Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt star in the updated Western
Credit: Scott Garfield

The outlaw heroes of The Magnificent Seven ride again in Antoine Fuqua’s remake of the beloved 1960 Western (itself a redo of Seven Samurai), this time with a more diverse lineup led by Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt.

But while the film came out guns blazing to open the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, early reviews indicate its aim isn’t always true. According to several critics, the new Magnificent Seven has star power and throwback charm but doesn’t offer much that’s original or innovative.

Read some excerpts below. The Magnificent Seven opens Sept. 23.

Owen Gleiberman (Variety)

“If Washington is the film’s sly center of gravity, Chris Pratt, as the hard-drinking reckless charmer Josh Faraday, who uses card tricks to distract his enemies into letting him shoot them, has its most combustible star quality. He had it in Guardians of the Galaxy too, and in The Magnificent Seven Pratt pops onscreen. He’s like a good guy with an outlaw inside — a gunman who can hardly wait to start shooting. Which makes the other five men seem like kernels who pop about halfway.”

Todd McCarthy (Hollywood Reporter)

“Other than the revisionist casting … nothing particularly original or fresh has been injected into this competently made, violent but uningratiating remake. … The cast is okay and does its job, but no more; without question, several, if not all, of the actors in the [original John] Sturges film oozed far more attitude, charisma and sense of savvy. As it is, there’s a a bit too strong a whiff of modern guys grooving on getting in the saddle and whipping out their weapons.”

Peter Howell (Toronto Star)

“What Fuqua’s Magnificent Seven lacks in originality it makes up for in personality, with his Training Day and The Equalizer compadre Denzel Washington earning his oats as an ensemble leader in his first western. … It all goes down much like you’d expect, with Fuqua commendably preferring practical stunts to CGI-rendered ones and nobody pretending that this is anything terribly new.”

Robert Abele (The Wrap)

“Fuqua was never going to recreate Sam Peckinpah’s arrhythmic, hot-sun bloodbaths, but even in the service of picturesque pop action, he’s regrettably all too content to follow the vogue for casually incomprehensible shooting and cutting, as long as a certain level of noise and physicality is maintained. … If remaking westerns is what it takes to get westerns made, then this The Magnificent Seven — which thankfully doesn’t forget to tip its 10-gallon to Elmer Bernstein’s famous score — will do for now until somebody else gets in the saddle. There’s certainly enough verve, and love for the genre, to help one get past its trouble spots, but you can’t help feeling the mercenary thinking behind rehashing this mercenary yarn.”

Mike Ryan (Uproxx)

“The new The Magnificent Seven is a master class in over-the-top acting and line delivery and, really, just everything. I want to see it again. [It’s] what Suicide Squad should have been: a ragtag group of scoundrels and malcontents, who band together to fight an even more villainous foe, who all seem to realize a) this is a big lark, and b) they have no chance of winning, but c) they do it all anyway with a wink and a smile. … The Magnificent Seven is a shoot ’em up Western. What you see is pretty much what you’re going to get. But, sometimes, that’s all a buckin’ desperado really wants.”

David Ehrlich (IndieWire)

The Magnificent Seven is a story of simple pleasures, and it gets the little things right. The skies are blue (not that muddy gray color you see in the revisionist Westerns), the score is prickly (Ravenous often comes to mind), and the shoot-outs — while infrequent — are enormous and staged with a more coherent sense of geography and progression that Fuqua has ever mustered before. For a movie that could have been a cheap photocopy of something that has already been done to death, this early fall surprise rides into multiplexes with the fresh sting of a new season.”

The Magnificent Seven
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