The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan (‘Les Trois Mousquetaires: D’Artagnan’)

ACTION; 2hr 1min (French with subtitles)

STARRING: François Civil, Vincent Cassel, Romain Duris, Pio Marmaï, Eva Green

Three’s company: from left, Cassel, Duris and Marmï

Author Alexandre Dumas hit a seemingly never-ending nerve with his 1844 novel: Les Trois Mousquetaires has a staggering 50-and-counting film adaptations under its swashbuckled belt, including multiple animated efforts. (Barbie and the Three Musketeers, anybody?)


Director Martin Bourboulon’s lusty spin on the legend blasts off in 1627. Mad keen to join the elite palace guard of King Louis XIII (Louis Garrel), Charles D’Artagnan (Civil, playing dashing to its hilt) rides from Gascony to Paris, where he is promptly done away with by an icepick-cool Milady de Winter (Green). Surviving by a miracle, he swaggers off to ruffle peacock feathers right and left, scheduling back-to-back duels with the self-same alpha dudes whose ranks he is so red hot to join (Cassel as Athos, Duris as Aramis and Marmaï as Porthos).


The thicket of intrigue is a full-on tangle from that frankly improbable point, with Athos imprisoned for a murder we all know he didn’t commit and his brothers-in-arms pitting wits to save his neck — which we also all know they’re bound to do, since for those who live and die by the swish of the sword, the pay-off is everything.


Bourboulon’s splashy show is the big deal it needs to be, kingly life being the eye candy it is, and a Boys' Own adventure for the ages. Rife with treachery and serious hair, spiked with to-the-death sword fights, its machismo blowout is burnished with a sheen of mythic quests that miraculously never grow old. Then again, we already knew that, as well.