Home Page > Movies Index (w/mixed oldies) > > Movie Review

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Magnificent Story Repeat

The Magnificent Seven (2016) on IMDb

Plot Overview

A western tableau is interrupted by the BOOMs of a mining operation. A coach labeled Bogue Dispatch bringing its cargo from the mining company to the bank is unloaded (“This gold's heavy”). The workers line up to get paid. Then it returns (“Get that wagon back to the mine.”) Capitalism in action.

Rose Creek, 1879. A town meeting has convened in the house of worship to discuss the pending buy up of all their land. How are they to resist "progress"? Brother Philip suggests, “The Lord will provide.” The door bursts open and in walk some gun-toting tough hombres. “This is the Lord's house, no place for guns,” the preacher remarks, “There are women and children —” Bogue's enforcer McCann (Cam Gigandet) offers a rock bottom price for their land, and when local Matthew Cullen (Matt Bomer) complains out­side, McCann shoots him dead on the spot.

His distressed widow Emma (Haley Bennett) having taken a collection of all the town's holdings sets off on a fool's errand of recruitment. In Amador City she witnesses peripatetic Peace Officer Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) put paid to a wanted man (“That's Powder Dan.”) “Money for blood, a peculiar business” some­one says of his line of work, but Emma offers him “every­thing” the town of forty farmers had for him to save their bacon. He's not inter­ested … not until she names the villain: Bartholomew Bogue with whom Chisolm has some history. Bad blood is between them.

Chisolm rounds up six confederates (“We work for her”) for their questionable enterprise (“This is not going to end well.”) They come to town and over­whelm some twenty-two of Bogue's men he left to secure the place. How­ever, this was “just an opening skirmish. The real battle is still to come.” They figure they've got a week to prepare the towns­folk (“The spirit is willing, but we're not killers.”) One of the seven makes a crack about a fellow who fell off a five storey building. He was heard to remark at every floor he passed on the way down: “So far, so good.”


The initial confrontation was at the church, it's burnt skeleton dominates the town, it's belfry is to be their sniper's nest, and it surveys the scene of the coming battle (“This is our strong­hold. You funnel them all towards the church.”) Obviously, there is some religious significance involved here. The ruffian had given the towns­people a lesson from the dais and an object lesson. Little Billy at his request pulled a fistful of dust from a jar, representing the worth­less­ness of their land that the Bogue Mining Co. wanted to steal from them. This is in contrast to God's interest, as given in (Acts 17:26-27) “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him.” Perhaps God wanted the God-fearing farmers to live there. Maybe he doesn't agree with Bartholo­mew Bogue who said: “If God didn't want them to be slaughtered, he wouldn't have made them sheep.” And if God made them sheep, to follow him, perhaps he'll send some shepherding protection, too, whence the magnificent seven.

Billy's fistful of dust represents five fingers full, as the five in, (Acts 13:1) “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.” The other two would come from the preceding verses, Peter from Acts 12:18 and John Mark from Acts 12:25.

Sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) would represent John Mark who abandoned the ministry but later returned. Mountain-man Jack Horne (Vincent D'Onofrio) would represent Peter, the rock, who also provided spiritual leader­ship in his prayers. Native American (“The elders told me his path is different”) Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier) would represent either Saul or Barnabas of whom, (Acts 13:2) “the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work where­unto I have called them.” Sam Chisolm dressed all in black would represent “Simeon that was called Niger,” Niger being the Latin word for black (from which are derived several N–words).

Bogue remarked that History would little remember Rose Creek. I wouldn't be so sure about that. If you take Rose in its verb form, when the creek rose, we had Noah's flood, embedded now in the racial memory of man. Powder Dan would represent Noah whom the Book of Enoch says was an albino. Powder Dan was a bar tender; Noah was a vine­dresser. Of course, the analogy breaks down where Noah was righteous and Powder Dan was not. Chisolm pointed out where his shirt covered the scar of a bullet wound. There's a notorious incident recorded in Genesis 9:20-27 where Ham the son of Noah left his father uncovered. Sam's first name rhymes with Ham. His last name Chisolm seems to evoke three of the four sons of Ham: (Gen. 10:6) “Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut.” Cush in Hebrew means black, who migrated to Africa after the Flood. Ham's youngest son Canaan is evoked by Bogue's enforcer McCann. I'm just saying there seems to be a deep racial memory at play here.

Civil rights advocate Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) had complained of: “when your first name becomes ‘nigger’ and your middle name becomes ‘boy’ (how­ever old you are) and your last name becomes ‘John’.” In this movie Chisolm makes the color black respect­able and any man going by it in an N-form, such as “Simeon that was called Niger.” ‘John’ as in John Mark is respectable. And like­wise ‘boy’ as in Barnabas (Acts 4:36) “the son of consolation” is respectable. The racial and ethnic diversity of these magnificent seven in common cause “of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” rehabilitates words that in another context would be slurs. Chisolm's challenge in this story is to fight the battle that is before him, not one in the past.

Production Values

This western, “The Magnificent Seven” (2016) is a remake of John Sturges's “Magnificent Seven” 1960, which was itself a reformulation of Akira Kurosawa's “Shichinin no Samurai” (“The Seven Samurai”) 1954. Here it was directed by Antoine Fuqua. The screen­play was written by Richard Wenk and Nic Pizzolatto. It stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard, Luke Grimes, and Matt Bomer. In this most recent version, ethnic diversity determines its casting. The seven main men all fit their parts well. Sarsgaard is a one slimy villain, and Bennett has her moments as a strong frontier woman.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for extended and intense sequences of Western violence, and for historical smoking, some language and suggestive material. The rousing music was by James Horner. The Elmer Bernstein theme music was not used until the end credits started. This remake has superior cinema­tog­raphy, unique characters, and action. The town of Rose Creek, California is too pristine for the period, but it goes easy on tender eyes.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This one is a better than anticipated remake of “The Seven Samurai”, which allows the themes of diversity and cooperation to percolate below he surface. It has some wild and prolonged fight scenes. It's a good action western for modern times.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software, print.

King Jr., Martin Luther. Letter From Birmingham Jail. 1963. Print.