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Magnificent Seven

Jonathan Hinshaw - Sunday, September 25, 2016

This weekend we watched Magnificent Seven, starring Denzel Washington (Flight, Training Day), Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World), Ethan Hawke (Gattaca, Training Day), Vincent D’Onofrio (Men in Black, Jurassic World), Byung-hun Lee (Terminator Genisys, G.I. Joe: Retaliation), Manuel Garcia-Fulfo (From Dusk till Dawn:TV Series, Cake), Martin Sensmeier (The Hub, Lilin’s Brood), Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead, Green Lantern) and Haley Bennett (The Equalizer, Marley & Me). 

This is actually a remake of a remake, original Magnificent Seven (1960) starring Steve McQueen (and Yul Brenner, Charles Bronson, Eli Wallach, Robert Vaughn, and James Colburn) was a remake of the Seven Samurai from the 50s.  Story is still very similar, bad guy wants to take over a town, town people plead with a guy who hunts bad guys, he enlists 6 others, take back the town.  Here we have Peter Sarsgaard playing a very bad guy.  He has a gold mine, wants to expand, offers almost nothing for the land around his gold mine.  When the people don’t sell, he ups the offer.  Sorta.  Actually he threatens the whole town of Rose Creek, kills a few of the men and women, makes a statement.  Haley Bennett’s husband is one of the unlucky ones Peter puts away, she goes to another town to find Denzel.  He is not exactly a bounty hunter, rather a licensed law man hunting for fugitives.  Finds one near our gold mine town.  Haley approaches Denzel, says that the town has no one to help, they will pay him all they have to fight this monster. 

Denzel is first not enthused, but the more he hears, he decides it is a fight worth going all in.  Chris Pratt is brought along, Denzel owns his horse, so he kinda owes him.  They recruit Ethan and his BFF Byung-hun, who knows his way around a knife.  As they make their way back to Rose Creek, Denzel picks up Manuel, then they stumble across Vincent D’Onofrio, playing a bible quoting mountain man, really a character.  He joins them as well.  Meet an Indian, played by a real native American, Sensmeier, pulls him in.  All in all a motley crew.  They get back to Rose Creek, take out a crooked sheriff, he is sent back to Sacramento to deliver a message to Sarsgaard, we are not standing down.  So Peter will bring in an army, how is Denzel supposed to fight with only 7? 

Well, a real surprise, he sets about training the townspeople how to shoot, fight.  He really realizes what a hopeless job this may be, the men cannot shoot, and when they do, they cannot hit a target.  Denzel has a plan, and develops a few surprises with the help of Pratt and the others. 

This is Denzel’s first western.  He originally was not all that enthused, but the director, Antoine Fuqua sold him by telling him he could pick out his own western outfit.  No chaps and spurs, he ends up in all black, he makes the black outfit look good!  By the way, Fuqua also directed Denzel in The Equalizer and Training Day, so they both know how well the finished product can be.

Chris Pratt brings a level of humor to the movie, lots of subtle wise-cracks, and some not so subtle.  Denzel plays a straight man to Chris’s loud mouth, it works.  

Lots of gun fire, explosions, people killed by pistols, rifles, knives, even a Gatling Gun!  The real story is in the last 40 minutes, this is a 132 minute movie, so it takes a while to hit the big battle.  And a big battle it is.  It was amazing how many shots you can fire from a 6 shooter, seemed like 20 or 30 rounds, no reloading necessary!  Lots of blood and guts, no one faints or passes out, no, they are shot multiple times, these are hearty townspeople. 

Language is a little rough, but appropriate for a western story from a century ago.  It is a long movie, but characters are well developed and we enjoyed it.  We will go with a Magnificent 3.5.    

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