Exactly As The Title suggests: Magnificent
Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai has been made and remade and made again in so many languages. Now Antoine Fuqua brings you his version of the same story. It may not rent your soul like Seven Samurai does, nor does it make you drool over the easy macho of Yul Brynner and other cowboys in the 1960 version. But it’s fun, fully action packed, and has seemingly unending ammunition.
If you have watched Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, you have seen humanity at it’s wretched worst. Your hearts melt at the poverty the villagers have been trapped in and the cruelty of the bandits. The 1960 version is less wretched even though it remains a tragedy, but it gives you heroes each with his own unique quality.
If you are a fan of the earlier versions, you will expect this new film to have the same emotional connect. It doesn’t. You know the story too well and yet, the beginning freezes you in the seat. It is surprising. It is shocking. And it sets the tone for the story. You are terrified of Peter Sarsgaard as you should be. You want the village saved.
As you settle down with the popcorn, you wish you could have had a better emotional connect with the cowboys but you are happy just watching their skills.
‘Throw, slice, stab!’ There’s nothing more to it, Billy Rocks tries to teach the villagers to use the knife…
‘Her name is Ethel, and she’s the love of my life,’ Faraday talks about his gun…
And Denzel Washington attempts to be as laconic as Yul Brynner but his character comes across as too broody.
But Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio bring so much passion to their characters, you fall in love with the story once again.
The body count is more, and the bad guy is badder and even more cruel than Gabbar could ever be in the desi version of the story. The second half action as the movie prepares to meet the baddie are really shot like they loved it. But in spite of all that, you do wish for a Revenant like view captured for the big screen. But still, when the old familiar music comes along with the end credits, you emerge happy from the theater, pleased with the experience.
(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)