‘The Three Musketeers’ - action precedes story (IANS Movie Review - Rating: ***)

October 14th, 2011 - 7:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Film: “The Three Musketeers”; Cast: Logan Lerman, Matthew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson, Milla Jovovich; Director: Paul. W.S. Anderson; Rating: ***What would you want from a film made on a story that is ripe with action? Obviously, more action and perhaps wit. In those departments the 3D musketeers don’t disappoint. But if you thought that action is not just what happens on screen, but also the political intrigue that goes on, this one disappoints, despite the story being rife with it.

Once the stars of France, the musketeers have all been disbanded. Three of them, Arthos, Porthos and Aramis, however, forget that courage and bravery is no longer in fashion.

Joined by a foolish and hot-headed aspiring musketeer, D’Artagnan, they must go on one last mission, to save France from a conspiring cardinal who wants to engulf Europe in war.

To be fair with the film, if you are the action type, the film has plenty of action going on screen to keep you engaged through its duration. The 3D handles seamlessly and swordplay and the physicality of the characters are scintillating to say the least. Yet, where the film lets down is in the story.

Yes, we all know the story. But the point is not of re-doing the same story in new technology, or of putting in science fiction to an old story. It is also about re-doing the story in a new form and shape enough to attract even those who like deeper political intrigue and conspiracy.

In that sense, the character of the cardinal has been very grossly underdone. He almost looks like a funny clownish character, rather than the dreadful man who can push the continent into war and chaos. Instead of the cardinal, it is the character of Milady, mixed with ruthlessness and vulnerability, played by Milla Jovovich who manages to strike a little terror not just in the heart of the musketeers, but also the audience.

Yet, in the first one hour, the film has enough wit to keep the pace going and not let you notice what is wrong with it. The dialogue writing is crisp and sharp, the editing precise and the conceptualization of the fight scenes immaculate. It will remind you of the first of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.

Director Paul. W.S. Anderson, known so far only for his sci-fi films, puts his special effects expertise to good use. So much so that he is actually better here than his sci-fi action films like “Resident Evil” and “AVP”.

If you like only action in a film, this is your film. If, however, you demand action and more, you’ll be disappointed.

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