Cast: Peter Sarsgaard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Lee Byung-hun, Chris Pratt
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Genre: Action, Adventure & Drama
Duration: 132 minutes
Showing: Cinema Magic, Naalya, Century Cinemax Acacia Mall.
After making you wait more than two hours, the new version of The Magnificent Seven finally plays that famous theme song. Well, that’s one way to send you out smiling. Actually, with this movie, it is probably the only way.
Admitted, the remake of the 1960 Western makes a few good changes. The Seven are now led by Denzel Washington’s cool Kansas bounty hunter, instead of Yul Brynner’s improbable Cajun. There is a Mexican and a Native American and an Asian on the team now, too.
Oh, and substituting for Eli Wallach, then trying out his spaghetti-Western bandito act as the villain, we have Peter Sarsgaard as a slimy American mining millionaire.
But instead of ever getting truly “Magnificent,” these multicultural gunslingers remain largely a meh seven. The problem starts with the script. True, while sticking to the old gimmick, already borrowed from the Japanese classic, “The Seven Samurai” — hired muscle protects a poor town — it tries to add diversity.
Still, it holds onto its own, age-old Hollywood bias: The mostly white stars get characters. The minority, supporting actors get types.
So Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio play real people with complicated, ugly pasts. The rest of the Seven? They’re stuck with clichés: the hot-blooded Mexican, the savage Indian, the inscrutable Asian. It leaves the movie’s fight for equality shooting blanks.
The picture dawdles, too. That was actually a problem with the original; you watched the leader assemble his team of hired guns, and then you had to wait, and wait, for someone to fire.
At least that time, though, you had some iconic actors to enjoy. But pleasant as these new guys are, they don’t carry the same weight.
You can feel director Antoine Fuqua waking up a bit for the big action scenes. There are three: One when Washington makes his movie-star entrance, the second when the Seven first ride into town, and the third — well, pretty much the whole last act of the movie. All are solidly staged. There isn’t even that great old music to listen to. There’s just dust and duty, cowboys and bromance.