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ALL THE KING'S MEN, AND DICAPRIO, TOO

"All for one and one for all," is one of the lines used over and over in "The Man in the Iron Mask." The "one" in question is Leonardo DiCaprio -- the one who will draw people in to see this movie. I would not be surprised if those moviegoers are as disappointed as I was.

Alexandre Dumas' novel "The Man in the Iron Mask" is a long-cherished classic with some wonderful characters. A screen version has big expectations to live up to.

As the story begins, three of the four legendary Musketeers are retired. Only one of them has been able to put up with King Louis XIV (DiCaprio), and that is D'Artagnan, played by Gabriel Bryne. He has stood by through the king's many wrongdoings.

The others have gone their separate ways since leaving their ranks in protest. Athos (John Malkovich) has given up on everything but his son Raoul (Peter Sarsgaard). He spends his time playing instruments and wondering what his son will do next. Aramis (Jeremy Irons) has turned to the Holy Word to become a priest. Porthos (Gerard Depardieu) is a pleasure seeker, and the manner in which he pursues that goal is very amusing.

King Louis is a horrible leader, and makes no efforts to get better. The only way to help the royal family, and all those governed by it, is to bring out a secret that will either help or destroy the kingdom. That secret is that King Louis has a twin brother, a twin that has been locked up for life.

Who might be crazy enough to lead this rebellion? The three Musketeers, Aramis, Athos and Porthos, are all in it to help the people. D'Artagnan learns of this plan to get rid of the king, and is going to do anything he can to stop it.

The movie reaches its climax when the estranged twins meet. Do the Musketeers prevail? Does Louis win or does his twin brother, Philippe, take over the throne? All of those questions are answered in the movie, but in a very poor way.

DiCaprio's double role in this movie is strong, and he acts it well, but not well enough to best his fellow cast members. The stellar cast brought together here are superb at points but are wasted with poor dialogue and a few crude lines that are supposed to be funny. "The Man in the Iron Mask" should have stayed locked up in a novel, and not wasted as a film.

Steve Soroka is a senior at East Aurora High School.

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