The Musketeer

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

A young man filled with hatred and an insatiable thirst for vengeance, D’Artagnan (Justin Chambers) lives for the day he can take his revenge. This sense of rage comes from his childhood, when he saw his own parents murdered in front him, by the hand of Febre (Tim Roth). This man Febre has not a single good bone in his body, doing whatever is needed to further his own success, even if it means killing the innocent. As D’Artagnan prepares to venture back to his home and begin his tirade against Febre’s forces, his native France is torn with unrest, thanks to warring factions and chaos in the streets. Now D’Artagnan seeks to band with the Royal Musketeers, the elite guards who work for the highest law in the land, but that isn’t as simple as it sounds. You see, the Musketeers have disbanded after being framed for a murder, although D’Artagnan is determined to follow in his father’s footsteps and join their ranks. He soon meets with the remaining members and is shocked to find them in sad states, unwilling to return to the aid of their people. Can he somehow reform the team and storm into action, or have the Musketeers truly run their course of courage, bravery, and of course, swashbuckling?

This movie has some cool visuals, solid production design, and some wicked action scenes, but The Musketeer has little else to offer viewers. The storyline is basic, just kind of there to hang the other elements on and for the most part, I found the rather impressive lineup of performers to be underused. Yes, Tim Roth, Mena Suvari, and Catherine Deneuve add a lot to the film’s worth, but when they have such lackluster material to work with, you can’t expect genius work and that’s more than evident in The Musketeer. In addition to this, the performance of lead Justin Chambers is less than mediocre, sometimes even intolerable, to be honest. So we have weak material, weak performances, and in the end, Peter Hyams fails to make the whole better than the parts, which sinks The Musketeer. As cool as some of the fight scenes are (thanks to Xin-Xin Xiong), Hyams is unable to mesh them into the rest of the film and when he comes close, the hack editing work shoots down any potential that was present. This is not the worst movie I’ve seen, but with some basic changes in cast and crew, The Musketeer could have been a fun action flick, instead of a lame movie with a few nifty sequences.

Although his work has never reached high levels in terms of popularity or artistry, I’ve always found Peter Hyams to be a solid director. He is able to conjure up some memorable visuals and action oriented scenes, as well as get some terrific lead performers. But while Arnold, Van-Damme, and most of the others were able to keep audiences interested, Hyams lead here is Justin Chambers, who shouldn’t even be allowed to serve drinks on a movie lot. So The Musketeer seems as if it were doomed from the start, since Hyams has relied so much on his lead actors, when you look at his previous pictures. Hyams makes some good choices here, but mostly drops the ball and in the process, helps drive this one down into the dumps. Other films directed by Hyams include Sudden Death, End of Days, Capricorn One, The Relic, and The Presidio. The cast includes Mena Suvari (American Pie, Loser), Catherine Deneuve (The Last Metro, Belle de Jour), and Tim Roth (Four Rooms, Planet of the Apes).

Video: How does it look?

The Musketeer is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I am pretty impressed here, as this is a very dark movie bathed in shadows, but this treatment never stutters even for a second. I found the contrast to be excellent throughout, with sharp black levels and superb detail work, even in the darkest of scenes, all intended detail is visible, simply incredible work here. There is some grain in a handful of sequences, but nothing too serious. The colors look bold and rich when present, though The Musketeer has very limited use of colors, in order to build the proper visual atmosphere. Even with a few small issues, this is one terrific transfer and fans should be thrilled with the results.

Audio: How does it sound?

Universal has rolled out the red carpet here in terms of audio options, with dual 5.1 surround sound tracks in Dolby Digital and DTS. This means both sides should pleased, but given the action slant of the feature, I think both tracks leave a lot to be desired. There is some good surround presence and the bass is awesome, but I expected more power and depth at times, which is pretty infrequent here. The music sounds excellent however, though the dialogue is sometimes lost in the mix, but not due to the overwhelming impact, to be sure. I think both mixes are acceptable, but I suppose I had my expectations too high on this one. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as English subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes two brief behind the scenes featurettes, some production notes, a selection of talent files, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

Disc Scores