The Magnificent Seven ★★★½

I wasn't sure what to think of The Magnificent Seven at first. The idea of a remake of a remake felt somewhat pointless to me, although I suppose there are plenty of differences between Seven Samurai and the original Magnificent Seven to tell me otherwise. A lot of remakes nowadays get a lot of bad flack, and for plenty of good reason. For one, they can be a sign that the person remaking it is only doing so to get money out of people's nostalgia (i.e. Total Recall). But when a remake is done with enough love and care (see also True Grit and The Fly), it can be a much more pleasant experience than initial impressions make it out to be (see also Ghostbusters). Although I haven't seen the original Magnificent Seven yet, I have no doubt that director Antoine Fuqua did a marvelous job at making the story all his own without making it feel like a carbon copy of the original.

Being a remake of Akira Kurasawa's most easily accessible work, there isn't a ton of depth to the story of The Magnificent Seven. It's a simple tale of a group of heroes who do their heroic deeds for their own various motivations. Really, the more I think about it, the less versatile I think the cast was in their performances. Just about every character felt like they were almost playing themselves, with little to no variation in their characters' depth. The real saving grace of The Magnificent Seven comes from its third act- an intense and free flowing action sequence that runs on for about as long as it can before overstaying its welcome for too long. The genericism of its atmosphere almost bogs down the whole thing, but Chris Pratt, among a few others, and that final act bring about the saving graces that prevent this from being a forgettable experience.

The Magnificent Seven surprised me, because it proved once again that not all remakes are necessarily entirely worthless. In this day and age, people can be all too quick to throw away a new release simply because it remakes something they are all too familiar with. There are more than enough new and original releases to obliterate the argument that Hollywood is running out of ideas; yet at the same time, remakes like this tend to show me that maybe it's not such a bad idea to redo something once in a while after all. While it undoubtedly has its fair share of forgettable moments and lackluster performances, there are enough charming action sequences and well made characters to satisfy me personally. Now I just need to see the original, although I doubt it will make me think any less of this fine remake.

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