"Rough, but Not Ready for Prime Time"
What You Need To Know:
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN has a solid story structure, with exciting, suspenseful and even funny moments. However, the introduction of the seven heroes is not as fun, or as heroic, as the 1960 movie. So, it’s harder to sympathize with them. The movie does contain some strong, overt Christian references, coming mostly from the farmers and the Indian fighter. That said, there’s an inordinate amount of foul, profane language and a high body count. So, extreme caution is advised for this new MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.
(CC, BB, Acap, FR, CapCap, LLL, VVV, S, AA, DD, M) Strong Christian, moral worldview includes prayers to God, townsfolk recite Lord’s Prayer, and good, generosity, mercy, forgiveness, and sacrifice for others prevail over evil, greed, brutality, refusal to repent, and taking advantage of physically weaker people, and a brief anti-capitalist element where the villain has a warped sense of capitalism, money, the American Dream and faith, but he’s clearly blinded by his greed, brutality and self-serving attitude, and there are some positive examples of capitalism to counteract this, but the movie’s positive worldview is mitigated by lots of foul, profane language and a theme of revenge that permeates parts of the story; 36 obscenities (mostly “d,” “h” and “s” words with a few SOBs), eight strong profanities (seven GDs and one mentioning Jesus), three light profanities; very strong violence overall with a high body count but only some blood includes people and horses blown up, many gunfights with point blank shootings, fighting, bad guys have old-fashioned machine gun, people shot with arrows, people use hatchets on other people (including good guy shown swinging hatchet against people after he knocks bad guys down), men fall off horses, horses fall; no sex but a person makes a sexual innuendo to fornication in one scene and a couple references to past crimes of rape; no nudity; alcohol use and slight drunkenness; smoking and two allusions to smoking marijuana which are unclear; and, revenge, villain sets fire to church, greed but rebuked, cheating but rebuked.
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, the 2016 remake of the iconic 1960 western starring Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen, takes the basic story and envisions the seven gunfighters/warriors fighting to protect a town of farmers from the evil owner of a mining company trying to steal their land. This new MAGNIFICENT SEVEN has a surprising amount of overt Christian references, but it emasculates the heroism of the 1960 classic movie and adds an even higher body count and too many obscenities and strong profanities, so it’s not half as enjoyable, inspiring or sweeping as the original.
Hollywood keeps trying to do remakes of classic movies like this, but they very seldom get it right. In fact, they usually fail miserably to capture the spirit of the original movies. Such is mostly the case with this MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. A recent, pleasing exception to this problem was Disney’s THE JUNGLE BOOK, a powerful live action remake of their 1967 animated classic.
The 2016 MAGNIFICENT SEVEN starts with the farmers of Rose Creek, California. The local mine owner, a man named Bogue, is infamous for stealing land from regular folks for his various business enterprises. An army of paid gunslingers helps him do such vile deeds. Bogue interrupts a church meeting organized by the town’s farmers. He offers them pennies on the dollar for their land. When a few of the men object, his bodyguards kill them, including the husband of a feisty redheaded woman named Emma. Bogue then tells the farmers he’ll return in three weeks from a business trip to collect his money, their abandoned land or their heads.
Cut to a saloon in another town. In a shootout, a duly deputized, black warrant officer, Sam Chisolm, played by Denzel Washington, kills the bartender, who’s wanted for rape and murder. Josh Faraday, a gambler in the saloon, stops other men in the saloon from interfering in the gunfight.
After Chisolm shows the local authorities his credentials and the wanted poster for the bartender, Emma approaches Chisolm and asks him to help her town fight Bogue. Chisolm recognizes Bogue’s name and knows his reputation. There’s a hint that Chisolm even knows more about Bogue than he’s telling.
Chisolm at first ignores Emma’s plea. However, Emma, who’s accompanied by Teddy, one of the young farmers in her town, offers Chisolm “everything” she has if he’ll come and help her town. No one’s ever offered him “everything,” Chisolm tells her, so he accepts.
Of course, Chisolm convinces Josh to go with them. Soon, they’re rounding up five other gunslingers/warriors and helping the farmers learn how to defend themselves. The five other men include an Indian, a Japanese guy handy with knives and guns, a former Confederate sniper and friend of Chisolm, a Mexican gunslinger wanted by the law, and a large in size former Indian fighter, who quotes Scripture and prays.
Eventually, the showdown with Bogue and his army arrives. Both sides have a few surprises up their sleeves. Have Chisolm and his buddies signed on to a lost cause? Who will survive and who won’t?
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN has a solid story structure, with exciting, suspenseful and even funny moments. However, the introduction of the seven men is drawn out and not as fun, or as heroic, as the 1960 movie, which is based on a highly acclaimed 1954 Japanese movie, THE SEVEN SAMURAI, by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni. Also, the characters in general aren’t quite as interesting here, as well as not as heroic or appealing, although the movie does borrow some of the great dialogue from the 1960 version. One of the big problems regarding the characters is the big villain Bogue, who has none of the panache the original, who’s played by Eli Wallach. Perhaps the director, who excels at more modern faire, is unsuited to this kind of period story?
Whatever the case, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN does contain some strong, overt Christian references, coming mostly from the farmers and the Indian fighter who often prays to God. That said, there’s an inordinate amount of foul, profane language and a high body count. Also, there’s a brief anti-capitalist element when the mine owner is shown to have a warped sense of capitalism and money and their connection to the American Dream and faith. However, in the end, he’s shown to be unrepentant of his greed and brutality, so it’s clear he’s just a nasty character with no real moral standards or understanding of true capitalism, which depends on mutually agreed-upon economic contracts, not brute force. Finally, parts of the story have an element of revenge, which was missing from the 1960 classic.
All in all, therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for this MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.