“The Magnificent Seven (2016)” is a paradox of sorts. It is a very well-made film, a western, featuring well-known actors who chew up the scenery. The actors include Denzel Washington as Sam Chisolm; Chris Pratt as Joshua Faraday; Vincent D’Onofrio as Jack Horne, and as the villain (and he makes a good one)–Peter Sarsgaard, playing Bartholomew Bogue. However, the violence is very strong, as is the use of language.
The film includes a fair amount of humor, and most of it works. In an early scene, for instance, two bad guys hold guns on Faraday, ready to kill him, when he distracts them with a card trick. “I like magic,” says one of the brothers, who doesn’t appear to be the sharpest pencil in the can. The audience chuckled at this joke. Sure enough, Faraday turns the tables on them and takes them out. In yet another scene, Jack Horne appears in the film for the first time, and he is a brute of a man. After he walks off, a comment is made: “I believe that bear was wearing people’s clothes!”
The story opens as Bogue disrupts a meeting in church, in Rose Creek, long enough to make an outrageous offer of $20 for each person’s share of land (he wants to take over the mining business and the town), and he proceeds to kill a lot of people as a demonstration of his strength and power. Then he nearly burns down the church. He also makes the mistake of killing one woman’s husband in cold blood. The woman, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) seeks vengeance and rounds up Sam Chisholm, who then enlists the help of the others to defeat Bogue and take back their town. They have a lot of adventures along the way, with shoot ’em ups and killings.
Due to the violence, strong language, and some strong thematic content in the sex category, we are unable to approve this film for family viewing and must deny it the Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.