The Magnificent Seven, B-
Rated PG-13, 133 minutes
According to my movie friend Lisa, the classic 1960 Western "The Magnificent Seven" features lots of guns fights and rolling around in the grass dodging bullets. That could also describe the fun, action-packed remake "The Magnificent Seven," directed by "Training Day's" Antoine Fuqua, packed with pointed pistols, an all-star cast and some well-placed, throwback charm that'll almost help you forget its redundancies. Set in the 1870s post-Civil War, the town of Rose Creek is put under the siege of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) and the residents enlist the help of seven outlaws, a bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), a gambler Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), a sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), a tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D'Onofrio), an assassin Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), a Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier), to protect them while they prepare for the anticipated violent confrontation. However, upon meeting the town's residents, the Seven find themselves fighting for much more than money. We haven't had a decent, Western yarn in awhile, and Fuqua's "The Magnificent Seven," a remake of the 1960 Yul Brynner/Steve McQueen classic, which in turn was a remake of the Kurosawa's classic 1954 "Seven Samurai," fits the bill well: it amps up the gun fights, explosions and cheeky charm, though it doesn't hold a candle to either of the aforementioned classic films. Those films bring with it a load more substance and style, while this "Magnificent Seven" is content as a popcorn flick designed to display its showy cast and hardware. While Washington and Pratt both ground the film well, it's character actor D'Onofrio, from such diverse fare as TV's "Law and Order" to "Men in Black" to last year's "Jurassic World," who steals the show as the Bible verse-spouting, knife-wielding portly hunter Horne, a character reminding a lot Sean Connery's charming, Oscar-winning part in 1987's "The Untouchables." The second act, preparing for the big battle, is too long and could've been trimmed, and the final, extended battle is a both excessive and redundant, after all, we know it will come down to a Sarsgaard-Washington duel, leaving few surprises as to the outcome. Speaking of which, there aren't many surprises or revelations about the new "The Magnificent Seven," except that it entertains more than you might think, with a nice, memorable score, the final from the late James Horner of "Titanic" fame, that reminds of old-school Western films. This "Magnificent Seven" may not truly be magnificent, but it's still worth your movie dollar this weekend.