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'Three Musketeers' movie has lots of action but not much substance

'The Three Musketeers' is a fun over-the-top spectacle, but don't look for anything more.

By Kofi OutlawScreen Rant / October 26, 2011

'Three Musketeers' stars Logan Lerman (left to right), Luke Evans, Ray Stevenson and Matthew Macfadyen take on the corrupt Cardinal Richelieu in the new film.

Itar-Tass Photos/Newscom

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It seems that the tale of The Three Musketeers must be re-told on film at least once every generation. This 2011 re-imaging of Alexandre Dumas’ legendary story comes our way in an action-stuffed 3D package, courtesy of Resident Evil director, Paul W.S. Anderson.

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Those who know of Anderson’s style of filmmaking already know what to expect from this film; for those unfamiliar, here’s a quick description: over-the-top action, weak scripts, and a sense that the cast of actors have their tongues firmly planted against their cheeks. Three Musketeers proudly continues this tradition.

This modern version tweaks Dumas’ tale of honor, espionage and sword-duels aplenty into a 3D spectacle featuring airships, Mission: Impossible-style capers (complete with martial arts acrobatics), and Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) transformed from a conniving spy into a conniving spy doing Kung Fu in a corset.

You can probably decide from that description above if this movie is for you or not. But I digress.

If you’ve never read the Musketeers story, here’s a quick rundown: brash young D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) leaves his home in the French countryside in order to be a King’s Musketeer like his father. On the road to Paris, D’Artagnan just-so-happens to run afoul of three disgraced Musketeers – Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) – as well as Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen), the Cardinal’s captain of the guard. Talk about bad luck. D’Artagnan challenges each Musketeer to a duel, and when the four men meet up to fight, they form a quick camaraderie over their shared disdain for Rochefort, and put their differences aside to slice his men to ribbons.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) schemes with his super-spy henchwoman Milady (Jovovich) to steal jewels from the young Queen Anne (Juno Temple). The plan is to use the jewels to frame her as having an affair with young King Louis XIII’s rival, the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). If Louis should believe the Queen is unfaithful, he would have no choice but to go to war with England and appoint the Cardinal – a man of strength and experience – to lead France. The Musketeers of course learn of this plot, and must get the Queen’s jewels back on her neck before she is supposed to present them to the king at a royal ball.

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