The basic idea of seven outcasts being called upon to defend a small village from a roaming gang of bandits, and in doing so discovering a nobility and honour that had eluded them before, seems to have had considerable traction when it comes to film adaptations. Obviously it all started with Seven Samurai, the Akira Kurosawa classic that is unquestionably one of the finest films ever made, and there are a whole host of films that reworked the concept, directly or indirectly, across a variety of genres. The most high-profile and relevant of these is The Magnificent Seven, a 1960 version set in the Wild West, which probably came closest to matching the themes of heroism and sacrifice that the Japanese original so memorably addressed.

As enjoyable as that John Sturges movie may be though, it lacks Kurosawa’s visual panache and unflinching approach, but such is the strength of the concept that it still stands tall. The same can be applied to this most recent effort, which is a further step down in terms of effectiveness but remains hard to ignore due to the basic premise having the strengths of a modern-day fable. Antoine Fuqua demonstrates his reliable skill at giving genre films an arthouse shine with the visuals (he’s been doing it for over a decade with the likes of Training Day, Shooter, The Equalizer and Southpaw), as well as his proven ability to mount a memorable set-piece. A decent cast and stirring score also stand out, even though they all inevitably fall short of the standards set by their predecessors.

Antoine Fuqua is rapidly becoming one of the most stylish action directors working today8
A very strong cast, and a memorable final music score from composer James Horner8
Not quite as good as the 1960 original however5
Not even in the same league as The Seven Samurai4
There is something about this story that still manages to resonate somehow8
Bechdel Test passes
  • n/a
Bechdel Test failures
  • There is only one named female character who speaks
7Overall Score

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