New Western is far from magnificent

Jamie Glenn

Familiar faces, as well as some new, saddle up to offer a modern day twist on an old revisited and remastered Western storyline around a 1960s classic in “The Magnificent Seven.”

re-magnificent7The film offers a predictable Western feel while adding a modern attempt at kicking up dust and raising up guns in the town square. A team of seven come together to save an old town from the ways of new blood.

Story: the film is a remake of the 1960 “The Magnificent Seven,” which was adapted from a 1954 original, titled “Seven Samurai,” created by renowned filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. While based on an old film the characters made it feel timeless.

It may remind you of something you would find yourself watching at your grandmother’s house. Seven warriors are brought together to fight off the new folks in town that are looking to bring a mining corporation into the old Western town of Rose Creek.

Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) the ultimate villain,  offers the townspeople an ultimatum of keeping their land  but possibly not their life, or selling their property and turning the land into mining real estate. Seven warriors are brought together in protect their land.

Acting and execution: The producers were given a rather high budget for the film, over $90 million. Scenes could have been fleshed out and character development could have been better given its high budget.

“The Magnificent Seven” made over $102.9 million at the box office.

Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt are the stars of this film. Other actors include Vincent D’Onofrio and actress Haley Bennett who just completed her role in the other newly released film, “The Girl on the Train.” Many other notable actors offer a highly acclaimed and established cast. With a cast as well known as this, it was easy to walk in with high expectations.

Though each actor carried their character well, the chemistry between the seven didn’t flow as smoothly as expected. The character development is unbalanced. Some actors are given a large amount of screen time and some very little, making it hard to connect with each on a personal level.

Writing: If you’ve seen this storyline once, you’re seeing it yet again. The film follows the predictable formula of a Western where gun slinging cowboys save the town. The action sequences are what  make this genre appealing to audiences.  Westerns don’t have a lot of flexibility within their storytelling. Viewers coming in to enjoy popcorn and action, this film is for you.

The grit and grime behind each action sequence carries a good balance of background music keeping your attention.

Overall, trying to balance the “save our town” plot while interweaving seven different character motivations, was a bit much for viewers to consume in a 2-hour time frame.

Verdict: The film is far from magnificent. Jokes are poorly invested in and fall flat even at times when they are meant to flourish and offer relief from the strict structure of the storyline. While action sequences are packed, they are dragged out. A much longer running time would have done this film wonders. There are too many storylines overlapping at an uneven pace.

It is evident that this film is targeting the male demographic with its integration of heavy language and countless action scenes. But at least Washington portrays a fun persona adding his timelessness to the film.

This film’s narrative is far from fresh, but offers up entertainment for action lovers.