Magnificent Seven (2016) - Good Shooting
| Westerns have much to atone for. In terms of film genres, they have a lot of blood on their hands for the way they have promoted racism, manifest destiny, and misogyny. The genre has en mass been making atone for that for many years, with the original Magnificent Seven being one of the strongest examples. That film tackles racism head on. Recent westerns take a 21st century view on the "wild west," often attempting to reverse the pervasive 1950s western ideology. The new Magnificent Seven film is a good example of this, as well as being a loving tribute to its namesake.
Like its predecessor, the new Magnificent Seven tackles racism directly. It also overtly attacks capitalism, which the original film only does subversively. Fuqua and Washington don't ignore the fact that they have cast this film with multicultural actors, or that those characters faced unique struggles in the environment they are placed in. Perhaps they make their heroes a little too perfect so that they can rise above all the adversity they face. They even place a strong female character in the centre of the story and invest her with agency in a way that westerns often haven't. The film goes to great lengths to make this a morality tale, calling out the exploitation of the big W west.
Fuqua brings his bombastic and straight forward style to his reworking of The Magnificent Seven. I don't often find he brings a great deal of originality to his work, and here is no exception. Here he shows us that isn't what is necessary. The great thing about the Seven, cribbed from the masterful Seven Samurai, is that it already has a great story. It practically tells itself. What he does bring is the energy and passion needed to make Seven a truly entertaining film.
He also makes his remake a tribute to the genre. The Magnificent Seven has all the hallmarks of a great western and they are served up in an enjoyable package that will have audiences cheering. Yes, you see most of it coming, perhaps that's partially because the story and its tropes are so classic. He sticks with his genre, doesn't upend it, just plays a good game while in it.
The Magnificent Seven remake is enjoyable and has a good message. Its analysis isn't complicated or robust but its sufficient and good fun. Fuqua shoots straight and gives us a fun ride.