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Film – The Magnificent Seven 

If the National Rifle Association (NRA) could invent a movie that supported everything they stood for and packaged it into a family friendly advertisement that masqueraded as entertainment that movie would be The Magnificent Seven. That doesn’t necessarily mean that The Magnificent Seven should be a bad film. It’s got a stellar cast and a rich pedigree; it’s a remake of the classic of the same name from 1960 that starred the even more stellar Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson. And that film was a remake of the Japanese classic Seven Samurai from 1954.

But by pitching the remake of the remake as a simple NRA idealised view of good guys with lots of guns beating bad guys with lots of guns, skimping on the set (an ideal ‘Western’ town with no outhouses, poverty or general depravity apart from whores as pure as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman) and relying on cultural and racial stereotypes in place of character development, the film achieves nothing. Not even entertainment.

Part of this can be put down to its M rating. The ‘Wild West’ was tough, brutal and unforgiving. Being shot is gory, bloody and definitely not M rated. If Quentin Tarantino had directed The Magnificent Seven it would have been R rated and I’d be railing against the gratuitous violence, the buckets of blood and the body count. But at least that would have been a more accurate portrayal of life and (especially) death in America’s mythical ‘West’.

By trying to be as accessible to as wide an audience as possible, and so maximise their profits, the producers of The Magnificent Seven have minimised their credibility and the reasons for seeing their film.

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