The Magnificent Seven (2016) 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Leading up to its release, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN remake was being looked at as a chance to revitalize the Western genre. The pressure was completely misguided since a) if any film could have revitalized the Western genre, it would have been THE HATEFUL EIGHT and b) remakes should never be expected to do anything for any genre. This version is a remake of the 1960 film of the same name, which was a remake itself of the 1954 Kurosawa masterpiece SEVEN SAMURAI. It seems with each telling, the filmmakers take everything less seriously and start favoring flash over substance. But thankfully, this telling had Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt.
The story is essentially the same; Chisholm (Washington) takes a job from a pleading local to go and defend the town from the evil Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). Knowing he can’t do the job on his own, he enlists the help of current and former friends including the gambler Faraday (Pratt), the sharpshooter Goodnight (Hawke) and his knife-wielding friend Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), the hunter Jack (Vincent D’Onofrio), the outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and finally, the bow-using Indian, Red (Martin Sensmeier). Together, they teach the locals to fight and take on Bogues army.
Going into this, I wasn’t sure what kind of tone Antoine Fuqua was going to take with his version of the story. With the actors he assembled, he could have gone more serious and dark, staying truer to the Kurosawa version. Of course, with the same actors, he could have easily gone more comic and over the top. As it turns out, I don’t think he, nor the actors involved knew either. Pratt, D’Onofrio and Garcia-Rulfo played their characters as if this was more of a fun, lighthearted adventure movie while Hawke, Lee, Sensmeier and even Washington played it a little more serious. And Sarsgaard…well, he played the villain like he was in a comic book movie, leading me to believe he felt it was going to be a little more over the top. That blame falls on director Antoine Fuqua, but he may have just been dealing with the hand he was dealt.
So despite the conflicting tones, I took this as a lighthearted action movie with a Western backdrop and with that in mind, it was about what you expected. The trailers actually did a great job of reflecting the action of the movie and although it wasn’t overly intense or even plausible in most situations, it was fun to watch Denzel and gang shoot some bad guys. I never would have thought Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt would make a good team, but they easily carried the film and made it enjoyable. I can never get enough Chris Pratt and here he basically carried over his character from JURASSIC WORLD, which was fine with me.
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN isn’t the Western savior, but it’s a decent, lighthearted action movie with fun performances from Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt. It offers absolutely nothing new to the genre and given it’s a remake, some will question its very existence and rightfully so. But this seems to be the Hollywood we live in now and if you’re going to remake a movie for no reason, having Washington and Pratt involved doesn’t hurt.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a lull lately when it comes to great looking 4K UHD titles, but I’m very pleased to say THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN looks incredible. It’s the perfect movie for 4K since it takes place primarily outside and in the sunshine. The 4K provides a noticeable upgrade in detail and colors. This is obvious throughout the film, but I noticed it especially when Chisholm and Faraday meet for the first time in the saloon. You could see the sweat glistening in the sun on Faraday’s face and you make out every little detail in his outfit. The same goes for Chisholm as the camera went back and forth. And when the camera went outside, things even looked better. The Blu-ray also looks great, but things go to a new level with the 4K.
Audio: This Dolby Atmos track is a thing of beauty. This is the kind of movie that deserves the added channels and higher quality mix and Sony delivers.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no 4K exclusive features included on the 4K disc, but it does include a copy of the Blu-ray, which includes the following special features:
Deleted Scenes (7:29): Four deleted scenes that needed more Chris Pratt.
Vengeance Mode: I really, really like this feature. Basically, you watch a series of featurettes while cutting into the movie. It was a lot of fun and a nice change of pace from the standard supplemental material. I wish all discs would do something like this because it not only makes it more enjoyable to watch the special features, but it’s more convenient as you can watch the very scene of the movie they’re talking about.
Featurettes (33:26): Six featurettes total that are too short to standalone. They each cover, in very broad terms, an aspect of the film such as music, characters and physical preparation of the actors.