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Movie Review

This all-for-one-and-one-for-all adventure yarn is as straightforward and nondescript as its title. Except for a few genre-busting action sequences cleverly mapped out by Hong Kong martial arts choreographer Xin-Xin Xiong, The Musketeer (PG-13) is nothing more than a dimly lit, frenetically edited 17th century travelogue full of swashbuckling clichés.

Based on the Alexandre Dumas novel The Three Musketeers, this story begins with D’Artagnan, as a boy, witnessing the murder of his parents. He vows revenge. Years later, he seeks to join King Louis’ famed musketeers, who’ve been reduced to a bunch of suspended drunkards discredited as part of a political plot to remove the monarchy. Can D’Artagnan rally his comrades, woo a maiden, save France and win the inevitable showdown with his family’s killer? Count on it. This is by-the-numbers stuff.

In spite of the movie’s overall mediocrity, The Musketeer deserves applause. It esteems loyalty, compassion, self-sacrifice, patriotism, chivalry and modesty (when D’Artagnan encounters a girl bathing, he turns away until she covers up). And there’s virtually no profanity.

The plume sags, however, when we learn that musketeers are prone to intoxication and sexual promiscuity (discussed, not shown), ignoble traits for an otherwise heroic troupe. But the biggest caveat involves wall-to-wall violence. Stabbings. Shootings. Burnings. Cannon fire. While relatively bloodless, the constant barrage should put parents en garde.

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Justin Chambers as D'Artagnan; Tim Roth as Febre the Man in Black; Stephen Rea as Cardinal Richelieu; Mena Suvari as Francesca Bonacieux; Catherine Deneuve as The Queen


Peter Hyams ( )


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Bob Smithouser

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