by Dave B.
The Magnificent Seven (2016, currently on Hulu) is one of many, many movies heavily inspired by the Japanese classic film, “Seven Samurai” (including the original “The Magnificent Seven” of which this movie is a more direct remake). That means, it follows basically the same plot: a town is in need of help and recruits seven rogues, led by a relatively isolated hero, to train the townsfolk how to defend themselves against an overwhelming force and impossible odds. The Magnificent Seven takes place in 1879 in the western town of Rose Creek instead of in a feudal Japanese village, and the villain is a rich miner instead of a gang of bandits, but the general outlines of the stories are pretty much the same.
There’s nothing terribly wrong with The Magnificent Seven, but it isn’t particularly impressive either. It’s strength is clearly its strong cast, which includes Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt, among others. There isn’t really a weak performance in the entire movie. There’s a healthy dose of humor as well, mostly provided by Pratt (which isn’t surprising at all). And the action sequences are decent, with the climactic battle bordering on impressive.
But, The Magnificent Seven doesn’t stand out in any particular area. Even it’s strong performances are watered down a bit by uninspired dialogue and a pedestrian script. And that’s perhaps the best way to describe the movie as a whole: watered down. I don’t say this often because I think a movie can excel regardless of it’s rating, but The Magnificent Seven would almost certainly have benefited by being made as a rated R movie instead of a PG-13 one. Too much of the film feels unnaturally constrained, from the banter to the violence. I won’t say that The Magnificent Seven was predictable, but it wasn’t unpredictable either. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn someday that the studio made the writers tone down the plot and dialogue significantly before production to make the movie accessible to a younger demographic.
Nevertheless, The Magnificent Seven manages to be entertaining despite never reaching its full potential. It’s on the long side at 132 minutes, but its never boring and will hold even the shortest attention spans for nearly the entire runtime. I recommend this movie. I’m just disappointed that it took almost no risks. With an all-star cast, risks aren’t necessarily what studios are looking for, but this movie would have had more impact (and possibly more financial success) if it didn’t take the well-worn paths quite as often
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.