Logline: In this D-level retelling of The Three Musketeers, the narrative focuses entirely on swordsman D’Artagnan (Justin Chambers, Grey’s Anatomy) as he attempts to avenge the death of his parents, a quest that uncovers the corruption running rampant in 17th-century French politics.

This is a silly movie. A very, very silly movie. You probably didn’t see it. Nobody really saw it. Universal dumped it into theatres in the middle of the cinematic graveyard that is September, and I more or less stumbled upon it because I was a depressed and homesick college freshman and it just happened to be playing at the local cineplex.

If by a slim chance you did see this movie, then let me say the following: since it was terribly outdated upon its release in the first place, it hasn’t really aged. At all. Which is to say that, ten years later, I enjoyed its goofiness at the exact same level. This isn’t a movie in which you invest any real energy, and so it gives you as a viewer about as much as you put into it, and if you don’t take it seriously, you could have a really good time watching/mocking it. If you want to see Karev from Grey’s Anatomy mumble his dialogue while a combination of him and his stunt double do some martial arts-influenced swordplay every ten minutes or so, then this is the perfect movie for you.

A movie this lazy deserves a lazy review, and so without further ado, here is my stream-of-consciousness while watching the movie. (Much as I did with my rewatch of The Cell earlier this year.)

-MPAA warning: “Intense violence and some sexual material.”  I don’t know how intense that violence really could be, as the film is PG-13. (The film ended up having pretty much zero violence, just a smattering of swords hitting each other with great force.)

-When Alexandre Dumas wrote The Three Musketeers, I sincerely hoped he pictured it with Hong Kong cinema-influenced martial arts sequences, complete with wirework.

-As usual, Tim Roth‘s glee at playing a villain (Febre) is completely infectious.

-Stephen Rea, on the other hand, pales in comparison to Tim Curry’s version of Cardinal Richelieu in the 90s version of this tale, starring Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, and Oliver Platt.

-In the same vein, Justin Chambers is about as good as Chris O’Donnell in the 90s version. Neither are very good.

-Peter Hyams’ career and style, which both once showed promise, took a turn right around Timecop and Sudden Death. In other words, Jean-Claude Van Damme ruined Hyams.

-I actually really dig the crazy-awful TV movie-style opening credits. I know they were probably just a placeholder, but they feel warmly nostalgic to me, like the old live-action Zorro show that I used to catch on the Disney Channel every night at midnight during my teen years. (Although, from another perspective, the opening credits also feels a bit like the ones for Black Adder.)

-Wow. Justin Chambers doesn’t even try for the standard British accent that comes with the territory. I actually admire that. Why bother?

-What the hell, Wikipedia trivia? “Rock band Sonic Youth appear, heavily disguised as minstrels, playing a medieval and almost unrecognisable version of ‘Youth against Fascism’”

-Nice Timecop splits, Justin Chambers’ stunt double.

-If D’Artagnan were actually Justin Chambers’ most recognizable character, Alex Karev on Grey’s Anatomy, where would this narrative fall in the Grey’s timeline? After he gives Elizabeth Reaser a new face and she stalks him, or does this take place after his divorce from Dr. Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl)?

-Holy crap. Justin Chambers is 41? And he was the dude from the Dave Matthews Band “Ants Marching” music video? And was a Calvin Klein model?

-Justin Chambers should show up on Grey’s Anatomy next season sporting his long, luscious D’Artagnan hair.

-It seems clear to me now that the idea behind making this movie is the following: “Hey, let’s do another version of The Three Musketeers, but this time, let’s push the title characters so far into the background that they’re virtually irrelevant. Change the title if you need to.”

-From Ebert’s review: “The history is not the point, and neither is the story. Both exist only to supply excuses for a series of action sequences, which steal the show to such an extent that if you like martial arts scenes you’ll admire this movie, and if you don’t, you won’t.” … “There are barrels in this movie. So many barrels they supply the leit-motiv, as they roll, thunder, spill, explode and impede. At one point, D’Artagnan actually balances on top of a barrel and rolls it beneath his feet while sword fighting. Harder than it looks.” … “I love it when the Queen tells [Febre], ‘You have no mercy in your heart’ and he replies: ‘No mercy. No heart.’

-Sorry, Mena Suvari, but you were never really a thing. You just happened to end up in a few great or very funny movies, two of which have “American” in their title (no, not American Virgin, you asshole), and a stint on Six Feet Under in a completely unchallenging role.

-It’s strange that D’Artagnan pronounces his name like “DAR-tun-in,” while everybody else in the film says it correctly.

-This movie rules. I am hopped up on coffee and a still-full belly from last night’s Indian food, and this dumb Musketeer movie is hitting the spot. If the DVD of this costs, like, a dollar on Amazon, I’m buying it right the hell now.

-Sweet. I can get a new copy for $1.25, or…a used one for $0.01, plus S&H? Sold.

-I should probably check the bargain bins at local video stores first, huh?

-“This is not what you think.” “You have no idea what I think.”

-Mena Suvari, your face does not belong in this time period. Time period face FAIL!

-Catherine Deneuve looks bored.

-“Do you keep your sword polished?” “Uhm…when there’s time.” That’s an actual dialogue exchange in this movie.

-Somebody should “Rocky Horror” this movie, because it would make a fantastic midnight movie for snarky geeks.

-Not enough Tim Roth!

-What if in each section of this movie, Tim Roth showed up as one of the other villains he has played? i.e. Rob Roy’s Archibald Cunningham, Pulp Fiction’s Pumpkin, Thade in Planet of the Apes, and Emil Blonsky-as-Abomination in The Incredible Hulk. New band name: The Tim Roth Villains.

-“We could just give them hot soup and be done with it.” – Cardinal Richelieu

-Has there been a Three Musketeers movie without a horse chase through the forest?

-Now Tim Roth’s pretending that he’s not in a silly movie.

-Uh…thank you, child actress who plays the remarkably well-informed and informative peasant girl who serves no other purpose than to spout exposition. I bet you thought this role would jumpstart your career, huh?

-Older actor, when you have to pretend like you were just shot, it is an incorrect acting decision to just yell “BAH!” and jump.

-“I’m afraid you’re going to regret we ever met.” and “Well, it would be nice if you could fly. Am I truly crazy?” – D’Artagnan talking to his horse. The horse doesn’t care, D’Artagnan. It doesn’t speak English.

-Was now just trying to think of the name of the Tsui Hark/Jet Li movie Once Upon a Time in China, briefly thought there was a movie called Fast Times at China High. Now there should be.

-So not only is Tsui Hark’s collaborator Xin-Xin Xiong the action choreographer of this movie, he also completely reuses one of Once Upon a Time in China’s most famous sequences as the climax in The Musketeer. And the sequence – fighting on, around, and through dozens of falling ladders, only this time with swords – works pretty damn well here, too, so I don’t really have a problem with it. It looks fantastic.

-Has somebody made a GIF yet of Tim Roth belly-sliding down a ladder head –first, sword pointed at the camera?

-I technically could have gone to the world premiere of this film, as my mother’s old Los Angeles friend is director Peter Hyams’ chiropractor, but I think I had a freshman-level film class that night. (This man, Fernando, is also apparently Guillermo Del Toro’s chiropractor. I should have probably used that connection to my advantage when I had the chance.)

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