The Musketeer
dir. Hyams
Opens Fri Sept 7
Various

One of the most fascinating conceits of directors is their ability to come to the conclusion that their remakes of classic movies will somehow turn out better than the originals. It's doubly fascinating when the director in question is a big dumb hack to begin with. Director Peter Hyams--whose best work includes the sci-fi snore End of Days and Jean-Claude "Wham-Bam" Van Damme's Timecop--must've been under the throes of a triple dose of Ecstasy when he decided he could handle a remake of The Three Musketeers but what was the studio's excuse?

Though the basic story remains intact, Hyams still gleefully tweaks with Alexandre Dumas' classic text: D'Artagnan (played with all the charm of a slightly molded meatloaf by Calvin Klein model, Justin Chambers) travels to Paris to join the ranks of the mighty Musketeers. However, there's trouble afoot because Cardinal Richelieu (Stephen Rea) tries to gain power by starting a war with some other country. (I didn't quite catch which country because the accents the cast chose to employ shared too much in common with a quacking duck--a French quacking duck.) This causes a serious lack of morale among the other Musketeers who, instead of protecting the king, would rather sit around drinking and honing their terrible acting skills. It is therefore up to D'Artagnan to cheer up the troops, rescue the kidnapped queen, and give the audience a bad case of gas (from which I still suffer).

Now you may have heard that Xin Xin Xiong (Once Upon a Time in China) choreographed the fight scenes. This is true--but don't be fooled! While Xiong may be brilliant, his choreography is trampled on by the clumsy direction of Hyams, who attended the Chainsaw School of Editing, and the Retarded Monkey on Rollerskates School of Cinematography. For the love of God, save your money and watch the vastly superior Three Musketeers starring Michael York and Oliver Reed. Or, for that matter, watch the vastly superior Mr. Magoo's Three Musketeers. Or for that matter watch the vastly superior Three Musketeers candy bar commercial. At least it's shorter.