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'The Magnificent Seven' 2016 Movie Review: Remake Doesn't Reinvent The Western Nor Diversity

The Magnificent Seven movie review

All I remember of the 1960 version of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN was that it was heavy on the testosterone and it featured a great cast featuring many Latinos. The remake with Antoine Fuqua lives up to testosterone-heavy action and the cast is phenomenal. What's bothersome of the updated version is that the original American film's setting is a Mexican village, but for the update, the town is white-washed. The consolation prize is that there is one Mexican among the Magnificent Seven. At least no white actor went brown-faced to play a Mexican like Eli Wallach did in the John Sturges movie.  Times are a changing but not by much. 

While the cast is diverse among the seven heroes, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D'Onofrio are much more developed than Byun-hun Lee (representing Asians), Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (representing Latinos) and Martin Sensmeier's (the native American) characters. They feel thrown in there for the sake of diversity, and some great action sequences involving them. Women or should I say one woman is also represented in the cast. Haley Bennett plays Emma, the widow who hires the gang to save her town. She's the only one among the male-centric story, but she never becomes part of the boy's club. It would've been nice to see her take more of a leadership role, which she sort of does, but not with much confidence. Own it, girl! 

Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt in The Magnificent Seven

Washington, Pratt and Hawke have the best chemistry, and play off each other in a very entertaining way. Watching Washington in a Western is epic, and he's pretty bad ass as he always is. Chris Pratt as usual provides the laughs and the fun. However, the other actors of color feel like sidekicks with little dialogue.  Peter Sarsgaard once again plays a cartoonish villain as the murderous business man. Fuqua easily missed an opportunity to cast a woman as the antagonist.

Denzel Washington in The Magnificent seven

Aside from my sensibilities as a minority, Antoine Fuqua's THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is highly-entertaining and fun. The cast is likeable and enjoyable enough that you forgive some of the weaker moments. Neither the original American version or Fuqua's remake live up to the original 1954 film by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, SEVEN SAMURAI.

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