Review: Explosive fun with the Seven but short of magnificent

Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt in The Magnificent SevenDenzel Washington and Chris Pratt in The Magnificent Seven
Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt in The Magnificent Seven
Matt Adcock reviews The Magnificent Seven (12A), starring Denzel Washington

Saddle up for some good ol' rootin’ tootin’ slick gun-slinging action on the big screen as action director Antoine ‘Training Day’ Fuqua remakes the classic story of seven men willing to stand against impossible odds – as long as they get paid.

This modern vision may not have Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson or Yul Brynner but it does have guns - lots of guns - and explosions galore.

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So does The Magnificent Seven live up to its swaggering title? Well kind of. If you’re a fan of the original, put all thoughts of that aside as this new take is more like a western version of Suicide Squad – less back story and more action. I’m really not kidding about the action - pretty much the whole last hour of the film is a protracted gunfight which is both desperately exciting and wonderfully choreographed. If you’re averse to seeing people getting shot, stabbed, blown up or beaten then this really isn’t the film for you (and it’s quite violent for a 12 certificate).

The plot sees the town of Rose Creek under the dastardly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter ‘Black Mass’ Sarsgaard). The townspeople, who include Emma Cullen (Haley ‘The Girl On The Train’ Bennett), seek protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns. The seven are led by Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), an honourable bounty hunter. Then there’s Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), a likeable gambler who enjoys blowing stuff up, Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), sharpshooter extraordinaire and expert tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D'Onofrio).

Also on the crew are Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), a lethal assassin, token Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier), a Comanche warrior. Yes, it’s a melting pot of races and creeds coming together as brothers for a single purpose – which made me wonder if, on the frontier, things were ever quite so good-natured between such disparate folks.

The build up to the violent showdown is handled well and even finds time to squeeze in some humour. Everyone goes about the gun-slinging business with gusto and, damn, Denzel Washington looks cool. The cinematography is decent and the action when it comes will delight those who enjoy a good big screen shootout.

So whilst not quite ‘magnificent’ this seven is certainly exciting and well worth a look.

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