Film review: The Magnificent Seven (12A)

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Showcase Cinema, Peterborough

It might not quite have the heart of the 1960 original, but this remake has its fair share of magnificent moments to make it a worthwhile re-hash for this generation.

Training Day helmer Antoine Fuqua re-teams his leading men – Denzel Washington (who won an Oscar for that film) and Ethan Hawke – and adds in Hollywood ‘man of the moment’ Chris Pratt (Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy) to make an entertaining, if sometimes inconsistent, take on the classic tale which was based on Akira Kurosawa’s acclaimed 1954 hit Seven Samurai.

Set in the mining community of Rose Creek to an 1879 ‘Wild West’ backdrop, corrupt industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Flightplan’s Peter Sarsgaard) besieges the town and ruthlessly slaughters a group of locals led by Matt Bomer’s (Magic Mike) Matthew Cullen – who gets ruthlessly murdered in the process.

So when Cullen’s wife Emma (The Girl on the Train’s Haley Bennett) enlists the help of warrant officer Sam Chisholm (Washington) – who is reluctant until he hears of Bogue’s involvement – the bounty hunter then rounds up a small group of mercenaries for the impossible mission of defending the town from Bogue’s army.

This includes gun-totting gambler Josh Faraday (Pratt), haunted Civil War sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Hawke), knife-wielding assassin Billy Rocks (GI Joe: Retaliation’s Byung-hun Lee), veteran tracker Jack Horne (Men in Black’s Vincent D’Onofrio), notorious Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and young Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).

Despite being a slow-burner to start with – in fact the whole film does suffer from a consistently disjointed feel between moments of elation and intermittent plodding – when the ‘seven’ finally form and the battle starts, it’s fairly intense and noteworthy stuff that generally hits the spot – especially when Bogue’s Gatling gun comes into play.

You never quite get that heart-rending moment of death that was bestowed on the likes of Charlie Bronson or James Coburn in the first film, but – despite a slightly underwhelming pay-off – this is for the most part watchable Western fare.

That is mainly due to the magnificent cast on hand that pulls this remake through its leaner moments – to give you ‘plenty of bang’ for your buck. Rating: 3.5/5 Gavin Miller