The new and old Magnificent Seven
Writer: Casey Lee
Who is your favourite Magnificent Seven?
Although it was a remake from the masterpiece by Akira Kurosawa, "The Magnificent Seven" has since become one of the most iconic Western from Hollywood that it's almost quite surprising that it has taken this long for it to be remade (maybe because of the sequels). What is even more surprising though is that when director Antoine Fuqua was announced to do the remake, and presented a much more diverse cast to don the hats of the new Seven, it had received far less backlash than other classical franchises that have been reimagined of late.
While we can only say that much has changed in the Hollywood landscape in the 50 years between the original "The Magnificent Seven" and this upcoming remake, not only since the decline of the Western since the 60s and 70s, but also the political and cultural correctness in having a black director helming a remake starring less than seven white cowboys. However, that doesn't mean that the remake would be changing any tropes that made the original all so memorable with its cast of characters, with their characteristics.
In case anyone gets confused as to who are the new Magnificent Seven and have watched the original, we make our own comparisons as to who we believe are embodying the spirit of the original Seven.
Being the one who brings together his small band of misfits, the leader is the essential leading role in both versions of "The Magnificent Seven". In the 1960 version, that role is played by Yul Brynner as Cajun gunslinger Chris Adams, who is at first apprehensive of being hired to defend the Mexican village, but has a change of heart afterwards. For the 2016 remake, that role is taken by none other than Denzel Washington as Sam Chisolm, who is not a gun-for-hire but a warranted peacekeeper and bounty hunter, who takes on the job and goes out to find some extra help to assemble the new Seven.
As the second-in-command, the drifter in "The Magnificent Seven" from 1960 was played by a commanding Steve McQueen as Vin. Commanding his own strong following for the 2016 remake, after a few successful major appearances, is Chris Pratt, who takes the drifter role as Josh Farraday. Both characters share a similar backstory as drifters with a penchant for gambling, but while Vin and Farraday are seasoned gunslingers in their own right, Josh also has an unhealthy obsession with explosives.
In the 1960's "The Magnificent Seven", Charles Bronson's hardy eccentric millionaire Bernardo O' Reilly is actually of Irish and Mexican descent, who has fallen on hard times to join the Seven. For the 2016 version, we have Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Vasquez; a ruthless and shameless Mexican outlaw, who has always lived on the fringes of civilisation. While Vasquez may not seem like an honourable man as his 1960 counterpart, we have some faith that he would be one of the more likable characters among the new Seven, if not to the children.
The Haunted One
As one of the greatest gunslingers in the West, Lee is a skittish paranoid who is haunted by his nightmares from the firefights he has been in. Played by Robert Vaughn in "The Magnificent Seven" of 1960, Lee can be a cold-blooded killer once he has shaken off his nerves. Although Ethan Hawke's Goodnight Robicheaux may not share Lee's dandy fashion sense, he is also haunted by his own demons for being the best sharpshooter in the Confederate army dubbed as the Angel of Death. Robicheaux is also going through a personal crisis when he joins the Seven, but wait till he lets loose those kills from a distance when the time comes.
Not everyone in the Seven is made to be heroes. Harry Lucky is a greedy treasure hunter who is only in for the job to make some serious money. Played by Brad Dexter in 1960's "The Magnificent Seven", Lucky is much better with his wits than his gun as his weapon. Although he doesn't have any similarities with our pick for his counterpart, but we think Vincent D'Onofrio's hunter Jack Horne is paired with Lucky as his complete opposite. A self-sufficient and good-to-honest man who lives in the Wild West before he is bullied out of all of his possessions, Horne replaces Lucky's scheming ways with his righteous fury, but they are both the everyday man to serve as stand-ins for us.
The Knife Wielder
One of the most iconic characters among the Seven played by James Coburn, Britt is one who lets his knives do more of the talking than his actual lines in 1960's "The Magnificent Seven". That similarity is too hard to miss with Byung-hun Lee as Billy Rocks, who employs a larger range of sharp edges, but is not afraid to use a revolver or a rifle. Hopefully, Rocks would have more lines in the 2016 remake than Britt's 11 that is spoken throughout the original "The Magnificent Seven".
As the youngest one of the Seven, Chico joins to learn to be the fastest hands with the gun, and to gain experience from the best that has been assembled. On the other hand, Red Harvest is a young Comache warrior who has been pointed to follow a different path by his elders, one that leads him to follow the other six to find more experience. While Martin Sensmeier as Red Harvest, is not Horst Buchholz as the nicknamed kid by any stretch of the imagination, they both are almost accidental members of the Seven, and their inexperience in the ways of the world is what that bonds them.
Cinema Online, 17 September 2016