Everyone loves to talk
about how the western’s dead and buried, but we’ve actually seen a major
resurgence in the genre over the past few years. The Salvation, Slow West, The
Hateful Eight, The Revenant and, best of all, Bone Tomahawk all offered something
new within the well-worn conventions, typically (but not exclusively) using
the end of the era to produce a powerful, wistful meditation on changing times.
On the back of all
that, The Magnificent Seven looked like a massive comedown. Here was a remake
of a smash hit of the genre’s original run with an overbearing focus on action
(complete with shoe-horned in machine gun) and a bunch of 21st
century banner names picked to appeal to the widest possible audience. The genre had just
clawed back its respectability, and now all that was going to be overshadowed
by one heavily-marketed Hollywood dud.
In the end, however,
the result isn’t that at all. The Magnificent Seven is a fine film, a fun time
at the movies that offers enough good to outweigh some rather lumbering negatives.
Just weeks after an God-awful Ben-Hur remake, it looks to be positively
Kurosawa. Here’s fives Ups and
five Downs from The Magnificent Seven.