This 1993 epic based on the Alexander Dumas novel of the same title is a fun, swashbuckling adventure featuring some of the better known talents of the time. it pretty much follows the Dumas storyline, but the talents of the players make it come to life even more so. It is a cast of characters suited well to the parts, and there is some fun comic relief that comes from most everyone. Most everyone knows how the story goes, but with the addition of a slight backstory on D’Artagnan at the beginning of the story, the pursuit of one family to avenge their sister’s honour goes on throughout the film, and the chase never really seems to end.
We start off with D’Artagnan (Chris O’Donnell) as he is attempting to weasel his way out of duel with Henri (Christopher Adamson) so he can get to Paris to join the King’s Guard and become a musketeer, but what D’Artagnan does not know is that the guard has been disbanded, and Cardinal Richelieu’s (Tim Curry) guard has taken over the security of the palace under command of Rochefort (Michael Wincott). En route to Paris, not only are Henri and his brother still in pursuit of D’Artagnan, D’Artagnan finds himself soon to have to duel three other men that he had crossed paths with when escaping from Henri. These three men are the ex-musketeers, Athos (Kiefer Sutherland), a nobleman, Porthos (Oliver Reed), a pirate, and Aramis (Charlie Sheen), a priest. They are also the best of friends, but D’Artagnan does not know that. Later that day, he meets at the garden where the duels are to take place, and finds the them all there at the same time. These men are highly trusted by King Louis (Hugh O’Conor) and Queen Anne (Gabrielle Anwar), even though the young rulers are rather green when it comes to matters of state, and still easily influenced.
The duels never take place, because the Cardinal’s guard interrupts the contests of honour, and the four take to fighting them instead. Meanwhile, the webs of intrigue are wound tighter as Richelieu places his pieces in the game to take over the rule of France from King Louis. Not only does he have Rochefort working the machinations on the guard, he has a spy, Countess D’Winter (Rebecca De Mornay) going to meet with the Duke of Buckingham to bring England and France into a war. While is minions work outside the palace, Richelieu works his magic with the royals to influence them to see things his way.
D’Artagnan is brought into this small war by accident, but still wants to prove himself as worthy to be a musketeer, and soon the chase is on to stop the spy, the war, and Richelieu’s rise to power that has the potential to be sealed in royal blood. They go to Calais to stop the spy from reaching England, only to find that the spy is the Countess D’Winter, and she also happens to be Athos’ ex-wife.
Back in Paris, the young royals are teaming up to bring down Richelieu from within, but still have to prove his illegal actions. It all comes together through a network stronger than anything we have now, and on a scope that just screams TREASON! Still, being a supposed “Man of God” (yeah, right!), Richelieu still thinks he is above the law, but he won’t stay that way.
This is one of the more fun versions of the story I have seen, but there was a lack of focus on the relationship between D’Artagnan and Constance (Julie Delpy), the Queen’s lady-in-waiting, than there had been in previous versions. That seems to be the only thing lacking. The movie is fact-paced, as an action-adventure story should be, with beautiful set, costumes, and a script that keeps it moving and never slows down. This 1990s Three Musketeers is one of the better ones, but I have yet to see the newest one. It will be interesting to see how it compares to this one. So, heat up the stove, make some popcorn, and enjoy this movie on these cold nights, because the adrenaline rush will definitely warm you up.
I give this film a Musing review of