US Release Date: 09-07-2001
Directed by: Peter Hyams
- Catherine Deneuve, as
- The Queen
- Mena Suvari, as
- Francesca bon Ansau
- Stephen Rea, as
- Cardinal Richelieu
- Tim Roth, as
- Justin Chambers, as
- Bill Treacher, as
- Daniel Mesguich, as
- King Louis XIII
- Jean-Pierre Castaldi, as
- Nick Moran, as
- Steve Speirs, as
- Jan Gregor Kremp, as
- Michael Byrne as
Justin Chambers and Mena Suvari in The Musketeer.
Sometimes it's best, when reviewing a movie, to let the movie speak for itself. So let me start by describing a scene from the movie. Our hero, the wannabe musketeer, d'Artagnan, is attempting to rescue the Queen of France and her maid, the woman he loves. They are being held in the tall tower of a castle. He uses a rope and grappling hook to climb the outside of the tower to reach them. On top of the tower are twenty of the Cardinal's guards waiting to stop him. They know he is climbing the tower. Instead of just reaching down and either cutting the rope or simply unhooking the grappling hook, thus sending him plunging to his death, they tie ropes around themselves and climb down to meet him so they can try to kill him with swords while they too dangle fifty feet above the ground.
The Musketeer is filled with stupid little moments like this, where on the flimsiest of excuses, elaborate fight scenes are set up for no other purpose than because the director wanted to throw one in at that moment. What's laughable is, that for a movie which only has the fight scenes going for it, they are the worst edited fight scenes I have ever watched. Sloppily cut, badly lit, and often, you can see that it is stuntmen performing the fights and not the stars.
And it's not only the fight scenes that are poorly edited and full of inconsistencies. The whole movie is full of them. As a boy, d'Artagnan has a French accent. Somehow, even though he is raised by a Frenchmen with a very heavy accent, when he reaches adulthood, his accent is now American.
Many versions of The Three Musketeers have been made over the years. The likes of Gene Kelly, Michael York, and Chris O'Donnell have all played d'Artagnan to varying degrees of success. And all of them, even Chris O'Donnell, played it better than Justin Chambers. It never fails to amaze me how many really bad actors find parts in Hollywood. I don't know who Chambers slept with, or blackmailed, or threatened so that he could star in this movie, but let's just hope he's never given the chance again.
Although, to compare him to the other actors who played d'Artagnan is really unfair. They were all playing in movies based on the classic story The Three Musketeers. The Musketeer takes place in France during the 17th Century, and some of the names are the same. Other than that, this movie bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to the classic novel. And why? God only knows. If they couldn't come up with a plot on their own, they might as well have stuck with one that has worked so many times before.
Badly written, poorly acted, pathetically edited, I wouldn't be able to come up with one good thing about this movie if it weren't for the performance of Tim Roth as the insanely cruel, Febre. His over the top evilness borders on the verge of campiness, yet in this movie it is perfect. He seems to be the only one in this movie who knows just how bad it is. He struts and frets his hour upon the screen with gusto, taking control and stealing scenes, while the rest of the cast play it straight and serious. If there is any good at all in this abysmal film, it is only because of him.
Justin Chambers and Mena Suvari in The Musketeer.
I agree with some things Scott wrote. This movie could definitely have been better. However, this is an action movie and Scott's utter slaughtering opinion of this movie is exaggerated.
Scott's blasting of Justin Chambers is a bit over done. Sure he is little more than a pretty face, but he was not as bad as Scott wrote. Chambers has at least the talent of a daytime soap opera actor.
Mena Savuri gets to smile a bit and has the best lines. "I am not dead, now go beat him!" she says to Chambers after being stabbed. She, as well, could do very good work on daytime TV.
Catherine Deneuve must have needed the money. The classic beauty who has done such prestigious films as Indochine is too good for this cast. Sure she plays the Queen and is supposed to look better than everyone else, but any number of less talented actresses could have done this part without having this movie stuck on there filmography list.
Yeah, yeah Tim Roth does the over the top bad guy well enough. But this is such an overdone cliché that it's boring. The over the top terrorist in Air Force One. The over the top Sheriff in Robin Hood. OK Hollywood, aren't there any subtle bad guys?
The action is not as bad as Scott wrote. Sure, my first thought as well was "why the hell hasn't any one just cut his rope? Hello, everyone is carrying a sword!" I did like the final sword fight scene on the ladders. Sure it was contrived and overly choreographed, but that is the trademark of all the "Musketeer" movies.
My 2 sons liked this movie as the pace is quick and the action plentiful. In fact the film is very kid friendly. Several opportunities for nude scenes were left alone and I only spotted blood twice for about a second each time. Language is also kept very clean. I don't recall one curse word.
The direction was quite unique and flawed at the same time. The detail in making these people constantly dirty and the places they dwell completely bland was very authentic looking. However the stars all have dentist enhanced, straight, glow in the dark white teeth. The leads also all have flawless makeup helped complexions. So the director went for an authentic look, except for when it came to the stars.
A decent action piece as long as you don't try to think about it. That, or it helps to be 8 years old when watching it.
Tim Roth in The Musketeer.
Wow, this one is pretty bad. As Scott said, it has bad acting, bad writing, and bad editing, the trifecta of bad movie-making. I agree with Eric that it could only be entertaining for an 8 year old. But I will add an 8 year old that hasn't seen any of the other -vastly superior- versions of Dumas' legendary story.
About the only good thing I can think of to say about this movie is that the sets and costumes are quite nice and the cinematography is decent. The movie looks pretty good. But then they ruin it by talking. Both the acting and the fight scenes are horrible. D'Artagnan, in this movie, is capable of incredible feats of physical dexterity. He is so superhuman that he never seems in danger.
My brothers both mentioned the scene where he scales the castle tower as being stupid. How about the scene where he is shot while standing in the river? He survives and crawls to shore where one of the bad guys is waiting. But instead of just shooting him again and being done with it, the man walks up to him and announces that he was left behind just in case D'Artagnan was still alive. WTF?
As for the Three Musketeers themselves, Athos, Porthos and Aramis, they might as well not have been in the movie at all. They are all portrayed as lazy, arrogant sots. Athos is only in a few scenes. It's almost as if they suddenly remembered that there were supposed to be 3 musketeers so they hurriedly wrote him in.
Rather than an homage to swashbuckling pictures of the past, The Musketeer is an insult to the genre.
Photos © Copyright Universal Pictures (2001)