The Magnificent Seven

There are some films you go to, where your expectation is that they will be adequate. Magnificent Seven is overdue a decent remake, and this was a film I could see with my daughter. I didn’t expect it to have the same impact watching the original did for a 7 years old, but it looked like a decent way to spend a couple of hours.

The casting is pretty solid – Washington does the role of leader solidly, Pratt does his amiable rogue schtick effectively and Ethan Hawke is probably the best of the bunch as the ex Confederate sharp shooter. Revisiting Westerns is problematic with modern sensibilities, particularly for a film that just wants to get on with the entertainment. It opts to deal with the racial issues of the time by having diversity in the seven (and of course they all come to have respect for each other through combat). But you get the sense it is not really at ease confronting these and quickly moves on.

As for the entertainment aspect, it handles that effectively. There are some moments of comedy, some cool deaths, and fast paced action scenes. It makes a change from car chases. But it lacks any of the charm of the original, and ultimately you don’t care about about the villagers or the cowboys. The sense of sacrifice and redemption that was central to the original is lacking, almost as if they’re embarrassed by it, and it isn’t replaced by anything.

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