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ikkegoemikke's Movie Reviews (570)

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Magnificent Seven, The (2016) 
Yeehaa ... The Seven notorious cowboys ride again
3/4 stars

"If God didn't want them to be sheared, he wouldn't have made them sheep."

Anyone who made an effort to read one of my writings, knows about my opinion on remakes and milestones in film history. I'm not a supporter of digging out hit movies from the past, dusting them off and giving them a new look. In most cases nothing new will be presented. In the worst case the result will fail terribly and the final product is a lamentable bad movie. "Ghosbusters" was such a monstrosity in my opinion and confirmed my assertion that certain milestones are untouchable in film history (I'm afraid the remake of "Jumanji" will end up in that same alley). However, there are exceptions like the recent film "The Jungle Book". Although this is not a remake in the strictest sense of the word, but rather an adaptation of a cartoon.

I'm not claiming that this version of "The magnificent seven" surpasses the original film from 1960. The original black and white version is and will always remain a monument. Actually, you can compare this movie with the remake of "Robocop". Broadly speaking there are similarities, but subtle changes make it a more contemporary version. As with "Robocop", you shouldn't compare it too much with the classic version. Because of a few reinterpretations and a flashy new look it's accurate to say that it's more a "restyling" and not a "remake". What are the similarities? Again there's a community being oppressed and exploited by a power-hungry villain. This time it's not about Mexican farmers whose much needed harvested food is being stolen by a Mexican gang. This time it's an ordinary town where the inhabitants have to dig for gold in a mine and they are subjected to pressure by a fierce, crazy tyrant (Peter Sarsgaard) so they would sell their property for a handful of dollars. And once again those desperate inhabitants rely on seven mercenaries who, apparently without hesitation, volunteer to assist the residents to defend themselves against the oppressors. Of course the seven gunslingers are exceptionally talented shooters and the gang bandits are as stupid as an ass. As a result these ruffians are slaughtered en masse. And also the fact that one of the heroes takes on the role of a coward, just as Robert Vaughn did in the 1960 version, is a striking similarity.

The main distinction is made by the seven gunfighters. A jumble of rough men from different cultures. This way it became a politically correct film. An African-American (Denzel Washington), a Mexican (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), an Indian (Martin Sensmeier) and a Chinese (Byung-Hun Lee) ensured the diversity of origins. In addition, they get the company of a woodsman (Vincent D'Onofrio) whose weight probably transcends his intellect effortlessly. And a womanizing cowboy (Chris Pratt) who manages to hit a target without a problem despite his drinking problem. But overall, this is nothing more than an action-packed western that entertained me immensely. I can't say it was boring. After the introduction of the main characters, one by one joining the select group, and the preparations for the big confrontation, it's time for a comprehensive firefight, using a considerably large amount of dynamite, producing an immense rain of bullets and a Gatling gun as an apotheosis. The ruthless seven are being assisted by the motivated farmers with Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett), a resident who imposed herself the task to look for help, as the leading force.

"The magnificent seven" was an entertaining film. Afterwards I could feel that youthful, boyish desire again. Once again I wished I had grown up in that period as a tough cowboy. Or I'd be such a rebellious, dusty gunslingers who shoots his opponents calmly and coolly during a gunfight. Perhaps the end was a bit overdone and the different characters weren't extensively developed. But as a spectacle it was unsurpassable. If you're looking for untruths or plot holes, you'll probably find them I suppose. But you have to admit that they have remained faithful to the greatest lie used in almost all Westerns. And that's about the shooting qualities of a cowboy. In the real Wild West even the best gunslinger couldn't hit a solid, thick oak. Even if they were standing ten meters from it. The moment you start realizing that, you better stop watching Western movies.

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