I am an ardent fan of the cinematic arts. Although I have certain genre preferences, I don’t let that stifle my curiosity and close myself to different flavors of entertainment. That said...I am a huge fan of science fiction, super hero and action movies! Please visit my other blog The Boxed Office for reviews, exclusively, on these types of movies.
What can be said about the quality of Denzel’s acting that has not already been said? He seems to ignore his own age and continue to astound with quality acting giving what we all have come to expect from him exercising his craft. Taking the lead here is just another notch in his lengthy habit of meeting expectations.
Chris Pratt put himself on the map with Guardians of the Galaxy and continues to deliver with each role he takes. This role is no exception as he mixes his style of comedic drama with the western genre to bring us Josh Faraday, a gambler that makes his own luck in a world decidedly unlucky.
Ethan Hawke is Goodnight Robicheaux, a man with a past rooted in the Civil War that continues to define him as he tries to move on. Hawke plays this role well dangling the mystique of his character in front of us before delivering a very human affliction that brings the character full circle.
Vincent D’Onofrio is the frontier tracker Jack Horne and although he is a man of few words surrounded in mystery and fear, when he does speak it captures your attention to the exclusion of all else, showcasing why he is such a great actor.
Peter Sarsgaard is the villainous Bartholomew Bogue, a role he seems born to play as he is very good at “bad.” Granted, it doesn’t take much to be the bad guy (one would think) but not everyone seems able to pull it off and the fact this film is a period piece just makes his brand of villain all the more interesting.
A small mining town is besieged by the nefarious intentions of Bogue to take over the mine and by extension, the town. When his actions spurn the resistance of the townspeople getting one in particular killed, the wife of this brave soul (Haley Bennet) seeks justice…but will settle for revenge.
In her travels to find someone wiling and able to defend the town against Bogue, she happens across a man named Chisolm (Washington). Unbeknownst to anyone, Chisolm not only has a past familiarity with Bogue, but after staunch persuasion, is willing to help the town .
To help the town Chisolm needs the help of some very gifted men, the first of which he recruits is Faraday (Pratt). Knowing exactly who he wants to recruit, he and Faraday set out to gather the rest of the “seven” with Faraday bringing in Robicheaux (along with his partner Billy Rocks…played by Byung-hun Lee) while Chisolm recruits Vazquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo).
With five assembled, they actually fail initially to recruit Horne, but he soon comes around just in time for the recruiting of their last and unlikely member Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). With all seven assembled, it’s time to teach the town how to defend itself and ready it for the invasion of a small army.
What follows next is a magnificent display of bullets, knives, death and mayhem…western style.
I don’t much remember the original (western) version of this film or the original samurai version so I was not burdened with watching this film while subconsciously making comparisons. I took in what was presented and found it to be a very entertaining way to spend an afternoon.
Although I kinda felt the assembling of the seven was a bit rushed, especially in the case of Red Harvest (like what really was his motivation to even join), I felt the characterizations of the different character’s personalities and how they interacted with each other really brought some depth to the film.
It was the classic formula of bad guy terrorizes town, town gest heroes to help, heroes s stop the bad guy. You really can’t mess that up…all you have to do is add your own flair and style to it and this film did that.
There were no Oscar performances here, but there was a lot a fun. It wasn’t the best film ever made, but it certainly wasn’t the worst film either. It did just what the formula it followed should have, with a few surprises here and there, and shot up three and a half (3.5) cinnamon sticks in my cup of tea.
Rating 3.5/ 5