It is written in the Hollywood playbook that the personalities and speaking styles of action-film heroes have to be wry, cocky, self-amused. So completely confident about their badassery that nothing rattles them. No edge, no anxiety. Pretty much every threat is an opportunity for casual dispatch, gun-twirling and deadpan one-liners. We got this. If it gets any easier we could almost be bored.
Yes, this was the initial attitude of Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson and the others in John Sturges‘ The Magnificent Seven. But as that 1960 film wore on Sturges and the cast added darker layers: despair, guilt, bitterness, regret, fatalism.
Do the seven hotshots in Antoine Fuqua’s remake (Columbia/MGM, 9.23) develop in a similar way? Possibly, but you’d never know it from this trailer, which looks to me like more of the usual bullshit. Do you know why portions of this trailer suggest a videogame K-Mart version of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 original? I’ll tell you why. Like every other action director, Fuqua is looking to appeal to the megaplex dumbshits but more importantly to the Chinese.
Incidentally: I have two pairs of expensive Bowers & Wilkins headphones, and I’ve used both as I’ve watched this new Magnificent Seven trailer four times, and I still can’t understand every word that Haley Bennett says in this thing. Something about “he killed my husband” and “took everything we had” but her last two statements are slurry, half-whispered gibberish. Under duress Chris Nolan had Tom Hardy re-record his Bane dialogue for The Dark Knight; Fuqua needs Bennett to do the same.
From “Heroism Isn’t Machismo“, posted on 4.10.16: “No offense but I don’t trust Antoine fucking Fuqua — he lacks discipline, he’s popcorn, he’s cheeseball and he damn sure is no Akira Kurosawa or John Sturges. But I still feel a certain lust in my heart for The Magnificent Seven.”
Boilerplate: “With the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), the desperate townspeople employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns — Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee…swords!), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).
“As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.”