One of the first things I learned from seeing Director Antoine Fuqua’s modern take of The Magnificent Seven is that the audience I saw it with drew quite the crowd. An older crowd, obviously coming out to see how it would compare to the 1960 classic, which itself was a remake of an adaptation of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.

Another thing I learned is that some things never change. Even though the various characters in the film for employing the seven, the reason the crowd liked best was revenge. No matter how old you are, it’s always good to see a bad guy get his due.

denzel-pratt

Denzel and Pratt Kickin’ It

Of course, it doesn’t hurt when you’ve got two of the hottest actors in Hollywood leading the fight. The cast is definitely loaded. Films with this many stars typically are overcast with too may egos fighting for attention, but Fuqua knows his stuff. Antoine, responsible for bringing you films like Shooter and Training Day gets the most out of his actors.

I had a flashback to Denzel’s award winning scene from Training Day when he elevates his voice and makes his demands known. The spark is there. Chris Pratt shines in this film. It’s clear you’re not going to typecast him in any one particular kind of role. The trademark wit and sarcasm sneaks through here and there, but he proves he’s not to be taken lightly.

There were some surprises as well. Remember Haley Bennett who played Cora Corman in Music and Lyrics with Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant back in 2007? Yes, that was 9 years ago! She puts in a strong performance as the only person in town with the ‘balls’ to do something about it. Yeah, that’s her. This is her second film with Denzel and Director Antoine Fuqua. The previous one being The Equalizer. Yeah, that was her too.

Ethan Hawke puts in a fairly subdued performance, but it serves his character well. Vincent D’Onofrio fans won’t be disappointed. This guy can morph into so many different characters with so many different faces, it’s crazy. As the seven are coming together, he definitely steals the show for a bit. Peter Sarsgaard surprised me a bit. I wasn’t so sure I could actually hate him, even after the first act was complete, but he puts in a solid performance as a first class asshole.

The score is solid, but not memorable, like the spaghetti westerns of old. However there is an interesting story here. It was crafted by James Horner, who died in 2015. He worked on Southpay with Antoine Fuqua, becoming fast friends with him. Horner’s team visited Fuqua on the film’s set in Baton Rouge, one month after Horner’s accidental death, to deliver the completed score. Horner had been so inspired after reading the script that he composed the entire score during pre-production. It was to be James Horner’s final composition. Pretty amazing.

Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington stars in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures’ THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.

Is there anything new you can say after seeing Denzel do his thing in so many films? I have some personal favorites, as I’m sure you do. Training Day and Deja Vu come to mind. But yeah, I’ve got something new to say. He pulls off some fancy horse riding and some great gun work as well. Everything about the 61 year old in this film is authentic. Denzel grew a moustache and sideburns, took horseriding lessons, and practice his gunwork endlessly. Everything you see him do with that nickel-plated Colt .45 and on that horse is all Denzel. And you thought you couldn’t love him anymore…

I can’t say this version was better than the earlier versions, but I can say that this one holds your attention and does have a large, cinematic, western look and feel to it. The characters are each driven by different reasons.

Denzel’s Sam Chisholm asks “So you seek revenge?”

Bennett’s Emma responds “I seek righteousness. But I’ll take revenge.”

The audience actually cheered briefly. With dialogue like that, it’s difficult to go wrong. Enjoy riding with the seven.

@Sundance_2016 @prattprattpratt @BlogWriter365 @SundanceFestUK @FirstLookTVFilm @SundanceFest @Variety @Slamdance @SundanceFestNow @IndieWire

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