Preview: The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven is due to be released this September. It’s another addition to what is definitely a feeling of resurgence in the Western genre. It’s a film that promises to be, at the very least, great fun.

The film is a remake of the 1960 original of the same name which in turn is a re-working of Akira Kurosawa’s legendary samurai flick, Seven Samurai. The central premise is simple, seven mercenary outcasts, each their own unique skills and abilities, assemble to help defend a village and its people from a ruthless group of bandits.

Denzel Washington stars as the figurehead leader of the titular seven where previous iterations saw silver screen heavy-weights Yul Brynner, (The Magnificent Seven, The Return of the Magnificent Seven, The King and I,) and Lee Van Cleef (The Magnificent Seven Ride, The Good the Bad and the Ugly,) take on the role. Washington is similarly impressive in his experience and the first African-American actor to take on the role, equally he’s an actor sculpted by the action genre and has a chance to shine here in a role that could fit him like a glove. Initial impressions derived from the trailer back Washington to step into this role admirably.

This film has the potential, given its solid casting choices, promising trailer and now legendary plot-line, to be a hugely successful action film…

Antoine Fuqua takes the helm as director- his record includes the likes of Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen, Training Day, The Equalizer and Southpaw i.e. it’s spattered with action-thrillers that received mixed reviews. While at first glance this could make fans nervous some hope can be derived from the mixed bag that is Fuqua’s filmography. 2007’s Shooter for example, though littered with plot holes is a thoroughly enjoyable action film and 2001’s Training Day saw more success critically than much of Fuqua’s body of work. Ultimately The Magnificent Seven is a simple story that needs to be fairly simply told, so his back catalogue is in some ways fitting. Fans will hope he produces something more of Shooter/Training Day quality rather than something on a par with The Equalizer or Olympus Has Fallen which were aggressively mediocre.

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Washington and Fuqua have worked together consistently before and are backed up by an interesting cast here. Chris Pratt looks to have a prominent role in support of Denzel Washington while Ethan Hawke (Boyhood,) and Vincent D’Onofrio, (Full Metal Jacket, Jurassic World,) also feature as part of the heroic band. Peter Sarsgaard (Blue Jasmine, Jarhead,) takes up the role of the central villain. A lot of these actors have worked with Fuqua before but how their chemistry with each other develops on-screen will shape this film.

All in all this film has the potential, given its solid casting choices, promising trailer and now legendary plot-line, to be a hugely successful action film. Hopefully Fuqua will further his directorial career here and provide an iteration of The Magnificent Seven that he can be proud of rather than re-hashing mistakes that made one or two of his previous films feel predictable and ultimately forgettable.

By George Storr

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