certainly there was the appeal of the action sequences. i went with my friend alex, who knows a little something about different fighting styles, and he was very impressed with the hand-to-hand combat depicted in the film. true, it was jazzed up and matrixfied by the use of slow motion and high speed shutter photography, but the fighting seemed true to the time (meaning, no one busted out a chinese martial arts move in 18th century france), unlike musketeer, with its very historically inaccurate fighting styles (historical accuracy is the first casualty of moviemaking when you want to pitch the product to a wide audience, especially the younger market. case in point: knight's tale - i still lose sleep thinking about feudal peasants chanting "we will we will rock you").
as for the beauty of the film, the cinematography was very gorgeous. i'm usually very indifferent when it comes to europe, but seeing this movie made me want to visit the french countryside, at least the french countryside that's depicted in the film. the cinematography reminded me a lot of sleepy hollow, and i always thought every scene in sleepy hollow was like a postcard come to life. and since we're on the subject of beauty, ohmygod monica bellucci as silvia, the mysterious and dangerous brothel worker from italy? mama mia! my only negative comment about that is she doesn't appear until midway through the movie.
maybe it a side effect of working in an office with a lot of women, but nowadays when i watch a movie, i'm also very mindful of potential aspects of appeal for the discriminating ladies who might want to see this film. for them, i have two words: mark dacascos, as mani, the native american friend of grégoire de fronsac (samuel le bihan). he's plays what is known in the business as the strong and silent type. there's a scene in the end where he's fighting baddies in nothing more than a loincloth that brings back marc singer beastmaster memories!
some more comments, potential spoilers, so beware!
so overall a good movie. it's not a must-see because it doesn't really show you anything that you probably haven't already seen elsewhere. it is however a french action movie, and if you're curious to see how the french do it, you should definitely check this film out.