Less Than Magnificent

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I’m not a big fan of westerns, but I am a fan of Chris Pratt. So I was determined to give The Magnificent Seven a fair shot. Maybe I should have waited for Netflix.

The plot: A small town is threatened by a bad guy. A pretty girl recruits some help to fight him. Several celebrities in cowboy gear come to town to save the day. Nope, not Three Amigos. This is The Magnificent Seven (2016), which is a remake of The Magnificent Seven (1960), which is an Americanized version of Seven Samurai (1954).

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The cast: Denzel Washington (Glory, The Preacher’s Wife, St. Elsewhere), Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation, Guardians of the Galaxy, Bride Wars), Ethan Hawke (Training Day, Alive, Explorers), Vincent D’Onofrio (Men In Black, Jurassic World, Adventures in Babysitting), and three guys I don’t know make up the Seven.

They are helped by Haley Bennet (Music & Lyrics, Marley & Me) as the girl,

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and Peter Sarsgaard (Flightplan, Knight & Day) in an unconvincing role as the bad guy.

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Chris Pratt was humorous. By far the most engaging part of the film. But even his wit and charm couldn’t carry the very dry segments making up the middle of this more-than-two-hour movie. There are scenes of people just staring at each other for long stretches of time. Who’s about to get shot? Who knows! Make it me! Just get on with it!

For example: We see Vincent D’Onfrio ready to push the plunger on some dynamite. And we wait. And we wait. Then he starts counting down from four. And we wait. And we see the attackers coming. And we wait. Three, more attackers… Like four hours later, BOOM! he hits the plunger. But by then we’re all asleep.

Most of the middle of the movie is them psyching themselves up for the coming fight. This mostly consists of them drinking and telling boring stories while they are supposedly bonding. Yet you never quite feel like they ever truly connect with each other or with the audience. So when any character dies, you’re like: “Meh.” I only found one exception to this, but you’ll get no spoilers out of me.

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And on a final note: The trailer does a far better job of making this movie interesting than the movie itself does. Just watch that instead.

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