This weekend's The Magnificent Seven is a mixed bag of dude-ranch banter (courtesy of True Detective's Nic Pizzolatto) and six-barrel shoot-outs (unloaded by Olympus Has Fallen director Antoine Fuqua). At times the movie feels like a half-baked excuse to dress Denzel Washington up in a gambler cowboy hat, but dressing Denzel Washington up in a gambler cowboy hat is a half-baked excuse worth making.
The Oscar-winning actor may broker Mexican standoffs like a John Grisham lawyer, but he's not even the sharpest gunslinger of the wild bunch. That honor goes to Byung-hun Lee, the unsung hero of The Magnificent Seven. As Billy Rocks, a Chinese assassin who's quick on the trigger and even quicker on the hilt, the South Korean actor is soft-spoken and ruthless, a gruff, comedic partner for Ethan Hawke's tall-tale-telling rifleman.
It's a star-making performance -- or would be, if Byung-hun Lee were a Chris Pratt-like sitcom actor stealing the action movie spotlight. Unfortunately, he's just one of the most resilient actors on the planet.