This begs a lot of questions—none of which the film seems willing to answer, or even raise. Sam Chisolm repeatedly notes that he’s a duly sworn bounty hunter and an official agent of the federal and territorial governments. A black law enforcement officer in the 1800s would have represented an insupportable affront to racial hierarchy. White racist men would have been coming out of the woodwork to try to kill Chisolm—as they try to kill the black bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino’s 2015 Hateful Eight. But in the Magnificent Seven‘s fantasy West, no one seems to notice that Chisolm is black: The world it portrays is oddly, and even eerily, post-racial.

Race isn’t completely invisible—there are brief moments of acknowledgement. Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), an Asian knife expert, mentions that he’s had some trouble with white men. Irish rogue Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt) tosses a friendly racial slur or two at Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo). And the absence of a romantic plot suggests the screenwriters were aware of potential racial pitfalls. In the 1960 Magnificent Seven, a central subplot involves one of the white gunfighters falling for a Mexican woman, and staying behind in the village with her. A white man with a non-white woman is a typical Hollywood arc. In the remake, of course, the interracial relationship would presumably be between a man of color and a white woman. This is a storyline that’s much more difficult for Hollywood to imagine—and Magnificent Seven, dutifully, refuses to imagine it.

But while the Magnificent Seven declines to tackle interracial romance, it is very interested in the cleansing power of interracial friendship. Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) is a former Confederate soldier with, improbably, no trace of racial prejudice—and the film lines up people of color to testify to his purity of soul. Billy Rocks, the Asian knife expert, is his best friend. Chisolm, for his part, assures Robicheaux that “the war is over,” forgiving him on behalf of all black people for his violent defense of slavery.

The handling of native people is even more duplicitous. The last man to join the heroes is Comanche Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier), who just shows up out of the hills, muttering something about destiny and paths. In a climactic scene, he saves the female lead Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) from another Comanche in the employ of the evil Bogue, declaring: “You’re a disgrace.” Why it’s a disgrace for a Native American to fight for the land rights of this white genocidal settler rather than the land rights of that white genocidal settler is unclear. But, for whatever reason, a “good Indian” has vouched for them, and so the white people can go back to farming “their” land with a clear conscience.

The original Seven Samurai was about feudal class tensions. The farmers were debased and exploited by the samurai, whom they hated and feared, and deceived or killed when they could. While the heroic seven samurai grow to like and even love the townspeople—the class barrier never goes away. “The farmers have won, not us,” is perhaps the film’s most famous line, pointing to the inevitable victory of civilization, and the end, for better or worse, of the samurai honor code.

The 1960 Magnificent Seven nervously paid homage to these class fault lines with a throwaway line or two, though it didn’t explore them in any depth. In 2016, though, they’ve entirely disappeared. If the film were to address the tension and prejudice between the townspeople and the heroes, it would have to address racial animosity, which it categorically refuses to do. In refusing to think about race, the film is also forced to ignore class, and ends up not thinking about much of anything. Through successive rounds of whitewashing, one of the great works of cinema has been transformed into a bland, brainless multiplex shoot-em-up.

Though, to be fair, this latest iteration has many more explosions than either of its predecessors. So that’s something.

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