The Musketeer Movie Review
The Summer of Stupid Movies is over, but if The Musketeer is any indication, the trend is continuing into fall.
Director Peter Hyams brings D'Artagnan, the aspiring musketeer, to the big screen for yet another retelling (and the star, Justin Chambers, has a frightening resemblance to Chris O'Donnell from certain angles, who played D'Artagnan in the 1993 version), this time relying solely on face-paced and stunt-filled action sequences, with some Hong Kong influence. Unfortunately, he forgot a few things, like an original plot, a halfway decent, a dozen other things, and... exciting action scenes!
The action, which is the only thing that The Musketeer can boast about (only because there is a good amount of it), is about as exciting as fencing without swords. D'Artagnan gets himself into situation after situation (some connected to the plot, others not) where he bravely (but more likely stupidly) lunges at strangers time and time again, always hopelessly outnumber, and always winning easily. In the very first action scene involving Chambers, some guy hits a poor little kid across the face, and so D'Artagnan leaps at him and starts fighting, pausing to give the kid a piece of bread. That would be really nice, except that we would like to know a purpose to the scene, other than that it is a meaningless bar fight. Really, the action scenes never amount to anything. There are no characters you really care about, and you know D'Artagnan isn't going to die, and after the action scene is over, everything fades back to the script.
The script. Ah, the script. I think someone wrote the script on a piece of used toilet paper. Listening to Mena Suvari and Justin Chambers exchange jokes in their sometimes non-existent and always weak French accents, which is supposed to suggest that they are interested in each other, is almost as excruciating as listening to the other characters talk to each other, or Tim Roth showing us just how dreadful his character is by shrugging off killing as fun. Even the bad guy needs depth, and Tim Roth (who is also the villain in this year's Planet of the Apes) has nothing to work with.
The story gets worse with every passing second, as near the end the Queen of France willingly dresses up as a commoner to leave the city, and ends up enjoying it. Catherine Deneuve is the Queen yet not for one moment could I grasp her as such, because no way in hell would royalty of that time be so willing to do the things she does, especially walk through the sewers.
The Musketeer concludes with, of course, a life-or-death struggle between Chambers and Roth, as they defy gravity somehow leaping from ladder to ladder in a castle. It is never explained why there are so many ladders, or why the characters are suddenly able to do the things they do, or why Roth suddenly becomes so stupid that he lunges at Chambers while standing on a six-inch girder, but it must be historically accurate. People back then must have been able to do those things. The ladder scene, while sort of neat in its own kind of way, does not fit in a musketeer movie. In fact, it drains out any of the remaining suspense that the movie has left, and throws it away. What a horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible ending.
Technically, The Musketeer is also a poor product. The editing is just dreadful, as witnessed in the first minute or so. The opening title sequence is the ugliest ever seen in the last fifty years, if that, and the soundtrack sounds like it is being filtered through a poop-covered speaker. I'm sorry to bring up excrements like that, but The Musketeer is just... crap.
There is nothing redeemable in The Musketeer. It's like an Energizer battery, where it keeps going, going, and going, only it has no energy to begin with. The action scenes, while pretty intricate, are not suspenseful at the least, the script is just plain bad, the acting is worse, and even at a technical level, it is disastrous; a TV movie could do better. As the Musketeers say, "One for all, all audience members to another movie."
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.