And no, I'm not talking about the three sequels, or the '96 Woman's gymnastic team. I'm referring to the upcoming Western blockbuster which will attempt to remake the classic film The Magnificent Seven. Considered to be one of the greatest Westerns of all time, the 1960 film leaves some pretty large shoes for the upcoming flick to fill.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the film, it all began with a 1954 Japanese film titled The Seven Samuri. The basic story is that a town is terrorized by a vicious gang, and it's up to seven insanely good warriors, or gunslingers, to protect the innocent townspeople. Before I go any further, check out the trailer for the latest film that came out this morning!
I still have my reservations as to this film (remakes tend to leave a bad taste in my mouth), but this film was pretty dadgum awesome. And something that this film will seem to do is be a little lighter than the recent Western films...I'm looking at you, Hateful Eight. This almost hearkens back to the classic westerns, in my view.
But I'm not here to pick apart the trailer, or try to guess as to what's going to be in the film itself...I'm here to discuss the Seven themselves. Back in 1960, Mag 7 was the ultimate action film, chock full of war film and Western stars alike. The 2016 version will be no less stocked with powerhouse actors. Let's take a look at who's playing what, shall we?
Character: Chris Adams/Sam Chisolm
Actor: Yul Brynner/Denzel Washington
Two of the greatest actors of their time, both Denzel and Yul are known for their tough-guy roles. Brynner held a Tony and an Oscar for the role the King in The King and I (both stage and film) and Washington has won two Oscars in Glory and Training Day. From what I can figure so far, Chisolm is a bounty hunter/mercenary, which is extremely similar to Adams (a professional gunslinger). Both men have a gravitas to them when they're on-screen. In short, when they show up, everyone pays attention.
Character: Vin/Josh Farraday
Actor: Steve McQueen/Chris Pratt
This character (both original and remake) is as if the actor was placed in the Old West. Vin is a smart aleck, quick with a gun, and cocky. From what we know of Chris Pratt, and what we saw in the trailer, the same appears to be true for Farraday. The one difference is Farraday's love of explosives. We've already seen Pratt skyrocket with films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World, and though McQueen never won an Oscar, he starred in some of the greatest films of the 50's and 60's.
Actor: Horst Buchholz/Manuel Garcia-Rulfo
Horst Buchholz really only had one great film: this one. But he was impressive, playing a young, romantic hothead. Garcia-Rulfo is very unknown to me, and I couldn't find much about him, but he certainly has the looks to play a Chico-esque character. Just a side note, the original character could catch fish with his bare hands, so that gives you an idea as to how fast this gunslinger is.
Character: Lee/"Goodnight" Robicheaux
Actor: Robert Vaughn/Ethan Hawke
The tragic hero of the group, Lee was one of the greatest gunslingers in the West, and a real dandy. But having no living enemies left him hollow inside. Robert Vaughn, a perennial actor with many impressive films under his belt played this anti-hero to perfection. Looking at the cast of the new film, the sharpshooting Robicheaux played by Ethan Hawke seemed to match up pretty well with Lee. Hawke has been performing for decades now, and has the acting chops to pull off this sort of character.
Character: Britt/Billy Rocks
Actor: James Coburn/Lee Byung-hun
This is where things get interesting. Britt is not a gunslinger. Instead, the Coburn character is a knife-thrower. If you notice in the trailer, guess who also has a penchant for knives...Byung-hun's Billy Rocks. He's labelled as an assassin, but hopefully this character won't be an homage to Jackie Chan in Shanghai Noon. Looking back to the original, Britt is tough and quiet, perfect qualities in a professional hit-man.
Character: Bernardo O'Reilly/Jack Horne
Actor: Charles Bronson/Vincent D'Onofrio
In the original, O'Reilly is Irish-Mex, which provides an interesting dynamic with the Mexican town the Seven are sent to save. That setting has seemingly changed to a more American locale. However, we see Vincent D'Onofrio, known for his roles in Daredevil, Law and Order, and Full Metal Jacket. Bernardo is a rough, quiet man, used to the outdoors. From what we know of Jack Horne, a trapper, this seems to match up pretty well.
Character: Harry Luck/Red Harvest
Actor: Brad Dexter/Martin Sensmeier
Allow me to apologize for the poor quality of Red Harvest's image. There wasn't too much of him alone in the trailer, and he was firing his bow for most of that. Once again, we have an unknown quantity in Sensmeier, but he certainly looks amazing. In the original, Luck was a friend of Chris (Brynner), so we could still see that "old pal" sub-plot being carried out with Red Harvest.
Character: Calvera/Bartholomew Bogue
Actor: Eli Wallach/Peter Sarsgaard
Now we come to our villain. As I said before, the location has changed, but the bad guys still resemble one another. Eli Wallach played one of the best Western villains I've ever seen, but knowing Sarsgaard's track record, I feel confident that he can deliver. And hey, he's got a Gatling gun...how cool is that?
To be honest, it's an amazing cast, one that rivals the original. And we have seen that films like True Grit can both provide an amazing remake, but also a great Western. It's a genre that's dying out thanks to thrillers and comic book films, but when you have a story that's as timeless as this, with the actors that this film has, I think that The Magnificent Seven has a strong chance at success. I suppose we'll have to wait and see come September!
So, what did you think about the trailer? What are your thoughts on the genre in general, or remakes for that matter? Let me know in the comments, or better yet, write your own article about it!