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The folks in the town of Rose Creek are badly in need of help. Ruthless businessman Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) has big plans for their land and wants them gone — even if he has to resort to murder and mayhem to achieve his goal. And he has plenty of thugs on his payroll to back him up.

One of the few people with the guts to stand up to Bogue is Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett), who has suffered a bitter loss at his hands. But she realizes that she’s not much of a gunslinger and that professionals will be required to deliver the justice that she demands.

Such a man is Sam Chisholm (Denzel Washington), a bounty hunter who has no problem with sizing up the denizens of a barroom and figuring out exactly whom to shoot. Chisholm is reluctant to go up against Bogue, but Cullen’s plea is persuasive.

To take on the robber baron and his gang, Chisholm will need considerable firepower. In short order, he recruits explosives expert Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), assassin Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).

Together, they’re a majestic septet.

“The Magnificent Seven” clearly aspires to be a classic Western. But this remake of a 1960 film — which was itself inspired by the Japanese classic “Seven Samurai” (1954) — lacks the spirit that made the genre so popular for so long. For all their strenuous efforts at striking poses, Washington and his compadres merely come across as a bunch of guys playing dress-up.

It’s just as obvious that director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”), working from a screenplay by Nic Pizzolatto (“True Detective”) and Richard Wenk, has little feel for the material. Only when there’s an opportunity to blow things up does Fuqua seem fully engaged.

Another Western bites the dust.


What “The Magnificent Seven” • Two stars out of four • Run time 2:12 • Rating PG-13 • Content Intense sequences of Western violence, smoking, language and suggestive material

This article originally ran on stltoday.com.

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