Antoine Fuqua directed one of my favorite movies, Training Day, so it’s cool to see him reunite Denzel with Ethan Hawke for his remake of The Magnificent Seven. I remember watching the original with my dad when I was a kid and getting hooked on classic westerns as a result. I think what I liked about them – especially the pre-Clint Eastwood ones, was the unambiguity of good guys and bad guys. They spelled it out for you – white hats versus black hats, right versus wrong.
The genre grew up a bit with Gary Cooper’s High Noon and, of course, the Sergio Leone films turned all the classic tropes on their heads. But Magnificent was a much more cut and dry throwback to the original archetype – bandits ravaging a town full of people and the need for someone to stand up and take action.
This updating should work in modern times, when the world feels a lot more complicated and audiences are looking for stories about right and wrong once again. I think the runaway box office success of comic book heroes in the current era can be partly attributed to this desire. These things go in cycles.
And, by the way, this cast…
Director Antoine Fuqua brings his modern vision to a classic story in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ and Columbia Pictures’ The Magnificent Seven. With the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), the desperate townspeople employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns – Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.