The Magnificent Seven is by no means an original movie. It’s a remake of the 1960 film of the same name, and even that movie was based on Japan’s Seven Samurai from 1954. I had the pleasure of seeing Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai movie in the late 2000’s, and it still holds up as one of the most memorable films despite its age, language barrier, and the lack of color. I never saw the original Magnificent Seven from 1960, I meant to but I just never got around to it. But I was willing to give the remake a try, because not all remakes are bad. But are any of them better than just good? Or is this one a giant mistake?
The plot differs from the original movie in terms of where they are and what the character’s names are. The film is set in 1879 and is in the Old West town of Rose Creek. The town had been basically bullied into giving up their property for meager value by a corrupt “businessman” named Bartholomew Bogue. The rich and powerful Bogue has a literal private army at his command and he slaughter a few of the townsfolk that dare to stand up against him. One of the widows Emma Cullen decides to take what the towns has left to hire a band of outlaws herself, but will she be able to find such men?
She crosses paths with Sam Chisolm who is a warrant officer from Kansas and is quite talented with a pistol. He refuses her request at first, but then hears the name of the man she is fighting against. Against all logic and odds, he takes the job. He needs more help and he finds it quite easily. One of them is Joshua Faraday who is a rather sketchy but good-hearted man. Then there’s Goodnight Robicheaux, a Confederate veteran with a troubled past but his friend Billy Rocks is more lethal with knives than most are with guns. You also have a mountain man with a religious side known as Jack Horne. Sam Chisolm also offers a Mexican bandit Vasquez better “judicial” odds if he agrees to help them out. And lastly they recruit a Native American warrior named Red Harvest into the group. Will Seven Magnificent warriors be enough to save the town?
To be honest, I had some high hopes for the new The Magnificent Seven, and it certainly does disappoint. While it’s about an hour shorter than Seven Samurai, the plot has a lot of areas where it drags on with boring sub-plots and backstories. I also was able to easily predict the outcomes as it mirrors Seven Samurai a lot, so there weren’t many shockers. I also thought the final battle was often too chaotic for its own good The cast is strong (especially Denzel Washington and to a smaller extent Chris Pratt) but it could have been a better movie. The Good Seven might have been a better title for this one.