"THE THREE MUSKETEERS" — ★ — Logan Lerman. Milla Jovovich, Matthew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Mads Mikkelsen, Gabriella Wilde, Orlando Bloom, Christoph Waltz, Juno Temple, Freddie Fox; PG-13 (sequences of adventure action violence); in general release
Whatever your relationship (ardent, platonic, nonexistent) to the Alexander Dumas story about Athos, Porthos, Aramis and the lionhearted musketeer intern, D'Artagnan, there's a word for the latest screen edition of "The Three Musketeers": what?
Seriously. Those who favored the callous aggravations of the recent Guy Ritchie-directed "Sherlock Holmes," a film without which "The Three Musketeers" would be unthinkable, may forgive the grating, chaotic brand of storytelling and filmmaking here more easily than I. The director, Paul W.S. Anderson, brings to this costume party the same battering-ram sensibility he brought to "Alien Versus Predator," "Death Race" (which I liked, actually) and the ongoing "Resident Evil" franchise. The 1844 Dumas adventure classic is now a steampunk'd migraine. Clashing swords — 3-D swords in your face! — purloined jewels and court intrigues no longer suffice. This movie couldn't give a rip about that stuff. It exists for its digital airborne sailing vessels and deadly retro-futuristic flamethrowers.
Somewhere in there you'll find a trio of cynical, out-of-work musketeers, the casualties of "budget cuts," as one of them notes early on. "I thought you'd all be a little more ... heroic," says D'Artagnan, played by a haircut in search of an actor in search of a performance named Logan Lerman. Wrong movie! These three are homicide machines, or at least maiming machines, given to slow-motion gamer-style "kills." No matter the clothes, the musketeers may as well be called The Dirty Quarter-Dozen.
Leonardo da Vinci, we learn, has drawn up plans for a deadly flying "war machine," a combination of dirigible and seafaring galleon.
Rewatch the 1974 Richard Lester "Three Musketeers" sometime. This latest version is "le pits."
"The Three Musketeers" is rated PG-13 for sequences of adventure action violence; running time: 102 minutes.