I should start by saying that my expectations for this movie were pretty low going in. I am a huge fan of the original Magnificent Seven and an even bigger fan of Seven Samurai, the film which Magnificent Seven is based on. The trailers for this remake made the film seem like a generic action movie. In all honesty, I couldn't have been more wrong. The film works hard to stand on it's own. It plays more like a re-imagining than an actual remake. Despite big changes throughout the film, what makes it a Magnificent Seven movie is still intact. There is a town that needs to be protected and there are seven gunslingers who answer the call. Unlike the original, this version focuses a lot more on the action and it does it well. Director Antoine Fuqua has a certain style when it comes to filming action and it is on full display in this film. It's fast and heavy but never overwhelming. It is also never confusing, you always know who is who and what side has the upper hand ant any given time. Despite looking like a Western, the film has a very modern feel.
The cast and characters are what really shine in this film. The characters are also the biggest departure from the original. Fuqua has put together a diverse cast, doing well to mix in characteristics from the original seven and combining them with completely new ideas. The actors play off each other really well and the movie gives them plenty of screen time to develop their team dynamic. Each character has their moment and each adds something interesting to the team as a whole. There has also been more thought put in to each character's back story than the original. While the majority of the original gunslinger's origins were left purposefully vague, we get a lot more insight in to this version of the seven. As a remake, It is something that hurts more than helps the main character played by Denzel Washington. In the original, you knew very little about Yul Brynner's back story and his motivations for helping defend the village was not personal. He was a lone gunslinger who could not ignore a person in need. He was the ideal bad-ass cowboy and that was important as the leader of the seven. While his current counterpart is motivated by a personal vendetta and is not really an integral part of putting the team together. With action being the focus of the film, the actual putting together of the team suffers the most. The gathering of the heroes has always been my favorite part of these types of films. Although it's very much in the movie, it does not spend much time on it as the creators seem more eager to have the team come together quickly.
All in all, it is a solid action film. The cast does it's part to make you care when the bullets start flying. My only real issues come from it being remake and even then it gets most of it right. As a Western, It is pretty hard to say. The movie does not quite feel like a Western but to be fair, the original did not either. So if you are in to spinning revolvers, cookie cutter bad guys, bad-ass good guys, and an all around good time, this one is worth the price of admission.
All in all, it is a solid action film. The cast does it's part to make you care when the bullets start flying. As a Western, It is pretty hard to say. The movie does not quite feel like a Western but to be fair, the original did not either.