The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Review: The Magnificent Seven (2016)

24 Mar 17

Inane in the Membrane

For anyone who has difficulty grasping the notion of a Dead Film - the type of corporate-backed, committee-managed, inherently redundant "creative venture" that keeps grinding down audience expectations of cinema as an art-form - here's a textbook example. There is not one facet of this story that rings true even in the key of "exaggerated escapist myth". It parades racial diversity of casting as some proud claim to being progressive but, without irony, has the actors play shallow stereotypes. It's a hundred million-dollar remake nobody asked for that, also without irony, posits capitalist greed as the root of all evil. It's western aesthetic is never realized as anything but a gimmicky "themed" backdrop to cartoonish shoot-outs (of the bloodless variety that, with astonishing hypocrisy, allows even a Heroes-Kill-Best message this blatant to pass with a PG-13 rating in the trigger-happy States). Is it slickly produced? Oh, of course, and director Antoine Fuqua won't let us forget it for a second. He's proficient with the technical stuff but his inability to shake his actors out of cliche auto-pilot, his inability to stage a scripted scene as drama, and his inability to imbue frantic mayhem with any essential purpose beyond filling a frame makes this excruciating to endure. Nobody believed this incarnation would be a patch on the original film; it's as though the film-makers themselves took this idea to heart and simply went through the motions.