We’ve reached peak remake, ladies and gentlemen. The first trailer for Antoine Fuqua’s (The Equalizer, Training Day) remake of John Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven, which was, itself, a remake of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, was released today. As tempted as I might be to roll my eyes and scoff and the idea of a remake of this classic western (which I like less than the original feudal Japanese story), I have to admit that it looks fun as all hell.
The movie finds Fuqua reteaming with Denzel Washington, who earned a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Training Day, to tell the story of a small town besieged by outside interests wanting to do away with the settlement for their own good. Whatever, you know the story, right? That’s not what’s important here.
No, what’s important is just how much damn fun this movie looks like it’s going to be. Washington co-stars with the likes of Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke (who co-starred in Training Day), Vincent D’Onofrio, and Peter Sarsgaard for this action packed shoot em up, which, judging from the trailer, everyone appears to have had a blast making.
That should translate well for the movie. Honestly, there’s not much more to the story that Kurosawa or Sturges haven’t already done. (Hell, even Stephen King mined the base story for the fifth book in his Dark Tower series, Wolves of the Calla.) If there isn’t much you can add to the tale that hasn’t already been told, then your only choice is to go balls out and make it a blast.
And it seems to be doing that. Pratt does his coy badass thing, complete with that trademarked smirk that sets so many hearts aflame, while Washington rides around like a badass to rally his posse of miscreants and outcasts to protect the town. There’s gunplay, horse chases, explosions, and even a goddamn mini-gun.
I’m not expecting this to ever be high cinema, and that should be perfectly fine so long as Fuqua never tries to make The Magnificent Seven anything but a two-hour blast of justice and revenge. Fuqua is more than capable as a director to accomplish this goal. As he proved with The Equalizer, he knows how to take an older, dated property and update it with modern sensibilities without ripping apart the seams too terribly much.
Seeing as it’s being released in September, it should be a nice segue from the summer blockbuster season into the fall/winter Oscar bait season by giving us the best of both worlds. The late year dramas that populate theaters could stand to take themselves a little less seriously, while the summer movie extravaganzas could use a healthy dose of artistry.
From all appearances, this takes the best of both worlds. We’ll have to wait and see, of course, but if the movie itself is even half as much fun as this trailer presents then we’re in for a real treat come autumn, and I, for one, cannot wait.
The Magnificent Seven opens everywhere on September 23.