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Released: 2001
Directed by: Peter Hyams

The next big The Three Musketeers film. The big draw on this one is that all of the fight choreography is done by Xiong Xin Xin of Hong Kong Action Theatre fame, (purported by the media to have worked on The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon , but who (thank you owlman) actually hasn't).

D'Artagnan is played by Justin Chambers, who has all of the charisma and personality of a rock.

The Musketters are mostly forgettable folks you've never seen before, and are also, for the most part, at least 20 years older than Chambers, obviously. In fact, the majority of the actors seem to be French, except for the main lead parts, who are all American or English. And Chamber's and Mena Suvari's American accents right in the middle of everything are rather jarring.

The greatest crime suffered by the movie is that if falls victim to Brian Michael Bendis' observation that many modern media forms have conversation only to advance the plot...people don't talk in this movie to converse, they talk to make witty but empty reparte, or advance the plot. That's it.

The action was okay, but the filming of it was poor...many times the, camera is so close to the action in this film that you can't discern what is going on, or what you're supposed to be looking at...it's just a swirl of cloaks.

Never mind the poor shots of stuntmen where it's obviously not the actor in question due to hair color, or the bent stunt swords that rapidly describe a 90 degree angle due to having been banged on something.

It's not Black Mask, but it's close. Have fun, but don't expect anything near an accurate representation of the original book. It's an action flick.

Though I did appreciate the Rochefort wasn't the central bad guy...and Tim Roth, as always, makes a most excellent villain. See it just for him. *grin*

One somehow gets the impression that a number of different ideas and versions were thrown together here and they tried to make it the best movie they could. It was fun, but it just wasn't quality...

A major Hollywood feature film, released on September 6th, 2001, by MCA/Universal Pictures. Directed by Peter Hyams. Starring Justin Chambers as "The Musketeer" (D'Artagnan), Tim Roth as "The Guy In The Black Armor" (Febre), and Mena Suvari in her signature role as "The Really REALLY Hot Chick" (Constance).

The movie is yet another retelling of Alexander Dumas' classic novel, The Three Musketeers. Basically, if you can imagine a kung fu movie set in 17th Century France, you've already got the general idea. The overall plot is relatively coherent, though a vastly... *ahem*… "streamlined" version of the original Dumas' storyline. Make no mistake, this movie could easily have been named "Hong Kong Action Theater for White Guys". Like Morgon77 said, the setting is mostly a backdrop for the swashbuckling action scenes. Not that it doesn't still make for a fun movie to watch, just don't expect to hear Chambers say the words "I'd like to thank the Academy…" any time soon.

That said, here's a quick run-down of the stuff you're probably interested in (i.e. the various big fight scenes):

  • an acrobatic all-takers brawl between D'Artagnan and the various denizens of a dimly-lit tavern.
  • a night-time jail break with D'Artagnan enlisting the help of Athos and Porthos to fight their way through a dozen well-armed guardsmen.
  • a covert melee in the kitchen of a palace, with all four of the musketeers pitching in to protect the royals from an angry mob. In obligatory Kung Fu fashion, D'Artagnan loses his sword at the very beginning of the battle, and has to fight off the mob with makeshift weaponry; candlesticks, pots of hot oil, whole roasted chickens, and etc. (IMO, this is by far the best scene in the movie.)
  • an extended chase scene with The Musketeer defending a stage coach from mercenaries, using fists, swords, whips, and, yes, even a musket.
  • a brief duel with our hero beating down several more mercenaries with a log (this one seems like it could have been part of a longer fight sequence. Look for it on the inevitable Special Edition DVD.)
  • an army of reunited musketeers storming a fortified castle.
  • a mass sword-fight in the courtyard of said castle.
  • a sword-fight with D'Artagnan and guards hanging from ropes halfway up the castle's tower.
  • the movie's climactic final duel, in an obscenely ladder-filled storeroom. (Way overblown, IMO, and suspiciously similar to one of the last scenes in Once Upon A Time In China. Kind of a disappointment, really.)

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