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Swashbuckling 'Musketeer': A not-so-classic movie

The Musketeer 2 1/2 **

Rated PG-13 for graphic action violence and sexual situations

If you're a fan of continuous swashbuckling and the loud clanging of swords, you'd probably like "The Musketeer," the new remake (which, I must note, is nothing like the book) of the Alexandre Dumas' classic tale "The Three Musketeers."

If you like movies with complete plots, good scripts and impressive acting performances, you can skip this movie.

Set in 17th-century Europe, "The Musketeers" is centered on the young swordsman D'Artagnan (Justin Chambers). As a young boy, he witnessed the murder of his parents by the cruel Febre (Tim Roth).

Seeking revenge, D'Artagnan is determined to become a great Musketeer like his father was and finish his nemesis off.

He makes his way to Paris, hoping to join the ring of Musketeers. At an inn, he meets young and beautiful Francesca (Mena Suvari), who has no family except for a creepy uncle. After some flirting, a shallow but genuine love story ensues.

Unfortunately, Febre and his gang of black-clad killers have been representing Cardinal Richelieu, the power-hungry church official who has in mind to kill off the king of France. The musketeers have become discouraged about defending their king, but D'Artagnan fires them up with some swordsman spirit and they all chant the famous mantra "All for one, and one for all."

However, since we hardly even get to know the actual Three Musketeers, their much-repeated oath seems empty. Even when D'Artagnan abandons his three companions to help the strong-willed Queen of France (Catherine Deneuve) on a secret mission, it doesn't seem like a horrible breach of loyalty in the eyes of moviegoers.

There are some good points to this movie. The combination of old-fashioned swordplay with modern Jackie Chan-esque fighting by choreographer Xin-Xin Xiong yields an entertaining battle at the end, placing D'Artagnan and his rival Febre on a maze of moving ladders for their duel to the death. The period costumes are also a highlight. It resolves rather abruptly, but another scene of swashbuckling would have been one too many.

The acting is lukewarm and the accents are inconsistent. In addition, the plot is sometimes confusing, predictable and anticlimactic.

Still, the movie is not entirely a waste of time. All in all, "The Musketeer" has taken a classic book and made a not-so-classic movie with fight scenes to please action-lovers and witty lines to keep the rest of us awake.

Amanda Pendolino is a junior at Clarence High School.

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