Welcome to Rose Creek, where everyone looks dashing all the time and always carries a fire arm. Tweed three-piece suits are fashionable despite the scorching desert heat and a brothel occurs at every street corner in Antoine Fuqua’s action-packed Western.
Stampeding into Singapore’s cinemas on 21st September, The Magnificent Seven is the wild wild Western that cinemagoers deserve right now – a good ol’ fashioned barn-burner without any Quentin Tarantino surrealism, Will Smith hip-hop coolness, alien invasions or tacky 90s time-travelling. Even Fuqua’s casting of Korean Lee Byung-Hun fits right in and doesn’t feel the least bit forced.
After all, the empire of Hollywood was partly built on gritty Westerns. And every gritty grain and pore is picked up by the expensive 4K cameras of Fuqua’s volatile blockbuster, which comprises all the essential elements of a good Western: horse stunts (you won’t believe what Denzel Washington is still able to do at his age), quick-draw showdowns, a gripping soundtrack (which composer Simon Franglen dedicated to his partner James Horner, who suddenly passed away during The Magnificent Seven’s making), and no deep plots to fuss about.
The remake of this iconic Western is pretty dark. Fortunately, there’s Chris Pratt (who also played a clown in Parks and Recreation, Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy) to interject the new Magnificent Seven with hilarious moments, while the heroics of this multiracial septet are juxtaposed by Peter Sarsgaard’s marvellously malevolent performance.
Flanking Lee and Pratt are the poised and stunning Haley Bennett, the quixotic Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, as well as an older, seedier and undeniably compelling Ethan Hawke. Hollywood newcomer Martin Sensmeier plays a Comanche Indian, whose tribe I suspect has a great nutrition programme and well-equipped gym. As always, Vincent D’Onofrio stretches himself to make every character he portrays extremely distinctive, while lead protagonist Denzel plays Denzel.
The Magnificent Seven is a Western done the classic way, albeit using the best of modern filmmaking technology. Watching it won’t change your life, but it certainly makes for an entertaining cinema outing.
The Magnificent Seven (2016)
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Genre: Action Comedy
Running time: 133 minutes
Rating: 4/5 stars