The Resident Evil series of video games may not be high art (“Jill sandwich etc.”), but the best of them have had an eye for well paced action, and bristled with an irresistible B-movie energy. Things that were successfully drained from Paul W.S. Anderson’s crappy film adaptations.
And now? Now he’s turning his attention to classic literature. I’d like to say that the entire cosmos is shuddering at the thought, a universal shiver of dread right down to it’s very atoms. But that would give The Three Musketeers too much credit. A film this boring, this moronic, is less of a galactic wide shudder, but more of a tiny dull thumping on the inside of your skull.
Anderson’s sole purpose in life is to now make films to keep his wife — Milla Jovovich — in work. Other than that, I can’t see any other reason that he keeps making them. Is he all about the script? Does he revel in the joy of finely tuned dialogue? The interesting character arc? Nope.
Does he fill the screen with blistering, seat of the pants action? No again. The guy doesn’t have a clue. If any of the characters get stuck in a jam, there’s always a feeling that Anderson will just take the easy way out, and rely on CGI trickery or some bullet time bollocks to ease a character through a potentially troublesome scenario. We don’t get to see how that character might react under any great pressure, nothing that might make us see them in a fresh light, or gain our respect and admiration in ways we weren’t expecting. It harms the ending, for example, the point where most stories are keen to have us gasping in astonishment, fearful that our lead characters might not succeed. All the laziness on show in the first two-thirds of the movie makes the climax something of a boring non-event.
The tragedy of all this, is that there is talent there, somewhere. There are times when Anderson frames a shot in such a way that it makes you sit up and take notice. Also, the sets and costumes look beautiful. But it’s frustrating to see such hard work in the costume and set department go to waste on a director, who for the most part, can’t be bothered. The apathy extends to the actors as well. Mcfayden delivers a performance bordering on narcoleptic. The guy playing D’Artagnan has had all the charisma sucked out of him at birth, and deposited into a thimble. D’Artagnan’s love interest is beautiful to look at, but obviously loathes the guy she’s meant to fall for. She looks like she’d rather be anywhere else than within two feet of him.
And to be honest, that's where I'd rather be from this film, except maybe add a couple of hundred feet. What a turd of a movie.