September 13, 2001

Formula Fighter

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Its flashy trailer touts The Musketeer as a “reimagining” of the classic novel. Unfortunately, its creators have reimagined the tale the same way that a high school theatre club might reimagine Les Miserables.

The Musketeer details the adventures of D’Artagnan, who is, not surprisingly, a musketeer. He’s not one of the Big Three; he’s more of a rebel musketeer with his own interests, namely the pursuit of a peasant girl named Francesca, and the killing of a madman named Febre. Febre not only killed D’Artagnan’s parents, but is also a ruthless and corrupt killing machine who is doing his best to overthrow the king and thereby create utter chaos in 17th-century France.

Basically, The Musketeer involves a lot of swordfighting with some pauses in between to hastily introduce the players (lots of muscular fellows with long hair) and the film’s main themes (revenge! love! loyalty!). It’s like getting a big present on your birthday and then finding out it’s all tissue paper inside: there’s lots of flashy superficiality, but not much substance.

The actors don’t add much depth. Justin Chambers as D’Artagnan is essentially a dumb jock. Though dashing and very nimble, he simply fails to inspire, and doesn’t seem very driven. This isn’t “You killed my father, prepare to die!” it’s more “I have various reasons for fighting, now watch me do it because I’m really good!” Mena Suvari’s Francesca is bland and annoyingly self-righteous. Catherine Deneuve’s presence as the Queen of France is initially a pleasant surprise, but even this dynamic actress’s performance is rendered shallow by uninspired dialogue. While it’s almost a clich