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The Musketeer
Review written by: Alex Sandell


"You do realize we're being laughed at, don't you?"

I have been skeptical over this film since seeing the first trailer, touting the "fight choreography from Hong Kong Legend, Xin Xin Xiong", while failing to mention the directing by Peter Hyman (End of Days, The Relic, Timecop) or Screenplay by Gene Quintano (Operation Dumbo Drop, Loaded Weapon 1, Police Academy 4:  Citizens on Patrol).  The way this fight choreography has been played up by Universal, you'd think they'd call it "Xin Xin Xiong's The Musketeer".  So, with Hong Kong Legend, Xin Xin Xiong handling the fight scenes, what does the actual director of the film do for his money?  Basically direct what has got to be the worst performance I've seen out of Justin Chambers since his Another World days (although it's not like Justin's ever been much of an actor) and bring to putrid life the words of Gene Quintano, who has typed out the worst dialogue I've heard since, well, Police Academy 4:  Citizens on Patrol

Nearly everything about this film is embarrassing, right down to the costume design.  Whoever thought throwing the wooden Justin Chambers into a body distorting pair of pants, that end up making him look like he has a huge pair of swollen buttocks, really must have been drinking too hard when they started sketching.  Then there's the accent coach, or lack thereof, who should be strung up by his vocal chords and flogged.  The accents are all over the place.  Half the time I couldn't even decide if the actors were trying to do an accent, or just sort of talking slow, and under their breath, hoping that nobody notices that they sound like they're straight out of LA.  

Mena Suvari, who pulled off a decent performance in American Beauty, and was passable in the American Pie movies, should definitely stick to her own timeline, and leave the period pieces to Kate Winslet and other talented boring people from England.  Every time she was on the screen, I had to stifle a giggle, and I actually broke out laughing a couple of times when the forced "romance" between Suvari and Chambers came into play.  So, you're asking, "what about the fight choreography from Hong Kong Legend, Xin Xin Xiong?"  Well, I have two answers for that:

1.  It was good in two scenes (the tavern and the ladders, both shown over and over again in the commercials).

2.  It was substandard action crap during the rest of the film.  

I don't know if Hong Kong Legend, Xin Xin Xiong was behind every action scene in the movie, but if he was, his Legend status should be taken away.  Some of the scenes are so "been there, done that," that you start growing confused over which film you're watching.  Then again, maybe the fact that I kept dozing off, in-between loud blares of Dolby Digital, caused my confusion.  I just know that, unless I was dreaming, that scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Indy crawls under the truck (or whatever it was), to the front, and beats up a guy, was in this film.  I swear, I kept looking for Harrison Ford and a fedora.  

Apparently, the cloning of past action films goes beyond what even I am aware of.  I got a weird email a week or two ago from someone telling me that, if I do a review of The Musketeer, to remember that the ladder scene, which I thought was a lot of fun, is actually a direct steal from Jet Li's, Once Upon a Time in China.  I haven't seen Li's film, but the person emailing desperately wanted me to point that out, so I figured that, just this once, I'd take a request.  Knowing that the best part of The Musketeer is just another steal has put even more of a damper on an already drenched film, so I'd like to thank the emailer for making a really bad movie even worse.  

Even with the Jet Li and Harrison Ford "homage's," The Musketeer makes you long for the good ol' days of summer, when movies were just awful, rather than completely unbearable.  The very last thing that bothered me about this movie is that it claimed to be a "reimagining" of the Alexandre Dumas classic, The Three Musketeers.  After the "reimagining" of Planet of the Apes, Hollywood should have learned:  "if it ain't broke, don't reimagine it."  

What does it make you feel like eating?

Every reel of film this pile of crap was printed on. 

What are you selling us here???

Soap Opera as a Period Piece.

If it won an Oscar, what would it be?

"Making Kevin Costner's Robin Hood just keep lookin' better and better" - The Musketeer

On a scale of 1-10?

2 (1 point each for the 2 action scenes I liked)

Agree? Disagree? Email me at alex@juicycerebellum.com 

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Text (Copyright) 2001 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved].  If you copy this, without my permission, I'll string you up by your vocal chords and strum Britney Spears' songs until you keel over.

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