A pop western from Training Day director Antoine Fuqua, the latest take on Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai recasts John Sturges’ 1960 classic with an appealing modern cast led by old hand Denzel Washington, hot newcomer Chris Pratt and wily fox Ethan Hawke.
When a small frontier town is threatened by an evil robber baron, Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard, about as bad as he has ever been), warrant-officer-cum-gunfighter Sam Chisholm (Washington) recruits incorrigible gambler Josh Faraday (Pratt), rebel sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Hawke), his Asian partner Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), crazed Indian hunter Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio) and a Native American warrior named Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier) to protect the town, represented by a young widow, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett).
Despite being a hair long, the new Magnificent Seven provides an old-fashioned blockbuster experience. What the movie lacks in expansiveness, it more than pays back in small moments of amusement thanks to its stellar character actors like D’Onofrio, who gets crazier and crazier. This version of the Wild West is cleaner than most, with better teeth and prettier people, and it makes me hunger for a Young Guns remake like never before.
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