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Victory or Death

How many bullets do you need to make a good David and Goliath flick? If the evil guy who is oppressing the poor but unskilled villagers is really, really, supremely nasty, you  need truckloads of bullets. Explosives too. I’m talking about the current remake of the 1960 western, The Magnificent Seven – which was the Hollywood version of Akira Kurosawa’s wonderful 1954 flick, Seven Samurai.

This is a year for the David and Goliath movie. We recently watched Hell or High Water, about two brothers who rob the big bad bank in order to pay back the loan and save the farm. There many people these days who feel oppressed by the “one percent” and want to fight back someway, somehow. Magnificent Seven reflects that feeling of helplessness and frustration, a feeling the only choice is to fight.

The villagers seek help, enlisting the toughest, baddest dudes around. They’re killers all, but killers with a code of honour, a motley crew of bad-assess, each with his own reason for being there, each with his own flaws, his own quirky personality.

The message here is that fighting the evil oppressor takes everything you’ve got, every bit of preparation, the element of surprise, an all or nothing strategy, plenty of bullets and explosives, a lot of heart and a willingness to take a stand and die for it.

“I seek righteousness – but I’ll take revenge.”

The first Magnificent Seven suffered from the larger than life personalities of the actors, which got in the way of the story. I felt I was watching not the characters but Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach and so on. Sure, the remake has a collection of well-known celebrities too, including Denzel on a horse, but watching it, I wasn’t so caught up in the egos of the actors. It’s quite a diverse bunch this time around, and I like that. I would have liked to see more character development, but that would have got in the way of the violence, gunfire and explosions.

We left the theater reeling from the onslaught of battle. The violence happened so fast and so relentlessly it was impossible to process any individual bits of action. It was overwhelming. I guess that’s the point. Revolution is overwhelming.



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