Original v Remake Weekend – The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Nic Pizzolato, Richard Wenk (Screenplay) Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard

 

Plot: Seven gunmen in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Remake

 

Story: The Magnificent Seven starts as we see how Bartholomew Bogue (Sarsgaard) is terrorising a small village that he wants to mine for gold, the residents have 3-weeks to pay his demands. Emma Cullen (Bennett) leaves her town in search for men to help the town fight back, first port of call is warrant officer Chisolm (Washington) who looks to port together men.

The men recruited include hustler Josh Faraday (Pratt), outlaw Vasquez (Garcia-Rulfo), quick shot Billy Rocks (Lee), Goodnight Robicheaux (Hawke) veteran soldier Jack Horne (D’Onofrio) and lone native American Red Harvest (Sensmeier). The men arrive in town and look to train the villagers for battle as they look to shut down Bartholomew’s group once and for all.

 

Thoughts on The Magnificent Seven

 

Characters – Chisolm is a warrant collector that gets recruited to protect the small town, we see how he can bring together the group of different backgrounds to unite them to fight for the right thing. Faraday is the hustler and usually the one ready for a joke. Goodnight Robicheaux is the legend in the field an expert marksman but still dealing with the consequences of what happened in the war. Jack Horne is the experienced soldier that will surprise his enemies. Billy Rocks is the knives expert that will kill you with a knife before you can get a shot off. Vasquez is the outlaw on the run but gets Chisolm off his back to join the tea, Red Harvest is a native American joining the team giving him a purpose in life after going away from his tribe. The seven don’t get too much character development outside of Chisolm, Faraday and Goodnight. Bartholomew Bogue is the villain of the piece, he will take what he wants not caring who he steps on to get rich.

PerformanceGoing into the performance we will only look at the bigger names, Denzel is as always, a great lead for any movie and fits his role, Chris Pratt is likewise because we all know he can be a joker. Ethan Hawke gets his reunion with Washington and the two show they have great screen chemistry together. Peter Sarsgaard does seem to be a go to guy for a villain role and you can believe him even if what we get is nothing overly fresh. The performances throughout the film are good from everyone involved.

StoryThe story is one that we know has been told before, be it in the original of the same name or even the original before that in Seven Samurai. Small village must recruit fighters to take on savages, that is the core of the story, I did like how this time we seem to get men from different backgrounds bringing their own styles to the fight. I did also find this one easier to follow than the 60’s one but I also don’t think this story goes quite as deep.

Action/Adventure/WesternThe action is everything you have come to know about the action side of a western movie, plenty of shoot outs, while this is main just one giant one that last about 45 minutes, the adventure side comes from the training the characters in the village go through and how the 7 strangers unite to protect the town.

SettingsEach setting looks great and makes you feel like you are part of this world, without feeling out of place.

Scene of the Movie – One-eyed Jacks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I do feel the villain did better development.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to remakes we always get that one debate, did we need it? The answer I feel here is yes, the film need a makeover with a modern all-star cast with different cultural backgrounds and that all works here.

 

Overall: Enjoyable remake that could be enjoyed by the modern audience.

Rating

 

 

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Jake Gyllenhaal Weekend Southpaw (2015)

logooDirector: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Kurt Sutter (Screenplay)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Oona Laurence, 50 Cent, Skylan Brooks, Naomie Harris, Victor Ortiz, Beau Knapp

Plot: Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Left Hook to the Heart

Story: Southpaw starts with Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) defending his Light Heavyweight Title at Madison Square Gardens. When a wannabe challenger Miguel ‘Magic’ Escobar (Gomez) starts pushing Billy into a fight Billy wants to shut him up by demanding his manager Jordan Mains (50 Cent) to make the match happen.

When his wife Maureen (McAdams) is noticing him getting punch drunk from his matches she wants him to step back to spend time with his daughter Leila (Laurence) but Jordan is pushing three more fights.

When Escobar pushing Billy too far at a charity event an all out brawl ensues leading to a gun shot killing Maureen. This is just the beginning to the downward spiral Billy takes as he loses his money, his team and most tragic to him custody of his daughter.

We now watch how Billy must rebuild his life, career and reputation by turning to trainer Tick Wills (Whitaker), cleaning up his substance abuse to get his daughter back.

Southpaw gives us the traditional sports story of redemption but also offers up a fresh look at how our hero Billy reaches his redemption. We get a much more personal battle for Billy to go through which leads us to see how sports stars can lose everything. I will have to question how the story gives us thin sub-plots where we look at certain characters have things happen and everything just get done off camera, be it how the judge just seemed to go have your kid back, Hoopy story gets completely looked over and the promoter who could have been corrupt just getting ignored. On the sports side everything is almost perfect so I can’t complain but in the end certain things end up just getting left to us to go yeah that is ok.

Actor Review

Jake Gyllenhaal: Billy Hope is the light heavyweight champion of the world on top of the world but everything comes crashing down when his wife is killed. He loses his belt, his home and his daughter leaving him no choice but to clean up his act and regain the life he once had through hard work. Jake gives us yet another brilliant performance where he could easily get an Oscar nomination.billy

Rachel McAdams: Maureen Hope is the wife and whole world to Billy, she supports him in every fight while arranging his life. She wants Billy to retire or at least take a break because his style is going to leave him punch drunk. When she is killed the life of her family starts to fall apart. Rachel gives a good performance even if it is only a supporting role.maureen

Forest Whitaker: Tick Wills is a boxing trainer who reluctantly gives Billy a job, a chance to train to prove he is committed before letting him in the ring to learn a new style of fighting that plays to the defensive side Billy isn’t used to using. He has his own past which has lead him to be like Billy giving him the chance to redeem his own defeats in his past. Forest gives us a great performance as the man with a troubled past who gets a chance of redemption.ticks

Oona Laurence: Leila Hope is the daughter of Billy and Maureen who ends up going into custody of family services when Billy can’t handle his life without his wife. She is the motive behind everything Billy does as she is the only thing he really wants in life. Oona gives a brilliant performance from such a young starlet.leila

50 Cent: Jordan Mains is the promoter and manager of Billy who keeps trying to make his fighter continue fighting, he has a questionable motives and once Billy loses everything he teams up with the enemy Escobar. 50 Cent gives us a good supporting role as the promoter we are not sure about through the film.

Support Cast: Southpaw has a supporting cast that offer sub-plots that don’t completely get dealt with but each one does find a way to motive our leading characters.

Director Review: Antoine Fuqua Antoine gives us a brilliant sporting drama that shows how hard redemption can be to achieve.

Action: Southpaw keeps most of the action in the boxing ring giving us the real time fight scenes that all come off real throughout.

Drama: Southpaw brings us into a personal lives of the Hope family as we see them go through tragic events before having to grow and power through them.

Sports: Southpaw makes all the boxing look realistic from the moment they enter the ring.

Thriller: Southpaw keeps you wondering what will happen from the start to finish.

Settings: Southpaw creates all the settings that all work perfectly for the moments in the film from the fall from the top to the rise back.

Suggestion: Southpaw is one of the best films this year and should be watched by all. (Watch)

Best Part: Boxing all looks realistic.

Worst Part: Sub-plots do get forgotten.

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: You could get a few

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: Jake could get an Oscar nod.

Box Office: $35 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 4 Minutes

Tagline: Believe In Hope.

Trivia: Antoine Fuqua had no money to pay James Horner to compose the film due to the films short budget. However, James didn’t care as he loved the idea of the film and decided to do it for free.

Overall: Brilliant sporting drama that is all about redemption

Ratingcard

The Equalizer (2014)

logoDirector: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Richard Wenk (Screenplay) Michael Sloan, Richard Lindheim (Television Show)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloe Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Haley Bennett, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo

 

Plot: A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Modern Vigilantism

 

Story: The Equalizer starts by showing Robert McCall (Washington) going about his daily routine in his OCD ways. Robert works in a hardware factory called Home Mart where he is loved by the fellow employees. Robert has a very secretive past that the fellow workers try to figure out about Robert also has a friendship with prostitute Teri (Moretz) who he ends up meeting in a late night diner every night.

After Teri gets beaten up by her pimp Robert decides to take a stand by trying to save her, but when the deal doesn’t happen Robert takes matters into his own hands and making enemies with a Russian mob. The Russians send in Teddy (Csokas) a fixer to investigate what happened and after figuring out it wasn’t a rival gang they start looking elsewhere. Robert finds himself turning into a vigilante and trying to stop corrupt cops but the investigation that involves looking for Teri could put the Russians on a path with Robert. Robert having completed his two good deeds Robert goes onto returning to his normal life with little excitement.

Robert continues his good deeds after the store he works at is robbed but he is unaware that the Russian’s are looking for him. After he finds out about the Russian’s Robert decides to take them down along with the corrupt cops once and fall all using his connection with the agency.

The Equalizer takes us into a story that is easy to follow but hard to believe as we follow the one man crusade against a whole mob. The pace of the film comes off nicely as certain other films with a similar subject had slow patches which lost the intense level they could have had. This keeps everything running by showing both sides knowing and keeping Robert’s past hidden long enough to leave us wondering. My negative about this film is how Robert managed to take on all those people without suffering any injuries when we know how ruthless the Russian are. In the end this is an extremely watchable film that could be enjoyed by all the fans. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Denzel Washington: Robert McCall quiet man who is loved by the people he works with but keeps everything about his personal life very secretive, but when he befriends a young prostitute he gets beaten up by her pimp and Robert returns to his former life taking out the Russians. Denzel gives a good performance in the leading role dominating the screen every time he is on it. (8/10)

 robert

Marton Csokas: Teddy ruthless fixer for the Russians who ends up entering into a cat and mouse battle for one up man ship against Robert. Marton makes for a good villain but in the end comes off very much generic. (6/10)

teddy

Chloe Grace Moretz: Teri prostitute who gets beaten up that leads to the start of Robert’s vigilante run against the Russians. Chloe does a good job in the supporting role but could have been used for a longer time. (6/10)

teri

Support Cast: The Equalizer has a supporting cast of work colleagues who don’t know about Robert’s secret but who he keeps safe. It also has the corrupt cops working for the Russians who get what is coming to them.

 

Director Review: Antoine Fuqua – Antoine does a good job directing this vigilante thriller. (8/10)

 

Action: The Equalizer has good combat scenes that are more about flashy moves to win quickly. (8/10)

Thriller: The Equalizer pulls you in to what will happen next but slowly paced before big final fight. (7/10)

Settings: The Equalizer uses the settings well to show how each character enters into different worlds to their own normal one. (7/10)

Suggestion: The Equalizer is one for the action fans to enjoy. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Final showdown.

Worst Part: Seems a bit too much for one man to do.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final showdown.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $192 Million

Budget: $55 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

Tagline: What do you see when you look at me?

Trivia: Actress Chloe Grace Moretz fought for the role of Teri when she found out it was written for someone of the age of 24. She presented herself so well, the director immediately made the change.

 

Overall: Good Action Thriller

Rating 75