The Western as a genre has always had difficulty transcending generations. People claim that the genre is tiresome and is outdated as it is impossible to compete with action adventure films in the new age of technology. Why waste time with guns and horses when you have machine guns and cars? Well, once in awhile there are Westerns that reinvent the genre, that make audiences remember how fun and exhilarating Westerns can be.
Fuqua collaborates with Denzel Washington for the third time, after Training Day and The Equalizer. Denzel Washington leads an all star cast, starting with the charming gambler Josh Faraday played by Chris Pratt, the sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux played by Ethan Hawke, the knife-wielding assassin Billy Rocks played by Byung – hun Lee, the Mexican outlaw Vasquez played by Manuel Garcia – Rulfo, Comanche the Red Warrior played by Martin Sensmeir and the tracker himself Jack Horne played by Vincent D’Onofrio to round out the Seven. All of them fit in perfectly, they all had their own baggage and their own reason for joining Chisolm for this battle.
It’s always difficult to capture the same essence as the original film when remaking an iconic film such as this one but Fuqua really did a fantastic job with modernizing the Western and coining some originality to the genre itself. Fuqua creates his own Western, as he takes the scenic landscapes and creates with witty, action packed encounters from town to town. From the second, Denzel Washington walked into his first Saloon, I knew we were in for a wicked ride. Fuqua used the same tropes as any other Western but he had an eye for different shots and used this opportunity to play around with new angles. As we were introduced to Denzel, Chris Pratt was right behind him and it was great to see them share a screen together with two very different characterizations of a gunslinger. They all worked together so well and as each of the Seven were introduced their banter with one another carried to the next scene and progressed the story forward.
Each of them stepped in quite seamlessly and showed their own talents, I personally loved watching the character of Billy Rocks because he was so complex yet we still didn’t delve deeper into his past in order to understand why he was with Goodnight Robicheaux, I wanted so much more from him and I wish we got it! The film was filled with witty one – liners and old time Western lingo that created a nostalgic comfort for those familiar with the genre.
The Magnificent Seven brought together a wonderful cast of actors who reinvented the characters that were already put in place. The difficulty in taking on these iconic roles like Denzel Washington did for Yul Brynner and Chris Pratt did for Steve McQueen. This remake allows the old time fans and new audiences to appreciate the Western in different ways. In all honesty the film did drag on a bit towards the end, I think it was more of the anticipation of the final battle that made me anxious to see how they would choreograph it and I must say they did a great job that filled the ending with many surprises. It’s a fun film, that will keep you laughing and it will keep you intrigued until the very end. Another nice touch was how Fuqua chose to execute the end credits and it was exactly like the original by having the original Magnificent Seven theme music playing as they showed the cast.
The Magnificent Seven directed by Antoine Fuqua is fresh, unique and he managed to modernize the Western in a new decade. There is always that one Western the comes along every so often that people will remember as the Western of that decade and The Magnificent Seven is definitely one of them.