The Magnificent Seven
by Tony Medley
Runtime 132 minutes.
Not for children.
Why? Does the world
really need a third iteration of this story? Why would anybody in their
right mind want to remake a picture with as outstanding a cast as one
that included Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert
Vaughn, Eli Wallach, and James Coburn? Especially when the
substituted actors include such non-household names as Byung Hung Lee,
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Martin Sensmeier.
Directed by John
Sturges in 1960, each member of the cast gave a performance that could
be considered iconic. The film has continued to live in memory as one of
the best of the era. Itís certainly one that few who saw will ever
The latter, however,
is a different story. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, he puts his particular
form of graphic violence into a film that barely makes it off the ground
before it descends into a silly finale, a battle that has what appears
to be thousands of men fighting a battle to the death over a city that
apparently houses fewer than 50 families, a battle which eventually is
so long that it seems unending. Every few seconds a bunch of new actors
from Central Casting eager to die onscreen appear and are quickly
terminated. And even when the battle ends, the film continues to crawl
along to an equally unsatisfactory expiration. Well, there was one part
of it that was appealing, and that was that it did, in fact, end.
Two appearances are
worth noting in a film that requires virtually no acting talent. The
first is by Peter Sarsgaard as the bad guy, Bartholomew Bogue. He has a
crazed look on his face the entire time, allowing one to truly believe
this guy is evil. The other is by Haley Bennett who is so beautiful one
might overlook her excellent performance as a high-spirited widow eager
for revenge against Bogue.
looks as if he mailed in his performance and used snail mail to do so.
Contrasted with that, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke actually try to make a
silk purse out of a sowís ear, but they donít succeed. Other than that,
unlike the 1960 film which was filled with memorable performances, this
one has not one other performance apart from the four mentioned that
anyone will remember for three seconds after exiting the theater. The
one emotion I felt was relief that it did finally conclude.