I always enjoy when a film maker takes a chance and combines two uniquely different types of films. This time director Peter Hyams takes a historical European film based loosely on Alexander Dumas’ Three Musketeers and combines it with the Hong Kong Martial Arts genre. While this film is not going to win any awards, the combination works, especially during the fight scenes.
A very young Justin Chambers (Dr. Alex Karev on Grey’s Anatomy) plays the lead in the movie and the character, D’Artagnan. Having had to leave his home after the murder of his parents at the hand of Febre (Tim Roth), he is trained in a unique martial arts style of sword fighting. When the evil Cardinal Richelieu (Stephen Rea) threatens to throw France into war, D’Artagnan returns and tips the balance of power to the Musketeers.
Tim Roth just chews up every scene, every line. His lines are said with such menace, such evil glee, and with such foul intent, you just know he is plain out of his mind. A psychopath with a sword. To quote him from the movie – “What if I absolutely must kill someone?” and “That’s the second time this evening I’ve been called mad, and I’m beginning to resent it.” A great villain making the film better as played by an excellent actor.
The stunts and martial arts fights are not to be missed. The fight while balancing on ladders is not to be missed. It is extraordinary. All of the major fight scenes are martial arts based and give the movie a shot in the arm of extra fun.
So get a bucket of popcorn and enjoy this guilty pleasure of a movie.
2.5 stars – A Hitting a Mark recommendation.