Sunday, June 9, 2013

Day One Hundred and Sixty - The Musketeer, "Wire-fu Swashbuckling with Mena Suvari? S'alright."

There have been so many sequels, remakes, and reimaginings of The Three Musketeers that they all kind of blur together after a while. Whether it's the Young Guns reunion helmed by Disney or the higher-brow get together featuring DiCaprio, Byrne, Irons, Malkovich, and Depardieu, odds are that if it's an adventure movie set in period France, there's a good chance the Musketeers are involved (the notable exceptions being Cyranno and the Pimpernel).

And, while this particular iteration does manage to be generic and really rather boring when it comes to intrigue and romance, The Musketeer is actually a better actioner than most thanks to its Chinese fight choreography.

If you take that away, though, it's about as engaging as a 90's "Universal Action Pack" Saturday afternoon feature. You know you're in trouble during the opening credits which are done using this horrendous faux canvas style that makes it look like it was made in the seventies or eighties by a schlock renfest producer.

The conspiracy against the crown is a thin as can be, and Catherine Deneuve is the only shining grace there. Stephen Rea is a tremendous actor but is horribly underutilized here (look to V for Vendetta for a much more complex portrayal and character) and Tim Roth... lord, do I feel sorry for the man. He's given a pittance to work with and it shows. It definitely feels a paycheck movie for him and that's a shame.

I want to like Mena Suvari and Justin Chambers romance angle, but I never feel any real chemistry between them, and relegating the ACTUAL Three Musketeers to pithy sidekick roles is a complete and utter travesty. They're supposed to be D'artagnan's mentors, not his plucky comic relief.

Really, the fight scenes are all that hold this movie up... and they do so rather well. While, at times, they can be a little too chaotic, they are definitely dynamic and interesting, pulling off stunts that are occasionally ridiculous beyond belief but engaging and a bit thrilling.

My only harsh criticism on that front lies in the tower rope sequence where D'artagnan is rope-climbing upwards to save the Queen and his captive love and has to face not one, not two, but FOUR Cardinal's guards coming out after him on their own ropes. It's patently absurd after the second shows up and when more add their swords to the fight I was laughing in hysterics.

As far as popcorn movies go, it's palatable. I could certainly see watching this as a date movie where your main focus is on the sexual tension between you and the person seated next to you. Just the right amount of action to be thrilling, just the right amount of shallow romance to set the mood, The
Musketeer is a date night no-brainer with little value in other venues.

My final verdict is that it's worth a single viewing, especially when it's not the movie that you're really there for... wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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