Nah, I’m just screwin’ with yah. Bet you didn’t know a 1998 version existed did ya? Here’s the actual poster for the movie I’m reviewing.
Still not a big fan of posters that just show cast members (usually their faces, sometimes full body if you’re lucky), and this seems to be a decent Tombstone ripoff poster, as opposed to the others I’ve been seeing. Most of the posters for this movie are lame. Anyway…
Surprisingly not bad. It did what I expected them to do with Denzel Washington, making him unbelievably badass. I mean that in a negative way. There are times when a movie character is so badass that it would only fit within a cheesy so-bad-it’s-good 80s film, and that’s not what this is. It’s the same character from The Equalizer, and I disliked that movie for the same reason. The guy is too good, has no faults in his stature, charisma, near-invincibility, etc. It’s the same reason I dislike a lot of Steven Seagal flicks, and some of Clint Eastwood’s old westerns (Pale Rider, High Planes Drifter). Make him more human, show that he has faults. That didn’t happen. The problem became more pronounced when it became obvious that Denzel’s character is undoubtedly the central character.
And the villain. About as two-dimensional cookie cutter cardboard mustache twirling stereotypical cliched as he can get.
The villain in the older film wasn’t all that complex either, but he was nowhere near as over-the-top as this one. Hell, he even seemed a tad more reasonable at times, such as allowing the gunslingers to hit the road, even if that ended up being a mistake on his part. As for Seven Samurai, well, we just simply never got to know them at all. They are bandits that ride around and steal rice, that’s all we ever really know about them. No memorable villains, just generalized bandits.
But this version does have some strengths that outdo portions of the older films, both the original Magnificent Seven and Seven Samurai. The small talk between the 7 fighters. It showed some nice camaraderie between them all. It did that better than the other two films. Plus the action was pretty well done too, even if the CG on display during the explosions got a bit cringe-worthy. And the characters were quite fun, even Denzel’s character despite my gripes. And to be honest, I felt that the different character types fit right in as opposed to being forced in there just for the sake of racial/personality diversity. Could’ve used a little more background on the Native American though, especially since he seems to have a bit of history with the antagonist Native American that shows up later.
As for theme. Unlike the older films, this one didn’t have any theme on “the farmers win, we lose” or “only in death are we all equal” or “a happy/sad coming of age tale.” No. This one was just simply, “Let us never forget those who sacrificed their lives for ours unselfishly.” And the whole revenge and justice angle (both are one and the same, and thus it’s good!). Plus the little character arc with Ethan Hawke’s character (the only one with an engaging arc), which while interesting isn’t as good or fleshed out as the character arcs in Seven Samurai. Seven Samurai tops the others when it comes to character arcs, and the older Magnificent Seven doesn’t quite top this one in character arcs because, while there are more of them, none of them were all that interesting to me.
Now, I thought older Magnificent Seven film was just so-so. I didn’t really see what the big deal was for that film, aside from the cast. Seven Samurai on the other hand, that film is plain frikkin awesome. This new film sits between those two, for now. Seven Samurai > Magnificent Seven 2016 > Magnificent Seven 1960. That’s subject to change, except for Seven Samurai, that’s staying at the top.