I haven’t seen much Westerns nor did I watch the original 1960.
But I have seen quite a lot of Pinoy action movies.
Why am I saying these? It’s because director Antoine Fuqua’s latest film, “The Magnificent Seven” has all the formula for a blockbuster Pinoy action flick. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for his remake of the Western classic or not, but if you ask me, it makes the film quite engaging for some local moviegoers.
First of all, “The Magnificent Seven,” despite opening the 41st Toronto Film Festival, didn’t impress quite a lot of people mainly because it lacked the “oomph” that made the original film stand out. Well, that could be blamed, in part, to its plot.
It was a novel, interesting, and compelling plot decades ago but we’ve seen so many action films of similar theme that it no longer gives anything new. If anything, Chris Pratt as Josh Faraday was fun to watch.
The movie is basically Suicide Squad for me. Did I like it? Yes.
Despite its negative reviews, I felt that “The Magnificent Seven” was a fun watch. What it lacked in depth in characters was made up for by the entertaining action sequences. There wasn’t much punch in the dialogues but there was adequate drama to push the material forward. It helped that Denzel Washington did a good portrayal of bounty hunter Sam Chisolm. Haley Bennett as the feisty Emma Cullen was also good.
Here’s a quick summary
Rose Creek is a Mexican town taken over by a ruthless baron, Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Saarsgard). He wants the townspeople to sell him their land at a price that’s absurdly low. The townsfolk, a religious and hardworking group, refuses and when a few men tried to stand up to the invaders, a massacre ensues.
One of the casualties was Emma’s husband. So she looked for help and found it in Chisolm, who has just killed a bartender and a few other men. She tried to hire his services with her entire town’s possessions as payment, which was literally close to nothing. Chisolm refuses but she then gives a speech about seeking righteousness but settling for revenge. She just wanted the bad guys to leave them alone so they can live in peace.
Something inside made Chisolm accept the offer (we’ll eventually find out that the mission is more personal to him), so he assembles a team of bandits–gunslingers who can literally shoot anything even without looking.
These guys aren’t necessarily looking to save Rose Creek; they just want the reward.
They ride into town and tries to get the bad guys to leave. But they won’t budge, so they send Bogue a message by decimating his entire squad. Realizing that the ruthless industrialist will retaliate, they start training the men on how to fight. It seems like a lost cause but they miraculously succeeds.
But not without a few casualties.
I’ve spoiled enough, so I’m going to leave out the identities of the fallen comrades. Just know that they didn’t go down without an explosive fight.
The movie is actually quite nostalgic.
I genuinely enjoyed the movie just because it reminded me of my childhood. We used to watch a lot of movies where the hero can literally take on an entire group of villains with just one gun. And he never misses. He can even shoot three guys behind him in amazing accuracy.
The movie’s seven saviors were impeccable shooters. Not one bullet is wasted as they hit every single target.
I used to think that it only happens in Pinoy action flicks, which I find absurd, but surprise, surprise.
The similarities don’t end there. The plot is all too familiar. Revenge is a compelling force in any action flick. A family member murdered can push someone on a kill mission, even if it takes thousands of miles or several years. I’ve seen a lot of Bong Revillas and FPJs do this.
At first, it was a little confusing as to why a bounty hunter like Chisolm would agree to take on a kill mission with a measly payment but we soon find out that this was more personal for him. It’s also interesting how he’s able to convince others, with the exception of his long-time acquaintances, to join him in his new job.
Again, very similar to our local heroes who have unbelievably loyal sidekicks whose intentions were not always clearly depicted in the movies.
Then there’s the good-always-prevail-despite-impossible-situations. This is not a bad thing, actually. However, if it’s not properly addressed in the story, it can come off as absurd. The townspeople were clearly useless when it comes to guns; they can’t shoot a target. But come D-Day, they pulled through. Even though a lot of them died. But still, hats off to these overnight gunslingers.
I would’ve loved to see more character development in each bandit because this is how I gauge a good ensemble movie. But, just like Emma Cullen, I’ll take an enjoyable gunslingin’ action for now.
Now, I think I’m going to try and watch that original.
Photos courtesy of Columbia Pictures
The Magnificent Seven
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk
Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Hayley Bennett, Lee Byun-Hung, Vincent D’Onofrio, Peter Sarsgaard, Luke Grimes, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Matt Bomer