Twitter review: This film is hardly magnificent, and in my opinion it’s about 70 minutes too long.
Spoiler-free review: You might be excused for thinking that you were watching a live action version of a Bugs Bunny cartoon while watching the first 10 minutes of this film. Not necessarily because there’s any wacky things being done on the screen, but more because there are just SO many Western clichés on display one after the other. We have the villain of the film, who shows up with the obligatory mustache and goatee (sadly, he doesn’t twirl his mustache). We have townspeople being chased out of a church and threatened. We have a gunslinger who can take out a whole bar full of bad guys. We have a gambler who scoops up all the money left on the table when everyone else but him runs out of the bar. During the film, you’ll also have people being thrown out of windows, a showdown, people mining for gold… honestly, I had more fun watching Bugs Bunny Rides Again.
But for the sake of those who want to know what this film is about, the film is about Bogue, a rich guy who keeps mining the gold from a mine just outside a small town, who then threatens the townspeople to either sell cheap or be killed. One of the townspeople decides to hire a bounty hunter, Sam Chisolm, who is in another town having killed a bad guy who was running his own saloon. Chisolm then has to find some other people to work with him, effectively stumbling on some people and looking up an old friend or two along the way. Chisolm and his men confront Bogue’s men in the town, killing just about all of them, letting the corrupt sheriff to run off and tell Bogue the bad news. They then have one week to mount a defense before Bogue comes back into town.
I didn’t see the original Magnificent Seven, so I can’t compare this film to that one, but I’m fairly certain that film is better than this. This film drags on for far too long, and there are way too many instances where you know what is going to happen to a character well before that character is killed. The dialog is stunted, and frankly Bogue is a very boring bad guy. The only reason this film is getting as high a grade as it is is because of the action towards the end. Once the guns finally start blazing in earnest, there is some fun to be had. But if you’re watching this on DVD, you might want to skip the first 2/3 of this film to get to the action. You’ll save yourself a lot of time.
Spolier-filled review: Denzel Washington’s Chisolm is also a fairly one-dimensional character. The filmmakers try fixing this towards the end by having his stake in killing Bogue personal, since Bogue’s men were responsible for killing his family in another town. I would rather that this information had been revealed earlier on, and that it might have affected his judgement somewhat in how to deal with the oncoming small army Bogue had assembled. That would have brought more depth to the character. Similarly, the Indian character in this film is given ‘depth’ by his being able to speak a line or two in English (even though he told Chisolm that he could speak a bit of English) and by having a boring fight with presumably one of the people from his old tribe. It would have only taken a couple of minutes to add some proper depth to either of these characters, which would have made my caring if they live or die more so.