Friday, January 4, 2013

Mockbusted #8: 3 Musketeers


It is sometimes necessary to make the distinction between a mockbuster that is good in its own right, regardless of the quality of the film it is based on, and a mockbuster that is only really good by comparison to its source material, and might not otherwise be worthwhile. Today's film, a take on Paul W.S. Anderson's ridiculous and awful period piece from last year, falls into the latter category, providing enough entertainment value to make it watchable and even somewhat enjoyable, and certainly better than its inspiration, but never quite reaching the heights of a Sherlock Holmes, or a Nazis At The Center Of The Earth.




I don't remember much about Paul W.S. Anderson's Three Musketeers outside of the shitty movie coma it put me in, except for a Steampunk action style wasted on a terrible script that relied on one of the stupidest plot contrivances in recent memory. If I remember correctly, much of the plot focused on a stolen necklace, which if not worn by the Queen on a certain date would lead to a simple misunderstanding that could plunge the world into airship fueled war, because for some reason nobody could just explain to the King that it was stolen and the Queen wasn't cheating on him, or something. Also, Milla Jovavich jumps around in a corset for two hours. The Asylum's 3 Musketeers is the best kind of mockbuster in that it is a clone in name only, choosing to completely ignore any semblance to the original movie in favor of a mostly original story, albeit still inspired by the same book.


3 Musketeers is a modern retelling of the classic Dumas swashbuckler about an elite trio of assassins burned by their government and brought together by a young rogue agent to help stop a plot to assassinate the President and instigate a military coup. Its a simple enough idea that I can't imagine it hasn't been done before, even though I can't think of any examples off hand, and its done as well as could be expected for a low budget effort. The action is more than passable and often genuinely engaging, with some better than average set pieces and fight sequences, even if the acting is decent at best and sometimes a bit distractingly flat. Something I look for in movies like this are the little moments that elevate the proceedings from standard action fare to something more inspired, and I can say that there at least a few that qualify, chief among them the many CGI explosions that never seem to destroy anything, a helicopter blade beheading, and a climactic sword fight at Camp David, which just happens to have some fencing blades handy in the conference room just as the two characters with previously mentioned fencing experience come to blows.


The acting may sometimes leave something to be desired among the side characters, but I actually thought the main quartet (including, yes, Agent D'Artagnan) did fairly well, their chemistry and banter sustaining what could have been an insufferable few hours with weaker characterization. Athos is mostly there to shoot guns while doing flips, but he's given a nice personal relationship with the bad guy that isn't quite built up enough, but resolved well enough at least, and sexy ninja Aramis gave Jovavich a run for her money and ultimately worked for me even if the movie seems to sometimes forget about her as the thing goes on. Porthos is turned into the sarcastic tech savvy hacker member of the team, a stereotype I tend to dislike immensely, but even he came just to the edge of wearing out his welcome (though that might have something to do with his propensity to curse via Farscape references, which I found myself geekily applauding in spite of myself). The weak link, if there is one, is D'Artagnan, who took awhile to grow on me, but eventually turns in a respectable performance.


3 Musketeers is a solid action movie with just enough good to satisfy my very low standards when it comes to Netflix instant movies made by the Asylum. It kept me entertained without annoying me, but unfortunately lacks the kind of out of nowhere craziness that I always hope for with Asylum productions. Perhaps my estimation is a bit unfair, watching this so soon after something as incredible as Nazis At The Center Of The Earth, and its entirely possible that the lack of anything equivalent to T Rex robots or Dragons might be coloring my judgement. At the very least, it took a micro budget and easily surpassed the more mainstream effort, even if that wasn't very hard to do, and in the end, I'd safely say its worth a watch.

 
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