Director Antoine Fuqua brings his modern vision to a classic story in The Magnificent Seven. With the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue, the desperate townspeople employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns. As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.
I'm so happy that filmmakers are still making westerns these days, even though they don't do as well at the box office. I guess people would rather see something set in space or someone that wears a cape than follow a group of outlaws in the old west, standing up to an army of bad guys. Luckily though, some of the biggest names in Hollywood have been making westerns, including Quentin Tarantino and The Coen Bros., which has caused a resurgence of new western movies as well as some remakes.
One of the best western films to ever grace the big screen was 'The Magnificent Seven', directed by John Sturges, which was a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 'Seven Samurai'. Since Kurosawa's film, there have been many iterations of that story. Both Kurosawa’s and John Sturges’ films are some of the better films out there in the world, so this remake has big shoes to fill. And it certainly did fill those shoes in a highly entertaining and explosive way with Antonie Fuqua ('Training Day') sitting in the director's chair.
Fuqua took along his fellow cohorts Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke to star in the film along with Chris Pratt, Vincent D'Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Martin Sensmeier to round out the seven. There is a mix of races here, which is much welcome and would have been true to the time, since in the old west, it was a grab bag of people conducting business. The story itself is more or less the same, where a bad man by the name of Bogue (Peter Saarsgard) and his army of men kill and threaten a town of people in order to mine for gold. When one of the townspeople named Emma (Haley Bennett), heads out to search for someone to fight Bogue, she runs into Sam Chisolm (Washinton) and Josh Faraday (Pratt) and asks them to help get rid of Bogue.
Soon enough, the two turn into seven and there are to be some ensuing epic shootouts of good vs. evil. I wouldn't say there is a very big emotional heft nor a big involving plot line here, which is completely fine. This remake of 'The Magnificent Seven' is straight forward and to the point with some wonderful and funny characters who all have excellent chemistry and are allowed their individual times to shine in this completely exhilarating and entertaing film with some of the best shootouts in cinema history.
It's great that Fuqua was on board here, because he is a big fan of the original film, and instead of using CGI effects, he used mostly practical stunt work and effects, which paid off greatly on the big screen. It felt real and not digitized for the modern age. The film still that "true grit" to it. The pacing is certainly excellent and the performances and dialogue are all top notch, as you would want to be part of this gang, even if you knew you were going to meet the maker. Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen would have been proud of this remake for sure. Plus, the late, great James Horner added in the original theme song for the film here, which brings back a ton of nostalgia and excitement.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
'The Magnificent Seven' in 4K UHD comes with a 4K Disc and a Standard 50GB Blu-ray disc, plus the digital download insert from Columbia Pictures. There are two other inserts included promoting other 4K UHD releases. The discs are housed in a hard, black, plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. A few trailers play before the menu start up.
Columbia Pictures rides in with the 4K UHD release of ‘The Magnificent Seven‘, which has a HEVC H.265 encode in HDR10 with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. This release has a digital download code as well as the standard Blu-ray version, in addition to the 4K disc. There is no 3D option here. This video presentation is incredible. Every nuanced detail and every rich color is perfect in 2160p. This 4K UHD upgrade is why we love the new format. Since most of the film was shot with practical effects and not CGI, the detail is very lifelike with every tiny detail showing up.
The town was fully built and constructed from scratch, so every splinter of wood and imperfection in the worn out buildings looks insanely good. When bullets fly through the buildings, you will be able to see the individual splinters fly out. Every puff of smoke from each gun blast is crystal clear and not pixelated either. The tall blades of grass show their textures as well. Closeups of the actor's faces reveal every individual beard hair, bead of sweat, and gory wounds that looks very realistic. The bigger explosions look excellent as well, particularly when all of the debris and wood flies everywhere without a hint of softness.
The old time wardrobe shows every thick stitch and loose thread from being roughed around in fights as well. Wide shots certainly give a big scope look to the old west with the pretty landscapes throughout, which never turn soft. The HDR is fantastic as well with vibrant colors that simply pop off screen. The green grass in the fields and background is deeply rich with many shades of green that differentiates every blade that turns a different color when light shines on it. This looks phenomenal. The blue sky lights up the screen as well, which gives way to the rustic brown, tan, and orange look of the west town.
Each color pops and provides a great look to this remake. There is a great layer of grain too, keeping a filmic look and not an overtly digital feel to this movie, which is excellent. Nothing fluctuates or turns heavy here. The black levels are very deep and inky and never crush, even with Denzel's suit. The red war paint on Red Harvest's face looks amazing in every scene as well. The skin tones are very natural too. There were zero instances of any banding, pixelation, aliasing, or video noise of any kind, leaving this video presentation with perfect marks.
This UHD release of ‘The Magnificent Seven‘ has an English: Dolby Atmos track, where I used a 7.1.2 Atmos speaker setup with the normal 7.1 surround and two overhead speakers, plus a subwoofer powering this comedy action soundscape. The standard Blu-ray version has a Dolby Atmos track as well. This is an excellent audio presentation and is a demo worthy western movie. Simply put, "WOW". You will be fully immersed in this film from start to finish.
Dialogue is expertly prioritized in all scenes and is always crystal clear and easy to follow, even with some of the accents and dialect with a well balanced and deep sense of field for every voice, no matter if they are yelling at a distance, or talking up close and personal. It all sounds great. The sound effects are simply outstanding and demo worthy if you ask me. The gun battles are fully immersive with guns blasting from every direction. The overhead speakers sound off with bullets flying over you, almost making you duck for cover. You'll heard glass breaking and falling down from the big gun towards the end of the film, which brings some heft to the sound. When big explosions happen, you'll hear the debris falling from above too. This is just flawless.
There is a ton of great directionality and a well balanced sound field that every gun shot feels new and fresh and not something from a stock sound. Each gun blast packs a punch from the low end as well with some great bass that never crosses into rocky territory. The score by the late, great James Horner is always sweeping and excellent, and also pays tribute to the original iconic score without drowning out any other sound element. There were no pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills of any kind here, leaving this audio presentation with excellent marks.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 8 Mins.) - There are four scenes here, all of which are definitely worth watching. The scenes show more interaction and bonding between the seven, which is quite funny, as well as how the town is dealing with the bad people running their homes and stores. There is even a piano number with Ethan Hawke's character.
The Seven (HD, 9 Mins.) - Cast and crew interviews discuss casting the roles and their character traits with some on set footage. Chris Pratt has a hilarious joke here at the beginning.
Directing The Seven (HD, 5 Mins.) - The cast and crew talk about director Antonie Fuqua and how great a job he did on the set and film. They talk about his visual style and his love of westerns.
The Taking of Rose Creek (HD, 6 Mins.) - This little extra discusses how the seven took over the town, which was a long shoot, where each actor got to show their gun and knife skills. Cast and crew interviews along with some on set footage and the stunt work can be seen.
Rogue Bogue (HD, 6 Mins.) - Peter Saarsgard and his villain character are the focus here, as cast and crew discuss his character and casting the right actor.
Gunslingers (HD, 5 Mins.) - The cast and crew talk about learning how to use the guns in the film with gun expert Thell Reed, who worked with John Wayne. On set footage of the cast learning to gunsling and twirl their guns can be seen here.
Magnificent Music (HD, 4 Mins.) - The crew discuss James Horner's score for the film and how he used the original music in this new film. It's sad, because Horner died before the film's release in a plane crash.
Trailers (HD, 10 Mins.) - Five trailers for other films by Columbia Pictures.
This remake of 'The Magnificent Seven' in 4K UHD is simply phenomenal. The movie is a ton of fun, with great performances, excellent filmmaking, and some of the best gunfights ever. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It's definitely re-watchable. It's pure entertainment. The video and audio presentations here are both demo worthy with excellent, rich colors and some of the best detail you will see on home video. The extras are fairly short, but are a ton of fun to watch as well. This is highly recommended.