The Three Musketeers
Direction: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Matthew Macfadyen, Milla Jovovich
Alexandre Dumas' classic tale has been frequently recounted on the big screen with versions going back as far as the silent era. It would take a lot more than 3D effects to equal the rambunctious treatment of the novel that Richard Lester made in the early 1970s. (The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers).
Unfortunately, neither director Anderson (the Resident Evil series) nor his cast is up to the challenge. The result is a fitfully enjoyable retelling of the tale of adventure, romance and intrigue set during the reign of Louis XIII.
Taking quite a few liberties with the source material, the script zeroes in on the king's fabled musketeers. They arrive in Paris on a mission to retrieve the blueprint of a 'flying war machine' designed ---gasp! by Leonardo Da Vinci. The rest of the somewhat wearisome narrative follows the eponymous heroes, now joined by the tempestuous D'Artagnan, as they strive to foil a sinister plot against the crown by Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz).
The swashbuckling duels and air combats, though well-staged, lack the verve to set it apart from countless other action films.
Creditably, though, the 17th century period details are well recreated and the retro-styling as well as costumes are sumptuous.
In a role that has been previously essayed by such veterans as Gene Kelly and Michael York, newcomer Logan Lerman portrays D'Artagnan with a dour expression. The director's wife and muse, Milla Jovovich, has a blast in the role of the duplicitous Milady. Orlando Bloom, cast against type as the conniving Duke of Buckingham, merely adds star value to the project.
Ultimately, this update of The Three Musketeers is comme ci, comme ca.