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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2315)

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Magnificent Seven, The (2016) 
"The Magnificent Seven" by Yojimbo
2.5/4 stars

A small town held to ransom by an unscrupulous mining baron enlists the aid of seven gunfighters to help reclaim their land and rid themselves of their oppressor.

The original version of The Magnificent Seven was that rarest of beasts; a remake of such quality that it became a classic in its own right. The differences between that film and this reinvention are obvious from the very start; rather than the original's scene-setting opening where Yul Brinner and Steve McQueen stand up for the rights of a deceased and unknown native American, instead we have a pantomime villain doling out ugly violence and not only that, the only native American onscreen murders a fleeing innocent woman in cold blood. In fact every change to the original story serves to diminish it; instead of poor peasant Mexican farmers we have good, honest white folk - no doubt in an attempt to appeal to Trump's "forgotten men", the lead character instead of acting to selflessly stand up for the little guy is furnished with a personal vendetta against the villain of the piece and the only character who is not a Gung Ho action man has a change of heart so complete and instantaneous that it is completely devoid of drama or emotional resonance. In this reboot, Antoine Fuqua prefers faux grittiness over artistry, racial stereotypes over interesting characters and macho posturing over heart and soul.

Having said all of that if you judge The Magnificent Seven on its own merits, thanks to solid performances and solidly directed action sequences it is decent enough - the cringeworthy epilogue aside - but quite why anyone would choose "decent" over "magnificent" I have no idea.


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