The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Hypothetical Netflix Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Before we get into it, I must confess, this is the first actual exposure I’ve had to the story told in Magnificent Seven. To my knowledge, the story was first told in the form of Seven Samurai (1954), then again in 1960 as The Magnificent Seven, and once more as a TV series by the same name in the 90’s. So it’s pretty well trodden ground, but fresh enough to me.

The Magnificent Seven (2016) tells the story of the small western town that is under siege by a mine operator, Peter Sarsgaard, who threatens to murder the living fuck out of anyone left in the town when he is set to return in three weeks. A woman, Emma Cullen, played by Haley Bennett, who is made a widow by Sarsgaard, goes out to find gun fighters to defend the town. Denzel Washington is the first and he in turn finds the six others: Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Martin Sensmeier.

The formation of the team seemed a bit rushed, but the movie already has a run time of over two hours, so there you go. The action scenes though. Oh man. I didn’t realize I was a fan of westerns till I saw Denzel ride on the side of a horse and pick a bunch of guy off of their horses with a six shooter. The action is extremely well paced and engaging. Hats off to the too many to name here stunt people. Seriously, there are a bunch of them.

Since this movie is, of course, driven by the cast of seven, there are a ton of six degrees of Kevin Bacon-able lines to be drawn. To start, the director, Antoine Fuqua, has directed Denzel twice (Training Day and The Equalizer), Ethan Hawke twice (Training Day and Brooklyn’s Finest), Haley Bennett in The Equalizer, and Vincent D’Onofrio in Brooklyn’s Finest. And speaking of VD’O, he and Chris Pratt were just in Jurassic World together last year. I don’t, and probably never will have, the energy to draw all of the lines given that, you know, it takes hundred of thousands of people to make a movie like Mag 7, which I’m confident was the original title pitched.

I was actually surprised to see that, as of this writing, the film hadn’t made its budget back. It’s a pretty good movie. Good enough that it should have made that $90 million back in three weeks. Yeah, this movie costed $90 million, look at all those names you know in the credits. I had thought about waiting to watch this at my home theater, but I was really glad I had shelled out the dough. Totally worth the ticket price.


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