"The Musketeer" falls flat on its face and wins the prize for corniest movie of the year.
The appeal of the movie is that Hong Kong action expert Xin Xin Xiong choreographs the film's fight scenes to create an Oriental, karate feel in a sword-toting European setting.
Surprisingly, the action scenes are unimaginative, badly edited and perfunctory. The disappointment of the failure of the film to deliver creative action leaves the viewer feeling cheated of the possibilities the film could offer.
What is left of the movie is a really bad script that leads to even worse delivered lines. Hollywood newcomer, Justin Chambers, is the most inanimate D'Artagnan in the history of Musketeer adaptations.
The only person who delivers lines worse than Chambers is Mena Suvari as his love interest, Francesca, who at least looks like she has a pulse.
The only notable character is the evil Febre (Tim Roth), who takes his scenes and makes the most of his diabolical character. The strength of his acting clashes with the weak performances of the other main characters and makes it obvious that the film falls short of all acting credibility.
The last Hollywood film adaptation of Alexander Dumas' classic, "The Three Musketeers," which featured Chris O'Donnell, Charlie Sheen, Tim Curry, Kiefer Sutherland and other notable actors, is in too recent memory to let this new adaptation get away with anything.
Made in 1993, the old adaptation made the most of humor, all three musketeers and the handsome D'Artagnan. In the new version, Porthos, Aramis and Athos, D'Artagnan's famous sidekicks are pathetically pushed to the background and the title of the movie reflects that the movie concentrates solely on D'Artagnan.
The focus on D'Artagnan would be acceptable if the role was adequately played, but the film thirsts for a distraction from the under-qualified Chambers.
One good quality of the movie is the beautiful scenery that flashes by as carriages tear through the countryside and musketeers wander the cobblestone streets of 17th century Paris.
The veteran actress, Catherine Deneuve, delivers a brief, regal performance as the queen and seems to be ignoring the fact that the rest of the actors are playing way beneath her level.
The limited highlights of the movie do not in the least make up for its failures. "The Musketeer" is a complete miss on every level.
The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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