You might mistake the sound of swashbuckling for what it really is: Alexandre Dumas spinning in his grave. Much closer to "Pirates of the Caribbean" lite than it is to "The Three Musketeers," this makes a mess of the classic Dumas tale.
Actually, this is about four Musketeers. Logan Lerman ("Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief") stars as D'Artagnan, whose father was a Musketeer. He joins Luke Evans (Aramis), Ray Stevenson (Porthos) and Matthew Macfayden (Athos) in this latest, and possibly lamest, incarnation of the tale to hit the big screen.
The setting is 17th-century France, where Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz, "Water for Elephants") is planning to take control of the country along with the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom), who plans to use a flying machine to wage war. Working along with the cardinal is the villainess Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich). D'Artagnan joins the other musketeers, who I guess could be considered "retired," in taking up their swords again to foil Richelieu's plot.
D'Artagnan finds a friend in the foppish and not-too-bright King Louis (Freddie Fox), who asks the young swashbuckler for advice in the romance department. Meanwhile, D'Artagnan has eyes for one of the ladies in the queen's court.
I have to admit that the CGI, costumes and action all pack some visual appeal, along with the gorgeous European sets. A couple of times, the director rightly uses slow motion to enhance some action sequences.
Lerman is the star, with the most screen time and with the story told mostly from his perspective, and most of the action turns on a bad guy's lack of apology to D'Artagnan's horse. But Macfayden works the hardest and even appears to be performing in a different film than the rest of the cast. He delivers his lines with a dramatic earnestness that, I imagine, Dumas might have appreciated.
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I wasn't sure from whence the accents were supposed to have originated, and you won't know, either. There's a little French, a little British and a little American Midwest floating through the dialogue, which relies heavily on excrement jokes for its comedy.
You can watch this in 3-D if you want to, but I don't think it'll make much difference in the show's entertainment value, or its dialogue, which is far from rapier-sharp.