The Musketeer

Directed by Peter Hyams
Starring: Justin Chambers, Tim Roth, Mena Suvari, Catherine Deneuve, Stephen Rea, Jean-Pierre Castaldi.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense action violence and some sexual material.

Review by Evelyn Gildrie-Voyles <evy@filmhead.com>
September 13, 2001

That's it. I am sending notice to Tim Roth. I'm cutting him off. I am not going to see films just because he's in them anymore. For years I trusted Mr. Roth, knowing that if he was in a film, it would be good. Through such risky films as Little Odessa and Gridlock'd, he never failed me. Than he did Hoodlum, but I thought maybe it's just a fluke. Than he did Planet of the Apes and now The Musketeer. Awful. Awful films. No more, no more will I follow Tim Roth into a darkened movie theatre to sit and watch pap on the screen. I forsake him.

Writer Gene Quintano altered the Alexandre Dumas story to focus mostly on the self-righteous D'Artagnan (Justin Chambers) and all-purpose maniacal bad guy Febre (Tim Roth, doing his best imitation of Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Theives). The Three Musketeers, Athos, Aramas, and Porthos, (Jan Gregor Kremp, Nick Moran, and Steven Spies) are reduced to very small supporting roles. This is a shame because the three musketeers are not only more interesting characters than the idealistic and supergood D'Artagnan, they are also portrayed by much better actors.

Here's a brief run down of the plot. As a small boy, D'Artagnan watches as his father, a former Musketeer, and mother are ruthlessly killed by Febre. Even though he's a boy he manages to wound Febre. Fourteen years later D'Artagnan is now a man even though no other characters age even a day. He sets out to Paris to become a musketeer, instead he finds the musketeers in disfavor and the King endangered by the schemes of Cardinal Richelieu and his henchman, Febre. As unbelievably pompous music plays, D'Artagnan falls in love with a lovely chambermaid (Mena Suvari), befriends the Queen, revives the Musketeers, and saves the kingdom.

The acting is extremely varied. Roth, the musketeers, and Jean Pierre Castaldi as D'Artagnan's mentor give good comic performances. Although, I couldn't quite tell if the movie was a comedy or not. Catherine Deneuve as the Queen gives this mediocre mess a touch of class; she is magnificent. The movie is actually worth renting just for her. Stephen Rea is serviceable as Cardinal Richelieu but he should have been much better; granted the part was badly written. Justin Chambers moves from passable to unbearable depending on whether he is being heroic or romantic. Mena Suvari is god awful. She is blindingly bad. She succeeds in being neither plucky or coquettish. She and Chambers have about as much chemistry together as a pair of dead fish. I liked her in American Beauty and Loser, but she may not be ready to play anything besides an American Student.

The fight choreography by Xin Xin Xiong is well done and actually suits the period very well. Unfortunately it's not very well filmed, so some fight sequences that should look cool just look awkward.

This film is supposedly the story of the musketeers "like you've never seen it before." And they're right. I've never seen a version this bad before. This version makes the 1993 film The Three Musketeers starring Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, and Oliver Platt look like a four-star instant classic.


For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
The Musketeer (2001)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
The Musketeer (2001) -- VHS
The Musketeer (2001) -- DVD
The Three Musketeers, a novel by Alexandre Dumas -- Hardcover
The Three Musketeers, a novel by Alexandre Dumas -- Paperback
The Three Musketeers, a novel by Alexandre Dumas -- Audio Cassette (read by Michael Page)
Les Trois Mousquetaires, a novel by Alexandre Dumas -- Paperback
The Musketeer: Original Motion Picture Score -- Compact Disc


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