Dust off your cowboy hat because The Magnificent Seven (2016) is riding onto DVD and Blu-ray this week. Director Antoine Fuqua gives audiences an entertaining throwback to the classic 1960 film of the same name (which happens to be a remake of the 1950’s Japanese film Seven Samurai). It is rare that a remake honors the true spirit behind the original(s), but in this case Antoine sets the tone perfectly with the quick introduction to the wicked Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). Peter has an eerily charming way of setting Bartholomew’s victims up for their doomed fate. Like with a rattlesnake you know what’s coming, but by the time you realize that you’re in danger the venom has already taken hold.
As with any great Western, where there’s a villain there has to be a hero. However, in The Magnificent Seven you have seven (or rather nine) heroes in the making. I have to admit when I first saw the cast list I was unable to see the true vision of what Antoine had in store. Compared to the classic version this seemed rather like a strange hodgepodge of actors thrown into the dust. But, once the opening credits rolled I was hooked.
Personally, I think this is some of Ethan Hawke’s best work. Chris Pratt shows a side of himself that we have never seen before. Vincent D’Onofrio is completely unrecognizable (as usual). Byung-hun Lee steals the show with his knife-work and subtle subtext. I was totally blown away by Martin Sensmeier’s performance as Red Harvest. For a character of little words, Red speaks volumes through both his actions and inaction. Manuel Garcia-Rulfo holds everyone’s attention with just the right amount of shady mixed with an equal amount of heart. Luke Grimes is so charming as Teddy Q that I wish we could have seen more of his story. Denzel Washington and Haley Bennett beautifully lead this charge of misfits into the day of reckoning.
Separately each character has an interesting story to tell, but when you throw them all together you somehow end up with a perfect symphony. That’s when it dawned on me that these actors, these characters, these seven weren’t supposed to fit together. They were always meant to be a strange hodgepodge of characters who have to work together in order to meet the greater good. In order to save the town we need each of their talents, skills, flaws and all. We need the Magnificent Seven.
The Magnificent Seven is currently available on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD just in time for Christmas. If you have any Western fans on your list then this is the gift for them. It is an enjoyable modern take on everyone’s favorite Western classic. I can’t wait to watch it again.
Rated PG-13 for extended and intense sequences of Western violence, smoking, some language and suggestive material.