Matt Adcock’s film review: The Three Musketeers (19.10.11)

Born to be heroes, trained to be warriors, destined to fight evil… Yes, the swashbuckling Musketeers are back after more than 20 film versions of Alexandre Dumas’ novel – and, as my wife pointed out, the cartoon classic Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds.

Les Trois Mousquetaires is a well-worn tale but it’s never been told in quite the way that director Paul WS ‘Resident Evil’ Anderson decides to tell it.

Gone is any sort of historical accuracy and in its place come dazzling 3D battles, sci-fi steampunk airborne warships, heaving bodice-straining bosoms and a new D’Artagnan (Logan ‘Percy Jackson’ Lerman, who still looks about 12).

Anderson doesn’t do subtle but he does inject decent amounts of kick ass combat against the baddies in the forms of nasty Rochefort (Mads Mikkelson), evil Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) and dastardly Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom).

It seems that the cardinal seeks to engineer a war between England and France to discredit France’s young King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox), and the Musketeers have to save the day.

The female component include the luscious Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich), the cute French Queen (Juno Temple) and her hot handmaiden Constance (Gabriella ‘Dr Who’ Wilde).

Nothing feels very original but anyone who likes their swordplay action fast, furious and without having to think about how silly it is too much should be very happy here.

Anderson throws in various bits from Assassin’s Creed videogames, Indiana Jones movies, references to some of his other films and pretty much anything else he can think of – including a blatant ‘please let me make a sequel’ ending.

It does look very stylish, especially the action sequences, which benefit from some high end special effects.

There is some comic relief from the OTT slapstick pratfalls of incompetent servant Planchet (James Corden) who at least is memorable.

Alas the Three Musketeers themselves are fairly interchangeable – Matthew Macfadyen is Athos, Luke Evans is Aramis and Ray Stevenson is Porthos, but I may have got that wrong.

Everything builds up to a plot involving the Musketeers having to steal back a priceless necklace and maintain the Queen’s honour.

D’Artagnan has to give the King some relationship advice along the way and manages to woo Constance while the other Musketeers look on a bit awkwardly.

The Three Musketeers is a loud, stupid blast, lots of fun while it lasts but also instantly forgettable.