On paper Peter Hyams' The Musketeer
seems like a very good idea--take the traditional material of reliable swashbucklers and pep it up with a lot of Hong Kong wirework and martial arts--and yet somehow the result is not entirely satisfactory. Part of the trouble is that the script takes The Three Musketeers
and strips out much of what has made Dumas' book--and earlier films based on it--unsinkable as a audience favourite. Also part of the trouble is that Justin Chambers' D'Artagnan is pretty, and jumps around well, but lacks the charisma to be a future heroic Marshal of France. Tim Roth plays the one-eyed villain Febre like Alan Rickman on automatic pilot; Stephen Rea's Cardinal Richelieu is meant to be impassive but comes across as bored. Of the famous guest stars, only Catherine Deneuve as an infinitely resourceful Queen of France really gets into the spirit of things. There are likable scenes here, and one or two memorable stunts--like a swordfight in a room full of collapsing ladders--but this Musketeer
comes way down in the list of Dumas adaptations, far behind Douglas Fairbanks and the 1970s Dick Lester films.
On the DVD: The Musketeer on disc includes not especially illuminating documentaries on the stunts and on the casting of Justin Chambers, as well as text files on the production notes and the filmographies of director and cast. It is presented with a widescreen anamorphic visual aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and has the options of Dolby 5.1 sound in English and French. --Roz Kaveney