The Magnificent Seven Screen 5 articles

The Magnificent Seven


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  • Fuqua, who directed Washington and Hawke to two of their best performances in Training Day, isn't interested in a sustained attack on the tyranny of industry. He's interested in turning out a stultifying barrage of action setpieces, which feature so many characters shooting at so many enemies from so many different directions that it's impossible to tell who's where and when at any given time. Or care.

  • The new version is a real western, but it also can’t shake the feeling that everything here is pure dress-up fantasy—a kind of fantasy far beyond the western’s great tradition of the revenge fantasy fulfilled. There’s a fine line, as Sergio Leone once told me, between the operatic and the absurd, and this Seven runs roughshod over it.

  • Fuqua is a prototypical journeyman who never rises above a script, and the one he’s working with here (courtesy of Richard Wenk and True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto) consists of about a half-dozen choice zingers and a whole lot of bull. Everybody has a dirty face, a drinking problem, and a “shoot first” outlook, none of which really covers up the fact that this movie is even more morally superficial than Sturges’ version.

  • The problem with such baby-steps correctives is that, as Hollywood keeps raiding its back catalog and forcing underrepresented talents to conform to standard entertainment templates, the push for diversity is being placed at the mercy of a creatively moribund system—and that unfortunate dynamic is very much on display in "The Magnificent Seven."

  • As an example of classical Hollywood construction, The Magnificent Seven does the job. The casting is spot on, and with very little effort, Fuqua manages to create a set of rich characters with meaningful back stories.

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