"The Magnificent Seven" (221007)
Credit: Contributed

It’s been 56 years since the original “The Magnificent Seven” first hit the big screen. The story’s about a collection of law men and renegades who band together to save a small town from a powerful, well-organized group of outlaws. In the earlier version, Eli Wallach led the outlaws and Yul Brynner organized the small town defenders. In the 2016 version, Peter Sarsgaard (Bogue) and Denzel Washington (Chisolm) play the leaders of the bad guys and good guys, respectively. The film opens with Bogue’s band riding into town demanding that the farmers sell him their land for almost nothing. They have two weeks to decide. Anyone saying no would have their land taken anyway, and anyone speaking out against the offer would be shot on the spot. When Chisolm, a federal marshal, arrives later with a warrant to arrest a local man, one of the town’s women, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett), approaches the marshal for help. Her husband was cold-bloodedly murdered for speaking out against the land grab. Chisolm decides to put together his own group to prepare for Bogue’s return.

Although “The Magnificent Seven” might have captivated viewers more than five decades ago, this type of predictable and moderately entertaining film doesn’t measure up by today’s standards. Just the idea of people riding around on horses, wearing the same clothes every day, shooting and killing multiple people in a single moment, and then going on as if they just swatted a few flies is just so implausible, nothing in this genre can be taken seriously.

The film does boast an all-star or, one might even say, a magnificent cast. Academy Award winner Washington stars. However, as his roster of films go, this one is not one of his more challenging roles. The most notable performance is by Sarsgaard whose sinister, depraved character is the deepest role in the film. And Sarsgaard plays it with a villainous authenticity. Veteran actors Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio round out the cast.

As to cast diversity, this film gets a “B+” and goes to great lengths to be inclusive. The seven includes an Asian-American and a Mexican-American and is of course led by an African-American. Antoine Fuqua, who directed the film, is Black. He, Washington and Hawke teamed up for “Training Day,” which resulted in Washington winning an Oscar for Best Actor.

“The Magnificent Seven” gets a Rent It rating. There’s not enough here to justify the time and expense of going to the theater.

It’s rated PG-13 for extended and intense sequences of western violence, and for historical smoking, some language and suggestive material. And at two hours and 12 minutes, it’s a long movie.