Magnificent Seven Review!

Jondee here at Rose Creek,

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The Magnificent Seven is a remake of the 1960 western which in turn was a remake of the 1954 samurai film, Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa. Director Antoine Fuqua has a love of all of those films, the one movie that pointed this out to me, was his 2004 King Arthur film (I counted the number of horse riders). Fuqua is able to make all of his action fresh, giving a new coat to the western, especially with his cast. It begins with the town of Rose Creek, the towns folk have assembled at a church and they are discussing being under the threat of Bart Bogue. Bogue has a gold mine with dynamite blasts going off thundering into town. He enters with his men, the gunmen of Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). He is a ruthless villain who will bully anyone to get his wealth. Bogue calls out a boy to put his hand in a jar and pull out… dirt which is what he thinks their land is worth. They are taken out of the church and Bogue has his men burn it. The Preacher (Mark Ashworth) is obviously upset and it is Matthew Cullen (Matt Bomer) who stands up to Bogue who guns him down. His wife, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett from Fuqua’s The Equalizer) runs to his side. The other towns folk with guns are also shot, even a woman trying to run away, and Bogue declares he wants the town when he returns in three weeks. This set up is so horrifying that I was cheering for the bullies to get their pay back at the end. We see the man in the black hat walking into another town, Amador. This is the bounty hunter, Sam Chisolm played by Denzel Washington (He of course worked with Fuqua on The Equalizer and Training Day), he identifies himself as a “duly sworn warrant officer from Wichita, Kansas.”

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He walks into a bar where there is a card game going on, one of the players is Faraday (Chris Pratt). Chisolm walks up to the bartender to ask about a bounty, the bartender gives him a drink, and eyes his shotgun underneath the shelf. The bounty hunter is quick on the draw and takes down all of the men with guns. This is proof that Denzel is quick at the trigger. Faraday takes down one with a quick shot too and is disappointed that Chisolm shoots the bartender since he ordered a drink. Emma goes to Chisolm to plead for his help to save Rose Creek against Bart Bogue and revenge for the death of her husband. She gives him a pack of gold, everything the town owns, but the real reason he takes up this battle is revealed later. Then, Faraday comes under the guns of two brothers he owes money and shows them a magic trick with his gun taken away. This shows Pratt is handy with a gun and a trickster. He goes to get his wild horse and the corral owner wants his money. Before a gun fight, Chisolm offers to buy the horse and will give it to him if he joins. Faraday tries to flirt with Emma, but she isn’t interested, she just wants to defend her town. Chisolm sends Faraday and the young man from the town, Teddy Q (Luke Grimes) to find Robicheuax. They ride to a corral where there is a duel, Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), is facing off a gunman. The contest of gun skill has the rival gunman not convinced so Billy takes off his gun belt with only his hairpin. Billy proves his skill and his friend, Goodnight Robicheuax (Ethan Hawke who of course worked with Denzel and Fuqua on Training Day) collects the winnings. Faraday mentions Chisolm to Robincheuax and he joins along with Billy.

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Chisolm and Emma ride to a cabin, Chisolm leaves his gun belt on his saddle, where there is a dead body. Emma is lassoed around the legs by a gunfighter, this is Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo). Honestly, there isn’t much background to Vasquez’s character, but I hoped that he would survive the final battle. Chisolm makes a deal with him not to collect his $500 bounty to join the posse. He agrees and the two groups meet up with each other, Faraday doesn’t trust Vasquez, they both had grandparents who were at the Battle of the Alamo. They head over to another cabin to ask the Pigeon brothers (Ryan Brown and Derek Lacasa) about the hunter Jack Horne whom they claim to have killed. One of the brothers gets an axe and out runs Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), a burly man in furs, Faraday describes him as a “bear wearing people clothes.” Horne kills the other brother and refuses Chisolm’s offer. They are out in a canyon to camp at night. The next morning, the camp takes up arms when an Indian rides in with a deer across his saddle. This is Red Harvest played by Native American actor Martin Sensmeier. Chisolm talks to him in Comanche, Red Harvest has been sent out of his tribe, and after some sharing he agrees to join the Seven. Red Harvest is the scout warrior who is trusted by the leader to find the enemy undetected the same role as Mads Mikkelsen’s Tristan in King Arthur. He is one of the most lethal archer in any film and can use other weapons.  Chisolm rides into Rose Creek to face the sheriff and the men under the employ of Bogue. Red Harvest has killed their rooftop gunman. The battle begins with each of the Seven taking out a handful of men. Emma can handle a rifle better than the men of the town who can’t hit a single target. The Seven try to train the towns folk and prepare for Bart Bogue’s return when the sheriff is sent to tell him that Chisolm is waiting for him. Note that this is “Impossible” as Chisolm describes it and all of the Seven may not survive. The diverse cast works, in the story and setting, This film is my top action movie of the year beyond any comic book movie and stands with any other western even the original. Four Bullets out of Five!

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