A revolt by villagers terrorised by a ruthless industrialist and his men results in several deaths, including Emma Cullen’s husband, Matthew. Determined to get revenge and free her village once and for all, Emma sets out to seek men who will help her. Finding honourable but tough bounty hunter, Sam Chisholm, and persuading him to join their cause, the recruitment begins, leading to a rag-tag team of seven unlikely heroes ready to take on the fight of their lives.
The Magnificent Seven (2016) – Director: Antoine Fuqua
Running Length: 132 mins
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke
‘The Magnificent Seven’ is a remake of the movie of the same name from 1960 which itself was a remake of the 1954 Japanese movie by Akira Kurasawa, ‘Seven Samurai’, a formula which often spells disaster from being watered down too much. Thankfully, this version of the tale manages to hold its own while providing plenty of nods to its source material. With a line-up that would make The United Colors of Benetton proud, it is good to see that each character is well-developed and although none of them are perfect, they all have good intentions and strive to do what’s right, even when it’s the hardest thing for them.
More modern touches include broaching the affliction PTSD, suffered by Civil War veteran, Goodnight Robicheaux (played by Ethan Hawke), who struggles to move on from the horrors he’s seen, ‘The Magnificent Seven’ is keen to show the effects that violence can have on anyone, even for those who have embraced it as a part of their lives. It is a shame that villain, Bartholomew Bogue (played by Peter Sarsgaard), has no other motivation than ‘money and power’ but, as the main draw of the film is the relationship between the seven protagonists, this is only a minor criticism. It is also good to see genuine, close friendships, people putting their differences aside to fight the good fight and there is a focus on facing personal challenges no matter how difficult they may be.
With plenty of nerve-wracking tension, fantastic action sequences, lots of realism and a wonderful score by composer James Horner who sadly passed away last year (and finished by Simon Franglen), ‘The Magnificent Seven’ manages to be a lot more than it needs to be and as a remake of a remake, having its own identity is something it has taken in its stride.
IS ‘THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (2016)’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
We highlight particular moments of violence below; there are a lot more than we have noted, however these moments should be ok for kids who are
Main villain, Bartholomew Bogue, is very intimidating. In one scene he threatens a young boy, he is clearly very scared and his father is forced to watch silently for fear of antagonising the unpredictable Bogue. He also kills people in cold blood and has no issue with killing innocent men, women and children. A woman who is running away from danger is killed when an axe is thrown and hits her in the back. No child deaths are seen, however there is a lot of shooting in the village where children could easily been killed in the crossfire.
Many scenes are set in brothels with women wearing very revealing outfits, they are seen to hang around men, massaging their shoulders or generally flirting with them and the word ‘whores’ is used a couple of times. While this may be clear to adults, these establishments mostly appear to be like saloons and these scenes are subtle enough for most kids to be unaware of what these places actually are.
There are numerous tense moments throughout the movie with men facing off against each other, there are several ‘quick draw’ fights were it is unclear who will be killed. These tend not to last longer than a few seconds but the music and acting ensure that these moments put you on the edge of your seat.
A body is seen displayed in an open casket outside a building, a sign with the word ‘THIEF’ is hung around its neck demonstrating the punishment that can be expected for this crime. This isn’t too gory but it is unexpected.
A man is shot in the head, when he collapses onto the floor, the wound is shown in relative close-up but is not gory. Immediately after this another man has a gun pushed up under his chin, he is very scared and tries to reason with the other man to save his life.
There are numerous stabbings during fights, especially with the character Billy Rocks whose special talents lie in knife fights. One particular scene has many killings with incidental characters being slashed and stabbed with no mercy, some blood is seen but the quick camera cuts ensure that this isn’t too graphic although one man is killed and pinned to a post by a knife, when the fight has finished, Billy pulls the knife out of the body causing it to collapse onto the floor.
A man who has a dead deer slung over his horse (which he has hunted and killed off-screen) is cut into, a piece of its flesh is handed to a man who has to eat it in order to gain the man’s trust. He does so without hesitation however he grimaces and is clearly unhappy with eating the raw meat. He hands the meat back to the man who takes it and calmly takes a bite himself.
While we have highlighted particular instances of violence, there are many more which are not as strong or very similar and therefore if children are ok with what we have mentioned, we believe they should be fine with the rest of the movie.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
The 2016 version of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ brings this classic tale firmly up to date without dumbing down the important message of humanity and the consequences of violence, despite the individual’s intentions. It may be somewhat politically correct and predictable in places but the quality of the story, acting, musical score and excitement of the action make this an excellent movie that stands apart from its predecessors.
Due to some adult themes and not-so child friendly action sequences, we feel this movie should be suitable for kids aged eleven and over.
- Violence: 4/5 (due to horses being used as a mode of transport, whenever they are involved in a fight, they are seen to get hurt and appear distressed although this is not dwelt upon. A man is unexpectedly killed when an axe is thrown and lands in his torso)
- Emotional Distress: 2/5 (more than one established character is badly hurt and/or killed, this isn’t overly distressing but kids may be upset if a favourite character doesn’t make it to the end)
- Fear Factor: 2/5 (numerous tense scenes, often ending in an incidental character being killed)
- Sexual Content: 1/5 (some mild innuendo and subtle references to brothels)
- Bad Language 3/5 (some infrequent mild to moderate cursing and blasphemy)
- Dialogue: 3/5 (a character who has a reputation for killing Native Americans is asked if he is ‘still collecting scalps?’. A character tells another that his mother was raped and that other family members were ‘strung up’)
- Other Notes: Deals with themes of self-sacrifice, putting aside ones differences, overcoming prejudice, PTSD, the effects and consequences of living a violent lifestyle, goodness, courage, accepting ones weaknesses, standing against a more powerful enemy, justice, revenge, loyalty and protecting the weak and vulnerable.
Words by Laura Record