MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt.
Summer’s about over, so there’s only time for one more remake before the leaves begin to fall. It might as well be The Magnificent Seven, loosely based on the 1960 western classic that made action heroes out of Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner. That film was a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1956 Japanese film Seven Samurai. It would have been really something if this version had been more than just a lazy and sloppy action picture.
The plot could not be simpler. Bad guy/businessman Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) and his henchmen terrorize the town of Rose Creek. (An early scene has the villain’s minions burning down the local church.) The people cry out for help, hiring a bounty hunter (Washington) who will put together a ragtag group of mercenaries to come to the rescue. One by one the team is recruited. This version makes sure to check off all of the boxes for inclusion, including an Irishman (Chris Pratt), a battle-scarred war veteran (Ethan Hawke), a Korean knife fighter (Byung-hun Lee), a Mexican (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), a Native American (Martin Sensmeier) and a mountain man (Vincent D’Onofrio). All seven walk into a bar (seriously, they do, no joke!) and put together a plan to ready the town for the next visitation by Bogue’s bunch. The resulting melee is one of the most graphically violent skirmishes in recent memory with shootings, stabbings, hackings and other means of sudden death, accompanied by the occasional glib joke or wisecrack.
It’s really just your garden-variety summer blockbuster. Denzel Washington has worked with director Fuqua before (in The Equalizer and Training Day) and his gifts are used to good effect. It’s a good cast and everyone gives it their best, but the material is thin and predictable. The racial and ethnic diversity create a lively ensemble, but accepting the premise that these people could set aside differences and work alongside one another following the Texas Revolution and the Civil War moved the story into some kind of magical thinking parallel universe.
Defending the innocent is costly, and some of the seven will pay the ultimate sacrifice. All I sacrificed was 130 minutes of my life (150 minutes including ads and trailers), but I left the theater emotionally unmoved, having seen yet another movie that was content to simply keep things running, jumping, moving, and exploding. Dust off that old Nintendo NES because the Super Mario Brothers do it better.
Two halos: An entertaining time-waster.
Three pitchforks: Extreme violence for a PG-13 movie, with an exceptionally high body count; some casual racism; a few cuss words.
Do you have comments about this movie or movie review? E-mail your comments. (Your name and UM affiliation must be supllied in order for your comments to be posted.)
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
COMMENTS! Do you have comments about this movie or movie review?
E-mail comments. (Comments will be posted to our web site.)
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH.
near the Akron-Canton airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW ·
North Canton, OH 44720
Toll Free: 800-831-3972
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.
©2016 EAST OHIO CONFERENCE. All Rights Reserved.