The Magnificent Seven [2016] ★★★

 timthumbEarly reviews from the Toronto film festival dismissed this movie as a mere attempt to remake yet another Hollywood classic. I confess: I cringed at the idea at first. The 1960 film starring Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner and Charles Bronson (which in turn was based on Akira Kurosawa’s Japanese masterpiece “Seven Samurai”) stood the test of time and a remake was simply unnecessary. But after an explosive opening scenes in which Peter Sarsgaard and his army of thugs destroy a peaceful town for the sake of gold, I was hooked. Enter Denzel Washington and his group of outlaws, who agree to team up and protect this town from yet another deadly attack. By staging some of the best gun fights I’ve seen in a Western movie, director Antoine Fuqua has crafted a vastly entertaining remake that should satisfy any fan of the genre. What’s more, he picked just the right actors to carry it through: Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt are simply a treat to watch, and I loved seeing Ethan Hawke as a sharpshooter who was once known as the Angel of Death. The new “Magnificent Seven”, formulaic as though it may be, is packed with action and laughs, plus a superior score by the late James Horner that manages to pay tribute to the 1960 film. Maybe this redo wasn’t necessary, but Antoine Fuqua and his group of talented actors score a bullseye anyway.

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