With his Resident Evil series still coining it at the box-office, director Paul WS Anderson turns his attention to the swashbuckling costume adventure genre to see if his trademark brand of visually flashy, empty-headed filmmaking will still pull in the punters when stripped of CGI monsters.
Surprisingly, for all the ultra-exaggerated slow-motion action on display (in 3D, of course), his new take on Alexandre Dumas’s classic yarn The Three Musketeers sticks to the rough outline of the original story – save for a bizarre plot strand involving an airship designed by Leonardo Da Vinci.
British actors Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson play the heroic title characters – cool leader Athos, soulful former priest Aramis and bluff everyman Porthos – while puppyish young American actor Logan Lerman is their protégé D’Artaganan. Of course, there’s a kick-ass role for Anderson’s wife, Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil’s Alice) who plays the treacherous Milady de Winter (memorably played by Faye Dunaway in Richard Lester’s 1970s films). James Cordern pops up as a comic servant but Freddie Fox’s foppish nitwit of a king proves funnier and is touching to boot.
As for the Musketeers’ foes, Christoph Waltz adds typical class as the scheming Cardinal Richlieu and Orlando Bloom is the Musketeers’ slippery English adversary, the Duke of Buckingham, a neat bit of casting against type and a sign that Anderson has his eye on some of Pirates of the Caribbean’s box-office booty. Rowdy and silly, his film won’t do that sort of business but it remains entertaining knockabout fun.
On general release from 14th October 2011.