Missing the Point
However, I suspect that, as with those recent Star Trek films - which are superficially linked to the original series via character names and the designs of uniforms and spaceships but are really just generic space operas bearing little resemblance to the series - the new Man From UNCLE film is simply using the classic series and its name recognition with audiences, to sell a generic spy movie which otherwise wouldn't have found an audience. But, as it turns out, this isn't the worst remake on the horizon. I was dismayed to read the other day that Antoine Fuqua was slated to direct a remake of The Magnificent Seven with Denzel Washington in the Yul Brynner role of Chris. Now, the casting isn't the thing I have a problem with. I certainly don't have a problem with a black actor playing Chris (in reality, a large proportion of cowboys in the Old West were either black or Mexican, something written out of history by Hollywood), and in the increasingly ropy sequels to the original he was played by far less suitable actors than Washington in the form of George Kennedy and Lee Van Cleef (both perfectly good actors, but completely miscast in the role). The first of my problems is Fuqua, a director none of whose films I've found satisfactory and who has a track record for pointless revisionism (just look at his awful King Arthur, for instance). The plot details of this proposed remake just confirmed my fears: small town taken over by mining company, widow of murdered man who opposes them hires bounty hunter (Chris) who then hires six more gunfighters to help him fight the mining company. In other words, a generic western which seems to be an amalgam of plot elements from several, better, movies. By eschewing the Mexican setting of the original, it completely misses the point of the story. But hey, who cares? Everyone knows the title and it still has seven gunslingers protecting a small community - so it must be the same, mustn't it?