Paul W.S. Anderson brings his “Resident Evil” experience — and star — to a modern, steampunk retelling of Alexandre Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers,” and while the results are uneven, the film does have its moments of joy.
Anderson’s never going to be a critical favorite, and this is true even for his foray into a classic literature adaptation. The film reminds one primarily of a film like “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” which also mashed up genre pieces and literary characters and was roundly dismissed by critics.
Milla Jovovich, Anderson’s wife and the star of the “Resident Evil” films, is probably the best bit of adventure in the “Musketeers” remake, playing Milady de Winter. In this “Musketeers,” she’s a sword-fighting dervish of action. It’s not strictly literary canon, though it’s fun to watch.
The film goes for cannon over canon, as Anderson has added Miyazaki-esque airships and sky battles to his Dumas adaptation.
The Musketeers of the title are Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Luke Evans). Following a failed mission, they’re disbanded by Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz).
When young swordsman D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) wants to join the crew, they all run afoul of Richileu’s agent Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen) and his men. Richelieu is secretly plotting against the king, and eventually it’s up to the Musketeers to suss out the plot and save the day.
The film visually owes something to “Pirates of the Caribbean,” from which it also borrowed co-star Orlando Bloom, here perhaps miscast as the villainous Buckingham. The film’s not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon for those seeking a B-movie; and it does improve on the 1993 version of “The Three Musketeers.” But the best adaptation of the Dumas story is still 1973′s “The Three Musketeers,” directed by Richard Lester, and its 1974 follow-up, “The Four Musketeers.”
The Blu-ray is a great technical presentation of the film that allows viewers to appreciate the slick visuals. The audio quality is also strong.