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The Musketeer
cast: Catherine Deneuve, Mena Suvari, Tim Roth, Stephen Rea, and Justin Chambers

director: Peter Hyams

104 minutes (PG) 2001
Miramax VHS rental
Also available to rent on DVD

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by John M. Peters
The problem with the Three Musketeers story is that it has been done so many times as a movie and (in my view) the best version ever was that by Richard Lester back in the 1970s. Later versions may be technically superior but they simply don't have the bravura cast, humour and attitude of Lester's series. And I have to say that while Peter Hyams' new version is okay it is just that, ok.
   The storyline is pretty much unchanged: D'Artagnan (Justin Chambers) joins the musketeers to search for his father's killer and becomes embroiled in saving the Queen from Cardinal Richelieu (Stephen Rea) devious schemes. Tim Roth's Febre the man in black makes a pretty nasty henchman and Catherine Deneuve's Queen are the most memorable characters - surprisingly the musketeers themselves, Aramis, Porthos and Athos, are played by rather anonymous actors and display none of the bravura of Lester's cast: Oliver Reed, Frank Finlay and Richard Chamberlain.
   This version is full of action and in many instances makes you wonder if you are watching a Hong Kong studio version - the stunts and wirework certainly are impressive, but ultimately this is all eye candy and despite the sumptuous sets and lighting the adventure itself is well worn. It would be interesting to see the Alexandre Dumas characters and setting charged with a new adventure.
   As I say, if you don't have the Lester versions then this is an acceptable substitute, but don't think of it as the definitive one.