Film rookie and veteran
can't save 'The Musketeer'
Starring Justin Chambers, Catherine Deneuve
** (out of five stars)
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
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.