“The Magnificent Seven” opened on Friday, September 23, telling the story of a group of outlaws enlisted to protect the town of Rose Creek from a industrialist after the Civil War. It has a lot to live up to: it’s the remake of a classic 1960 western of the same name, which itself was a remake of another classic film, Akira Kurosawa‘s “Seven Samurai” (1954). Does it honor that legacy?
It certainly has the right pedigree. The title rogues are played by Oscar-winner Denzel Washington, Oscar-nominee Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Martin Sensmeier. The director is Antoine Fuqua, who directed Washington to his Best Actor Oscar victory for “Training Day” (2001). And the screenplay is by Richard Wenk and Nic Pizzolatto, the latter of whom is best known as the Emmy-nominated creator of HBO’s anthology series “True Detective.”
However, the reviews are middling. It has scored 54 on MetaCritic, though it’s certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a 63% rating. What do you think of this new take on the famous story? Check out some of the reviews below, and click here to join the discussion in our forums:
Peter Travers (Rolling Stone): “If the sight of Denzel Washington, guns blazing and saddled up for his first western, doesn’t get your pulse racing, read elsewhere … The new ‘Seven’ isn’t aiming for cinema immortality. It’s two hours of hardcore, shoot-em-up pow and it’s entertaining as hell.”
Aisha Harris (Slate): “Denzel. On a horse. Slinging guns in the desert, fighting a greedy, bloodthirsty industrialist alongside his ragtag band of brothers. It’s an archetype we haven’t seen from one of our greatest movie stars before and a welcome one at that; even if he’s still treading dangerously close to regrettable Liam Neeson territory as an elder action hero and seeker of justice, he owns the performance.”
David Ehrlich (Indiewire): “‘The Magnificent Seven’ 2016 is almost as fun as it is familiar. More surprising still, it’s as timely a blockbuster as they come … For a movie that could have been a cheap photocopy of something that has already been done to death, this early fall surprise rides into multiplexes with the fresh sting of a new season.”
Jamie Graham (Total Film): “Washington is badass. Teaming with Fuqua for a third time, after ‘Training Day’ and ‘The Equalizer,’ he plays, essentially, the part occupied by Yul Brynner in Sturges’ movie and Takashi Shimura in Kurosawa’s original – a daunting prospect, but no problem when you possess Washington’s experience, authority and cache of cool.”