Thursday, September 13, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 15


Film rookie and veteran can't save 'The Musketeer'

The Musketeer
Starring Justin Chambers, Catherine Deneuve
** (out of five stars)
Universal Pictures
Rated PG-13

By Sally M. Hill
Daily Cougar Staff

The Musketeer is basically a poorly acted and directed film, but some spectacular fight scenes and the presence of the legendary, and still stunning, Catherine
Deneuve make it worth a watch -- if you care about such things and have little else to do.

If you are going to update a classic -- approximately nine movies have been made from Alexander Dumas' The Three Musketeers -- you need to make it fresh and
exhilarating, not only intermittently exciting.

Steve Braun/Universal Pictures

Justin Chambers (D'Artagnan) stars in The Musketeer, the film adaptation of Alexander Dumas' book The Three Musketeers. D'Artagnan joins forces with Porthos, Aramis and Athos to dethrone Cardinal Richelieu.

The sword battles and gravity-defying stunts that highlight The Musketeer are well-executed and awe-inspiring, but unfortunately, you also have to sit through drab,
stilted dialogue, a tired story and grainy film with too many dark, fast cuts.

It takes a while to get a good look at the supposedly handsome young star, Justin Chambers.

The movie starts with the young D'Artagnan (Chambers) vowing to avenge his parents' murder by the evil Febre, played well by Tim Roth.

His heartless villain shtick is getting old, though -- Rob Roy, Planet of the Apes and now this. Well -- at least he's good at it.

Chambers, a former model who was recently in The Wedding Planner, plays the grown-up D'Artagnan.

He's learned his craft well and is ready, willing and able to save women and children as he works to become a musketeer and kill Febre, Cardinal Richelieu's
(Stephen Rea) henchman.

As far as I could tell, Chambers's biggest talent is having a lovely body.

Following tradition, D'Artagnan meets up with Porthos, Aramis and Athos musketeers who have been dismissed as the king's guards because of an incident carried
out by Febre.

The older musketeers only welcome D'Artagnan after he's proven his prowess at fighting.

D'Artagnan's prowess with women is less evident as he bumbles around the pretty chambermaid, played by the lovely Mena Suvari, who was so much better
inAmerican Beauty and American Pie 2.

Deneuve (who gets top billing) is always a joy to watch. She brings some much-needed class to the production in her role as the Queen of France.

Her part is small, but she's better than the role, actually better than the movie -- which begs the question of why she bothered.

The real star of The Musketeer is Xin-Xin Xiong, the veteran stunt coordinator from Hong Kong.

The scenes he choreographs are a step above the rest of the film -- other then the few scenes with Deneuve.

The final fight, which takes place on numerous ladders, is almost worth the price of admission alone.

And any fans of old westerns will surely enjoy the breakneck antics on a stagecoach.

Director/cinematographer Peter Hyams continues the hack status he earned making The Presidio, The Relic, End of Days and many other forgettable films.

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