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The Magnificent Seven: Magnificent Casting

Antoine Fuqua has remade “The Magnificent Seven,” which itself was a remake of the classic “Seven Samurai,” which in turn was inspired by John Ford westerns. It’s the story of a town and its citizens who are being terrorized by a robber baron who wants their land. After a massacre in their town they hire gunmen to protect them. They find their seven champions in Warrant Officer Sam Chisholm, (Denzel Washington) Cavalier gambler Joshua Faraday, (Chris Pratt) Confederate sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux, (Ethan Hawke) assassin Billy Rock, (Byung-Hun Lee) tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’onofrio) vaquero outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia Rulfo) and a comanche warrior, Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier.) It is up to these fighters to defend the town from an army of bad guys hired by the villainous Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard.)

I mention the ensemble in such detail because they are the selling point of the movie. A big cast has plenty of personality and charisma and this movie uses it well. The cast has great chemistry and makes the movie such a fun watch. When you have a story of heroes they have to be different and they have to like each other, and we must like them or else we will not enjoy the story. I would not mind an entire movie with this cast interacting with each other. I particularly loved Vince D’Onofrios mountain man. He is so softly spoken and gentlemanly while also being rugged and violent. All the cast does well with their respective parts. There are a lot of young stars in this movie, actors like Manuel Garcia Rulfo and Martin Sensmeier, who I would like to see in more films.

The film was lauded for its diversity and I think the movie handles that aspect very well, not being overty heavy-handed. The director is a big fan of westerns and I think it shows in the allusions made to other great western films. The western is the American genre.

There is one significant problem with this movie; it is too short. Unlike the original or the samurai movie it’s based, on this movie proceeds at a breakneck pace. It takes little time to establish our heroes and villains, something which the source material took time to do. I would love it if we had another 45 minutes to get to know these characters. I think this is a handicap that really hurts the movie’s staying power. We watch an ensemble movie to see the characters experience their own character arc. The villain is shown to be a coward or the coward rises to the occasion and becomes a hero. However I think Hollywood didn’t want to do that; it would take too long.

Still, the cast carries this movie and makes it worth seeing. I laughed and admittedly I cried, another sucker. But I say get some friends together see it and have a good time.

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Posted in All Reviews, By Courtland Hopkins.

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