Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The not so magnificent 7

Released in 1960 (eight years before I was born),The Magnificent Seven features a superb ensemble cast led by Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen, and is is one of my top ten films. Curiousity took me to the cinema last Sunday to see the 2016 re-make starring Denzel Washington.

Let's start with the good stuff before I rip in and tell you why this film is a 'fail' in my opinion.

The final battle scene was a lot of fun. Superb choreography, bullets and arrows flying (with incredible accuracy from the weapons of our heroes), and even a Gatling gun. Vincent D'Onofrio was almost unrecognizable and terrific in his supporting role of Jack Horne, and Emma Cullen made a very sexy damsel in distress.

Here's why I didn't like The Magnificent Seven 2016:

  1. The village of poor farmers being regularly plundered by Calvera's bandidos (1960) became a mining town being exploited by a business tycoon. (2016)
  2. None of the original characters were included in the new film. 
  3. Yul Brynner's ice cold, man in black, mercenary cowboy, Chris, was replaced by an angry black man with an axe to grind named Sam Chisolm.
  4. Awkward insertion of classic lines from 1960. Vin's (Steve McQueen) story of the man falling from a building, for example.
  5. More style than substance (a common problem with modern action films)
  6. A series of lame attempts to explain the motivation of the seven.
  7. The insertion of a random Comanche Indian in the 7 who cuts out and eats a deer's liver or something. Why did he join this gang of white men? Ridiculous.
  8. Sam Chisolm being motivated entirely by revenge. The original film is a redemption story, and has nothing to do with revenge. I guess the makers of the film thought revenge was sexier than redemption. 
  9. Number eight was the second worst thing about the film. The worst thing was the ending. I literally scoffed out loud when I heard the sexy damsel in distress voicing over a shot of four crosses on the hill with these words: "They were magnificent!" Get me a bucket! 
1960: As they look one last time down on the village they rescued from its oppressor, Calvera, Chris says to Vin: 'We lost. We always lose," and they ride off. That's an ending!

If you haven't seen the 1960 version, you might enjoy The Magnificent Seven (2016),  but I could only give it 3 stars. If not for the aforementioned positives, it would have only been 2.


  1. I feel you on the poor remake thing. I felt the same way while seeing the new Poltergeist and the new Ghostbusters. The originals were so much better. To be fair, I bet there are some remakes that are good. Perhaps Oceans Eleven? Haven't seen the first, so I may be wrong.

    1. True. They aren't all bad, and it makes huge difference to how you view/appreciate a re-make if you have not seen the original.

  2. I love a redemption story, but hate a revenge one. This film doesn't seem like it'd be for me (thought I wasn't a fan of the original either. Yul Brenner creeps me out! lol) Interesting about your take on style vs substance. I've watched a number of movies recently (like Silent Hill: Revelation) that have amazing style, but the premise is crapolla. Have a good weekend!

    1. There seems ot be a 'thing' where directors, because of the technology available to filmmakers nowadays, including the all the camera tricky stuff, feel the need to use as much as possible. When The Matrix blew everyone away with its special effects, countless copycats followed, but The Matrix had a soul. I appreciate good special effects and camera tricks, but not at the expense of the story. As a writer, obviously I'm always interested in theme. if I expect nothing deep and meaningful then I just roll with it. Fast and Furious 7 was such a shallow film but the stunts and special effects were a hoot,, so I really enjoyed it. Blah, blah, blah. I am having a great weekend...check out my Celebrate post.