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Review: ‘The Magnificent Seven’

A lot of people will head to movie theaters this weekend to see “The Magnificent Seven” simply because of its A-list cast, which includes Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke, and some will go because they loved the original 1960 movie on which it’s based.

Personally, my memories of watching the original when I was younger aren’t reliable, so I felt like I was going into this remake as a total newbie. That said, I still caught plenty of differences between the original and this new Western, and those differences are sure to irritate diehard fans of the original. Taken as a standalone movie without any reference to the classic, 2016’s “The Magnificent Eight” is a fun, action-packed story full of interesting characters.

In the original, a poor Mexican town was being terrorized by bandits, but here, the old West is represented by an American mining town trying to find its footing after the Civil War. A greedy robber baron (Peter Sarsgaard) terrorizes the town’s residents because he wants their gold mines. When he kills several innocent townsfolk, a widow (Haley Bennett) and her friend (Luke Grimes) set off to hire gunslingers to protect the rest of them. They first recruit Sam Chisolm (Washington), a sworn bounty hunter, who then recruits Josh Farraday (Pratt), a gambler with a fondness for whiskey and explosives. Soon, their little army expands to include sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Hawke), tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), assassin Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).

Well-acted and with a story that lets you get to know the characters you’re watching, “The Magnificent Seven” builds up to a violent, action-packed showdown worthy of any Western I’ve ever seen.

If you’re thinking of making this a family outing, I’d use caution. Moms and dads will likely love it, but there is some profanity, scenes of suggestive nature, and lots and lots of violence. While there’s not much gore, there is a lot of death depicted onscreen. Young and sensitive children might find the violence disturbing.

Overall, “The Magnificent Seven” is certainly entertaining enough to make for a good date night at the theater.

The movie is rated PG-13 for extended and intense sequences of Western violence, and for historical smoking, some language and suggestive material. It opens Sept. 23 in theaters nationwide.