movie, and the French chapter was directed a la Verneuil.

tarek on Sep 14, 2016


As Friedkin himself said philosophically: "‘The films being made today are seen by the widest audiences ever. But they’re not for me,’"

tarek on Sep 14, 2016


I respect ByungHun's attempt at making it the USA, but he can stop now.

DAVIDPD on Sep 10, 2016


Really not looking forward to seeing anymore remakes, reboots or sequels, and I don't much care for Faqua's films, but I'm willing to give this a chance ONLY 'cause Denzel's in it. I could watch him in almost anything.

Brandon on Sep 11, 2016


This will be shear fun for me. Love the charisma of Denzel Washington and the comic relief of Chris prat. And by the way love the style of movie making of Fuqua. Never seen a bad movie of him, he is a sure bet for the movie studio's.. Never seen a good remake of a classic movie, but this is such a long time ago, so it's like new for me...

ari smulders on Sep 12, 2016


KING ARTHUR and OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN were lowlights in an otherwise very fun and varied filmography. I really liked SHOOTER for what it was and I'm pretty excited for the new series based on it.

DAVIDPD on Sep 12, 2016


Loved Olympus has fallen, and king Arthur wasn't that bad...

ari smulders on Sep 12, 2016


Olympus has fallen was decent dumb pop corn fun movie. But London has fallen was a brain killer,

tarek on Sep 13, 2016


exactley...London has fallen was just bad..

ari smulders on Sep 14, 2016


Looks like I'll wait for the Redbox and/or Netflix for this one...

RAW_D on Sep 12, 2016


It looks entertaining and all, I just wish they didn't have to use the name to sell it. As far as I can tell, it has no similarity to the original. I'd probably be excited to see it if they were selling it on its own merit.

grimjob on Sep 13, 2016


Hollywood is a very insecure animal.

tarek on Sep 14, 2016


Greedy cowards.

grimjob on Sep 14, 2016

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