Disclaimer: I have never seen the original, I do want to though, so this isn’t a comparison nor will there be any comparisons. I saw an advanced screening of this film and I enjoyed it.
Summary: Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.
Cast and Characters. I enjoyed all of the characters, at least the main seven were all enjoyable characters. There are supporting characters who were also handled well, so in all honesty, I think all of the characters were handled well lol.
Denzel Washington as Sam Chisholm “the bounty hunter”. He is a “duly sworn” warrant officer/ bounty hunter, he decides to help the town (for personal reasons too) and begins his journey to find his team. Denzel is Denzel, he is suave, smooth, that walk will never change lol and I like his look in that black. So nice. He is definitely a leader, he handles his team and the townspeople like it’s nothing. Denzel, Denzel lol.
Chris Pratt as Joshua Farraday “the gambler”. He likes card tricks, whiskey, gambling, and he’s really good with a gun (I mean they all are technically). I like Pratt a lot, he’s naturally funny and most of the humor comes from him. His character is like the “drunk, funny sidekick who is also badass”. He’s a flirt but he will take you down!
Ethan Hawke as Goodnight Robicheaux “the sharpshooter”. Hawke’s character seemed to have a history with Washington’s, they fought in a war together, he was a Confederate soldier. He seems to have a case of PTSD but he likes to spout words of wisdom throughout the film. He’s the worn ex soldier, but he’s mature and smart. He has a lot of humor in him as well. Knowing Hawke’s normal voice, his “western movie” voice was pretty awesome.
Vincent D’Onofrio as Jack Horne “the tracker”. Ohhh boy, he had me cracking up. Just the voice D’Onofrio was putting on killed me every time he spoke. His character lived on his own, his family was lost to him and he just does his own thing but he’s very religious. Every time he fights, kills, or anything of the like, he recites a bible verse, or he starts praying.
Byung-hun Lee as Billy Rocks “the assassin”. He has an awesome opening scene and when it happened, I leaned over to my friend and said “I’m attracted”, she leaned over and nodded lol. This dude right here was awesome! I love assassin type characters, especially ones who were good with a gun but preferred to use a different weapon. He had these detailed knives he preferred to throw, or slash and stab. He also used the pins he kept in his hair. He’s friends with Ethan Hawke’s character, Hawke was hunting him for a reward but ended up befriending him instead. Such a loyal dude.
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Vasquez “the outlaw”. He’s a Mexican bandit, robber and criminal. He’s on the run and Denzel was hunting him but instead recruits him, letting him know that if he survives, he should feel comfort in knowing Denzel wouldn’t be coming after him. He has nothing to lose so he rides with him. He loves gunfighting and actually has a lot of friendly chemistry with Chris Pratt, they often go head and head with each other. It comes full circle later.
Martin Sensmeier as Red Harvest “the warrior”. He’s first seen in full war paint, which is so awesome, he’s a Comanche warrior, seemed to be “exiled” from his tribe because “that’s not his path”. Denzel makes friendly with him and he joins their team. I also leaned over to my friend and said “I’m attracted”, she agreed. He doesn’t talk much, when he does it’s in his native tongue which no one else can understand but Denzel to an extent. It’s usually funny because everyone’s wondering what he’s saying. I love bows and arrows so the fact that he fights with him, so awesome! His entire look was great. Yay for a Native American actor!
The supporting cast. The film has a large leading ensemble, but there are a lot of supporting characters as well. I don’t know all of their names but the ones who matter are the ones mentioned.
Peter Sarsgaard as Bartholomew Bogue “the corrupt industrialist”. The bad guy, ugh, I just wanted to punch him in the face. He doesn’t like to get his own hands dirty but will if he has too but doesn’t like it. Prefers paying people off and what not. Good job Sarsgaard, I hate you in this movie.
Haley Bennett as Emma Cullen. A young woman who hires the Seven, her husband is killed before her eyes trying to stand up against the bad guys and she wants “righteousness but will settle for revenge”. I liked her a lot. She wants to fight, she’s handy with a gun, and a boss.
Luke Grimes as Teddy Q. Not sure what he is in the film, but he’s traveling with Emma to hire protectors and I liked him enough. He seemed to be a young dude, who just wants to protect his town and he’s likable, he has a few good moments with some of the seven.
The Humor. This movie is hilarious. I mean everyone has a moment to share something that made me laugh. From the looks they give other characters, from reacting to Hawke’s words of wisdom and D’Onofrio’s hilarious delivery of his bible verses and religious words. The townspeople reacting to Billy’s awesome knife tricks…Man, it’s so good. The comedic timing is handled well.
The Story. At it’s core it’s the typical, townspeople being threatened, they need someone to help them. So someone goes out to find people to help and the people teach them how to fight for their land. I mean, I can’t say if there’s anything new added to the story considering the framing of that story is in a Western (plus I’ve never seen the original) but it’s not stale. It’s pretty timeless actually.
The Action. It’s a western so the action, the gun fighting etc has to be on point. I thought it was. The last thirty minutes alone, magnificent.
The Camaraderie/Chemistry. I think in a movie with a large ensemble cast, or with a group of people sharing the main story, it’s hard to properly expand on each person, at least enough for the audience to care about them but I think it’s handled well here. Obviously, some characters have more expansion than others but I think it was enough for the film’s purposes. We got to know each of them enough and why they joined up. Plus, the way they interacted with each other was great too, they each had moments with each other, sometimes all seven of them would be together talking, or maybe three or four but it always worked. You can really see the friendship and loyalty between Goodnight and Billy, the history between Goodnight and Chisholm, the competitive brewing friendship between Farraday and Vasquez, the relationship between Denzel and his horse!… it goes on. I thought it was handled well.
The Musical Score. James Horner (RIP), is amazing. One of his most iconic scores is Titanic but he’s still good here, the opening song, the end credits score, the music during the fight scenes, as well as during those quiet moments. The way it swells at times. Oh yeah.
The pacing. It starts off slow, it takes a while for momentum to build. It didn’t need to be fast paced the entire time but it does feel to drag on, mainly in the beginning. I know in a way it has too since Denzel is recruiting people but still.
Wasted Actor. This is probably more of it making me mad then anything but there’s an actor in this movie, he’s at the beginning, I didn’t even know he was in it but what happened with him… man I was upset lol then they had the nerve to put his name in the opening credits.
The “Western Talk”. Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen a lot of Westerns but there were times when the mumbling got too much where I had no idea what was being said. I could catch words but meh. I will watch this again, and I might have to watch it when it comes out of DVD with subtitles lol. It wasn’t all bad, it was just the mumbling really.
The Story. At it’s core it’s the typical, townspeople being threatened, they need someone to help them. So someone goes out to find people to help and the people teach them how to fight for their land. I mean, I can’t say if there’s anything new added to the story considering the framing of that story is in a Western (plus I’ve never seen the original) but it’s not stale (It’s both a pro and a con because it’s not necessarily bad but it’s nothing new either).
Overall, I really liked The Magnificent Seven, enough that the cons don’t really damage it much in my eyes. It may not necessarily be an original story, the way the characters are handled, the humor, their chemistry together helps keep the movie moving strong. The movie wasn’t meant to be a deep film, it’s fun and it knows that. I think Mr. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter) knew exactly what he was doing. Maybe this movie will help revitalize Westerns. I mean, none of them may be very original, there may not be another Django: Unchained but still ya know? Go into this movie with a mind ready to enjoy big shootouts, funny dialogue and chemistry between characters and let yourself enjoy the hell out of it.