The Musketeer (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/06/2002

One out of five stars
Running time: 105 mins

Appallingly inept remake of The Three Musketeers – terrible acting, a dull script and –unforgivably- incomprehensible fight sequences.

It takes a real effort to mess up a story as good as Alexandre Dumas’ swashbuckling classic The Three Musketeers, but director Peter Hyams and screenwriter Gene Quintano have managed it. Evidently they thought that bringing in a Hong Kong fight choreographer (Xin Xin Xiong) would give it an interesting twist. They were wrong. This is one of the worst films of the year, although it has the unexpected benefit of making the Charlie Sheen version look better in comparison.

The Plot?

The story is rendered practically unrecognisable – it’s almost as if they filmed pages of the book at random. In short, D’Artagnan (played by DiCaprio lookalike Justin Chambers) becomes a musketeer, falls in love with Mena Suvari’s “wench” and makes a few enemies, including Tim Roth’s evil Febre. There’s a big fight on ladders. (That’s right, ladders). That’s it.

Essentially, all the complexities and suspense of the Queen / Cardinal Richlieu relationship have been stripped out in favour of a simple Good vs Evil plot. As such, Catherine Deneuve is entirely wasted as the Queen – she’s the one you feel most sorry for at the end of this, because otherwise she’s perfectly cast. She adds the film a touch of class that it doesn’t deserve.

The Acting?

The acting is extremely poor. Nick Moran could give Jason Statham a run for his money as Britain’s Worst Actor and Justin Chambers makes an entirely unremarkable D’Artagnan. To say that he’s wooden would be an insult to trees everywhere.

Similarly Mena Suvari has little to do and does it badly – the kudos she earned for American Beauty is rapidly running out. Besides which, D’Artagnan appears to have a much more romantically fulfilling relationship with…um…his horse.

As for Tim Roth, he seizes the opportunity to ‘do a Rickman’ and camps it up to the heavens. He’s the best thing in the film, but it isn’t enough. In fact, the only acting surprise comes from the gasps of shock in the audience when they realise that Mena Suvari’s Dirty Old Man step-father is actually played by Bill Treacher, aka EastEnder’s Arfur Fowler…

Let’s Fight!

The biggest crime of the film, however, is the fight scenes. Yes, there’s lots of jumping around, Matrix-style, but the sword-fights are terribly edited and impossible to follow. The sense of excitement is entirely missing and in a swashbuckling movie, this is unforgiveable. In short, The Musketeer is a definite contender for the worst film of the year – it’s certainly the most pointless. Terrible acting, inept fight scenes, an incoherent plot, hell, even the credit sequence is bad.

Basically, if you really want to see a Musketeer movie, you’d be much better off renting any of the previous versions. Yes, even the Charlie Sheen one. Avoid.

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Content updated: 19/10/2017 08:12

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