“All for one, and one for all” — that hackneyed battle cry of 17th century swashbuckling mustached Frenchmen has been croaked yet again. This time round, director Paul W.S. Anderson of the much-maligned “Resident Evil” saga is in charge of injecting joie de vivre into this ol’ Dumas tale.
On the face of it, Anderson has the weaponry to carry the story of the usual gang of four into the 21st century: an “ensemble” cast of some critical clout (Logan Lerman, Matthew Macfadyen, cult favorite Milla Jovovich and Orlando Bloom) along with sumptuous decor and locations, all glittering in lush 3-D.
The director may have the wherewithal, but where is the story, the substance? One would be at pains to find it. From the opening scene, when one musketeer rises from a Venetian canal donning a black ninja costume, we are treated to a litany of faux pas and anachronisms: dodgy American accents in European settings, staccato and predictable punchlines that are utterly forgettable and eye-rolling action sequences involving “steampunk-inspired” gargantuan blimps.
What pleasure can be gained from this garish, irreverent display? Perhaps smirching at Orlando Bloom’s hyperreal pompadour coif and frill-necked costumes. Yes, this self-consciously stupid movie doesn’t take itself seriously — but worst of all, it has that flippant attitude toward its audience.