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Style over substance, that's the Hollywood way. Evidently, it is also The Musketeer way.
The Musketeer stars newcomer Justin Chambers, in yet another retelling of the tale of D’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers. Or perhaps I should be calling it a "re-imagining". Whatever fancy tag lines you choose to use, its another damn Musketeer movie that we really didn't need. This time, rather than finding new and interesting takes on the story, The Musketeer's director has chosen to forget the story all together and put the film in the hands of a stunt choreographer.
As a video game, Musketeer is a wondrous and exciting piece of work. Filled with incredible and creative stunt-work, carefully choreographed to showcase amazing fighting styles without drifting to far into the realm of the unbelievable. And though one might expect it to see odd to watch French swashbucklers using martial arts, stunt master Xin Xin Xiong carefully crafts his art so it becomes almost unrecognizable as martial arts and melds nicely with Musketeer era France. Though perhaps the film manages this small success less because of the skill of its choreographer than as a result of the darkness in which the scenes are filmed. Frequently the sword fighting is barely visible, beneath a heavy fog of bad lighting and poor shooting.
As a movie, The Musketeer is a sub par outing, utterly lacking the spunk and charm of the Sheen version, and bereft of the accuracy and poignancy of Richard Lester's Musketeer adventures. Clearly, the stunts are the thing, since the rest of the scenes seem to flounder about looking for direction or waiting for something disastrous to happen to spur the story onward to some sort of undeclared resolution. The story itself, is more a side effect of wherever Chambers happens to be standing when dialogue occurs. Throughout the film, we switch from scene to scene, with little thought given as to how the characters got there, and why we should even care where they are going.
In short, you can throw in all the dim lighting you want, but no matter how low the visibility, you can't hide the empty headed nature of The Musketeer. Enjoy the fights, but sleep through the rest.