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By Megan Bianco
Hollywood making a remake of a remake? Why, I never! Most film lovers will know that John Sturges’ 1960 classic western The Magnificent Seven is actually an American adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954), and now director Antoine Fuqua has given us a second adaptation, though direct remake of The Magnificent Seven. We’ve now gone from Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura, to Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen, to Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt.
In 1879, the small town of Rose Creek is overtaken by the psychotic industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) and his large gang of criminals. Recently widowed Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) has recruited bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Washington) to help her form a group of hired guns to take down Bogue. Chisolm and Cullen find cowboy Josh Faraday (Pratt), sharpshooter Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), assassin Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).
Fortunately for Fuqua and company, the new Magnificent Seven isn’t flat out awful on a technical level like most unnecessary remakes. But it still suffers from being part of the unnecessary category. There is nothing wrong with the script, direction, effects or editing, but the feature is very by-the-numbers and safe. The characters do exactly what you expect, and there are no new spins on the famous tale, other than more elaborate action. Washington, Bennett and Pratt are decent leads, but we already have two great versions available.