I guess it’s time for there to be a rum-drinking, Keith Richards impersonating musketeer.
The original three musketeers are past their prime and working menial jobs in Paris when their friend D’Artagnan rallies them to defend the nation. To do so, they must undermine Cardinal Richelieu’s plot to have himself crowned France’s next king.
I wasn’t a huge fan of ‘The Three Musketeers‘ when I was a kid, and having a film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson doesn’t make me want to go out there and watch some either.
The whole film is surprisingly straight-forward and with a run-time of only about 100 minutes, the film basically resolves itself pretty well in that time-limit. The film also is pretty entertaining with a lot of jokes, that sometimes fall completely flat on their face, but others actually work and made me chuckle. Too bad the same couldn’t have been said for the actual writing of this film.
The problem this film has is that it’s plot, direction, and writing don’t really jell well together at all and come off a bit jumbled. The plot goes all-over-the-place and gets too in-depth about a couple of dudes with swords, which wasn’t needed at all. It’s also a bit confusing because they do a lot of pointless talking to where I didn’t really care what they were even talking about, but somehow there was some back-stabbing going on and other crap that didn’t really matter.
The writing is also kind of off because even though it did have me laughing at times, a lot of it just felt like total cheesiness that reminded me of something I would see in an 80’s film. Granted, this film doesn’t really take itself too seriously, which is what I liked but the one-liners just try too hard to be funny and instead come off a bit corny. Also, the film is called The Three Musketeers but they were barely even in it. It was always this smart-ass kid and these three villains that I didn’t give two shits about, which was annoying since they were probably the funniest parts of the whole film.
The direction from Anderson is a little hectic but he still does keep this film moving at a quick enough pace to where we get enough story, romance, action, and humor, which don’t all work well together still make us have a lot of fun. I didn’t see this film in 3-D but I could bet it’d be a lot of fun because Anderson does know how to film action and make it a lot of fun with swords, bullets, glass, and little boat bombs constantly flying at the screen. There’s also a bout 5 slow-mo scenes as opposed to other films directed by Anderson that usually have about 30, so at least he’s moving up in the world.
The cast is here just to chew up scenery but that is not so bad really. The Three Musketeers Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson), and Aramis (Luke Evans) are all having a ball with their roles and that transits to us watching as well. The problem is that even though the film is named after them, they aren’t in it as much as you would expect and it’s a real bummer. It’s an even bigger bummer that I had to watch Logan Lerman as D’Artagnan because out of this whole cast, he is probably the weakest link. A lot of his lines just seem off as cocky and arrogant as opposed to being funny and even though that’s basically what his character was supposed to be, I still shouldn’t want to be the main characters face in every time he’s on screen.
The villains are fun to watch too but all under-utilized by some bad writing. Orlando Bloom looks like a parody of a movie-villain and comes off as Will Turner gone bad, rather than this bad guy he was supposed to be playing. Milla Jovovich, who is obviously in this because her hubby’s the director, is under-written as Milady and doesn’t really do anything special and new with this character that I haven’t already seen her do as Alice from Resident Evil. The best of the villains is probably Christoph Waltz as Cardinal Richelieu because he seems like he is in such an entirely different film. He has many moments where he seems like he breaks the fourth wall many times, and just features this funny, sarcastic side to him that made him the best “villain” in this whole film.
Consensus: The cast is here to chew up scenery, and the action is very fun to watch but the plot is too detailed, the writing is too cheesy, and a lot of it just feels dull but The Three Musketeers is still entertaining, just leave your brain at the door.