A village is being continually ransacked by Peter Sarsgaard and so seek the assistance of gun for hire Denzel Washington. Denzel is initially hesitant about aiding the town due to the meagre monetary reward for such heroic acts but eventually he decides to help save the town bringing with him six other characters.
Now, The Magnificent Seven (2016) is a remake of a remake. The original Magnificent Seven is a remake of The Seven Samurai and it works because it changes crucial features of the source movie in order to pave its own way and become a different film. This new one does not do that. The new Magnificent Seven opts instead to just do the same thing only with cgi.
Straight off the bat The Magnificent Seven doesn’t work. It isn’t terrible but it just doesn’t work. First of all the cast as a whole isn’t amazing. There are a few standouts, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio do good work that if accompanied with a half decent script could’ve approached interesting character studies. Chris Pratt also gives his all as ever though not even Chris Pratt giving his all can save this script. Elsewhere the other cast members are unremarkable lead by an especially uninspiring Denzel Washington whom seems to all the world like he just does not want to be there. But by far the worst performance comes from the woefully miscast Peter Sarsgaard. Sarsgaard is a decent actor but what he’s good at is playing snivelling pathetic characters, and here he is cast as the exact opposite and thus isn’t threatening in the slightest and severely hinders the movie’s tension.
Centrally the Magnificent Seven falls down because it lacks moments. In the 1960 edition what you remember most fondly are small character moments, its Steve McQueen showing two fingers, it’s Robert Vaughn hiding in a door way, it’s Yul Brynner shooting for the hand right at the beginning. This version is completely devoid of any character moments. It’s also completely devoid of that classic score, and while of course it is always going to be tricky remaking a movie with possibly the greatest movie score of all time, but really one must do better than this.
All in all, it isn’t absolutely dreadful and a decent final act does save the movie from threatening the bottom ten films of the year lists. But it’s completely uninspiring and absolutely lifeless.