Screen » Film Reviews

TIFF 2016: Bad Guys vs. Badasses. Guess Who Wins in The Magnificent Seven

by

Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington


"Hey, we're all fucking magnificent! So, we've got that going for us," said actor Chris Pratt following the Sept. 8 world premiere of The Magnificent Seven at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Aside from being f-ing hilarious, Pratt is also right.

This big-budget blockbuster is bound to ride off with a box office ransom when it hits North American screens in late September. And how could you not love this film? Yes, it's an homage to two classic films: the 1960 film of the same name, which starred Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen; and the source material, Akira Kurosawa's 1954 Seven Samurai. But this Magnificent Seven is a film for its time, featuring a racially diverse cast that never aims to do anything but please an audience jonesing for a high-quality action film.

The film opens with a bad guy... a really, really bad guy... taking a torch to a church as he threatens an entire village (and he just gets meaner). Do the good guys win here? Of course not. There are no good guys in The Magnificent Seven. Only really, really bad guys and some badasses who kick their asses.

Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua
"The story is timeless," said director Antoine Fuqua following the screening. "What makes our movie relevant? This cast makes it relevant. We just wanted to make a good movie together. Honestly, I just wanted to see Denzel Washington on a horse. That would be an event."

And Washington rides onto the screen magnificently, delivering that Oscar-winning grimace with full flair. Joining him are Pratt, Ethan Hawke, the always-watchable Vincent D'Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Martin Sensmeier. Peter Sarsgaard is the villain.

This is Fuqua's third film with Washington, including the latter's Oscar-winning performance in Training Day, which co-starred Hawke.

"When you get to work with Mr. Washington and Mr. Hawke, you fall in love with making movies all over again," said Fuqua.

"Which is why we follow you anywhere. Anywhere," Washington told Fuqua. "What movie are you making next?"