With a little over a month until its release, the hype train for Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven has officially begun. The remake of the 1960 classic directed by John Sturges — which itself was a re-imagining of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 epic Seven Samurai — is sure to divide fans and film scholars alike (as most remakes are wont to do), but it’s surely earned some early favor thanks to its incredible cast. Denzel Washington (The Equalizer), Chris Pratt (Jurassic World), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil)… it’s like a who’s-who of Hollywood both young and old, plus that guy from Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Thanks to a pair of scintillating trailers, we’ve already been given a pretty in-depth look at what we can expect from The Magnificent Seven. The latest promo, however, offers a more abbreviated rundown of the titular players involved: Washington’s bounty hunter, Pratt’s gambler, Hawke’s sharpshooter, Byung-hun Lee’s (I Saw the Devil) assassin, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo’s (Cake) outlaw, Martin Sensmeier’s (Salem) warrior, and D’Onofrio’s tracker.
Like the trailers before it, the promo also emphasizes the lighter side of The Magnificent Seven, concluding with a fun exchange between Washington and Pratt. The screenplay, which comes from True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto and The Equalizer screenwriter Richard Wenk, will center around the town of Rose Creek (as the original did), wherein a desperate woman (Haley Bennett) turns to Washington’s bounty hunter, Sam Chisolm, for protection from the man who has seized control of it (Peter Sarsgaard). From there, Chisolm sets out to assemble a team of cutthroats, hired guns, and outcasts to help him win the battle to end all battles.
It will be interesting to see how The Magnificent Seven is received by audiences, and not just because it’s the latest offering of a genre that was all but declared dead and gone in the ’80s. While Quentin Tarantino has being doing his best to revive the genre all by himself with original efforts like Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight, the only big budget western remake to see a major release in the past few years was Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger, a critically-maligned box office disaster.
That said, Fuqua’s take on the genre classic has made some smart decisions in both its casting — adding a modern megastar like Pratt surely can’t hurt its mainstream appeal — and its slick, modernized presentation. Moreover, the director himself has enough great movies under his belt to make The Magnificent Seven a remake worth keeping an eye on.
The Magnificent Seven opens in U.S. theaters on September 23rd, 2016.