Finding a remake that doesn’t fudge itself is rare nowadays. Probably ‘cause remakes are good for business, but not reputation. After all, if you’re creating another version of something that’s already been created, your intentions probably weren’t noble to begin with.
The Magnificent Seven is one of those fat-lady movies that comes along when the planets are aligned properly – a recreation of something so beloved and cherished that actually turns out to be good.
Being a remake of a remake, one might expect a cinematic equivalent of Chinese whispers, but The Magnificent Seven is magnificently simple. There’s the law abiding law-enforcer who evangelises the rest into joining; the smart-mouth Chris Pratt-like cowboy, aptly played by Chris Pratt; a Confederate with PTSD; an Asian guy who throws knives; there’s a Mexican; an Indian; and a bible-quoting babbler. This is dedication to genre on a whole ‘nother level.
It’s also how I imagine a modern western; encased in the old traditions with a snarky tongue and liberal trigger-finger. A cowboy’s Suicide Squad with the good sense not to try anything fancy – a straight-shooter with cheek.
Being a proper western, it also does a proper finale. Like a proper one. Not the half-cocked deflations of recent action movies – Magnificent Seven organises an entire fireworks convention. The last third exacerbates into the bombastic firefight expected of it, because the whole point of this remake was to watch seven men tussle in a flurry altruism against several hundred, with cinematic action techniques the 1960s didn’t have.
The Magnificent Seven is old school for all the right reasons. It’s predictable as butts, but that’s what you get when you remake a predictable movie – you have to accept it’s predestination. It can never be much more than what it was. It’s a purebred western with Chris Pratt’s cool-guy repartee, homemade to accommodate a third act of farfetched violence and valiance. A fun gander of bullets and zingers. Precisely what you should have expected too.