do you like swashbuckling? does the thought of two guys dueling with swords get you all worked up? does the cling cling cling of sabers clashing get you all excited? then you my friend will love musketeer
, cause if nothing else, this movie's got a lot of swordfighting.
i am suddenly reminded of another swordfighting movie not too long ago, a movie that propelled the stardom of one ms.catherine zeta-jones. that movie of course is zorro. zorro's gay blade can't compare to the battling blades of musketeer, even though zorro had that one really great swordfight scene between catherine zeta-jones and antonio banderas, while musketeer has zero swordfight that involves women (a dagger hidden between one's to prevent a lecherous uncle from taking advantage of you doesn't count). oh wait, i just remembered another great chick-on-chick swordfight scene, in the mummy returns, the free-for-all between rachel weisz and patricia velazquez. yeah, that was one great scene. oh, and we mustn't forget crounching tiger, hidden dragon. that movie's all about the sword. so i guess in recent years, there's been a proliferation of swordfighting movies.
anyway, the musketeer certainly joins the rank of just such a film. the very first scene is that of a young d'artagnan practicing swordsplay with his father. after the credits, the very next scene is that of d'artagnan, now a man, getting into an atlercation at a tavern. here we the symphony of cinematic violence as choreographed by xin xin xiong, supposedly one of hong kong's best martial arts action choreographer (a point that the film's trailer isn't shy to make). the action is intense in this first fight scene, d'artagnan is more monkey than man as he jumps on ceiling and climbs walls and does all sorts of acrobatic move in the mayhem that is contemporary movie fighting. the editing however leaves something more to be desired. the action sequences are poorly lit, the action is too fast, the editing is slightly chopping (although i've seen worse), and the costumes of the people fighting are so similar (hats, boots, coats, swords) that sometimes you don't know who's fighting who.
as for the opening credit, are you kidding me? did they run out of money in producing this movie and had to get an intern to quickly make something using photoshop filters and their choice of ugly font 1 or ugly font 2? the opening credit reminded me of the opening credit of a television show, but even today you rarely see credits that amateur in appearance. i think they were going for this embroidered look but i wasn't falling for it one bit. i hope the director explains himself on the audio commentary track of musketeer on dvd, and that explanation better be because they ran out of money to make a nicer intro, because they really have no other excuse.
the casting's kind of interesting. the character d'artagnan, played by justin chambers, i've never seen him before. i vaguely remember some story that said he use to be a male model. i don't disbelieve that at all. mena suvari as constance bonacieux, i just love her and her little animal teeth! tim roth as febre, does he always play the villian? this is his second movie this summer too, the other film being planet of the apes where he is unrecognizable as general thade (but recognizeable as yet another villian -- he is typecasted for evil).
tim roth played a swordfighter in perhaps the best swordfighting movie of all times, rob roy starring liam neeson.
by now he should be fairly adept at swordsplay (at least on the silver screen), having done such a fine job in rob roy. and catherine deneuve as the queen of france? is she slumming? have her onboard does offer the film a certain french credibility (i think most of the cast isn't french even though it's a french tale, and don't even get me started on why everyone speaks english), but this is essentially an action movie, and her talents are rather wasted on the kind of audience that'd go see this picture.
some other random comments about the film:
- febre, in order to coerce the queen of france to write a false letter to the emissary from england, takes a random child and threatens to kill her if the queen doesn't do as he asks. hey, what a great idea! so that's how you get things done! hey, do you think you can finish the code by tomorrow? oh, no? well, if you don't, these puppy dogs are going to die!
- you know febre is a bad guy because he has an eyepatch. has there ever been a good guy with an eyepatch? captain ron? why is there eyepatch stigma? can society learn to love the eyepatch and those with just one eye?
- once again, febre! so, if he only has one eye, that means he doesn't have depth perception, so how come he's still able to be such an accomplished swordfighter? maybe it's all an act, maybe he can really see out of that bad eye, and that eyepatch is actually see-through, and he does this to get sympathy from people, because he's a pretty nasty guy, but if people take pity on him, then what he does doesn't seem so bad!
so should you go see this movie? if you're a fan of action, then you'll definitely like it. if you're a fan of story, maybe you should go with a fan of action and feed off of his/her enthusiasm for the film! there is definitely a story there, and a rather complex one since it's supposedly taken from history (although i can't be sure, french history is not my strong suit). but if you're looking for a good film about court intrigue and politics, go see elizabeth
. this film might try to be as sophisticated as elizabeth
, but it's nowhere approaches that level (it's missing the rush
factor -- geoffrey rush!), and when the smoke clears (or, when the cling cling cling of swords is over), what you have left is essentially still an action movie, albeit one with great fight sequences courtesy of the hong kong master chef xxx (xin xin xiong). this is probably where a lot of hollywood action movies are going these days. if it doesn't have the hong kong action seal of approval (whether it's in directors like john woo, action choreographer like wo ping, or an asian martial arts star like jet li), then it's no good. american made action films using hong kong expertise is red hot right now.