The Musketeer Preview

Wha-wha-wha… Sirs Sklogsalot? Where, and more importantly when, are they? “It’s… it’s August 12th, 2031, right?” Rich asks earnestly, stating the exact date very clearly. But their fellow knight Sir Bangarang just guffaws, “Right. 2031. As if, bro. It’s totally September 23rd, 1326. Pretty rad, right?” Rich and Poe’s heads are spinning. 1326? Why does it feel like… not that. Like this is all so fake… as if someone made it. “It’s falling apart,” Poe whispers to Rich, “we’re near the end and it’s all crashing down.” Rich nods and the end will be a battle for everything within them. Their souls, but most importantly the Obsidian Dongle and thus… Earth. “Where are we going?” Rich asks Bangarang, walking besides his horse. “Ha. Classic Sklogsalot. The castle, duh. The King is waiting and he’s none too happy. Nope. Better to just bite the bullet and get it over with. Face the music and all that. Lame, but I’m not the one who tried to kill him, amiright?” Rich and Poe’s faces blanch. This ain’t sounding so good. Maybe time to scram, but just when they are looking to book it Bangarang turns on them and pulls an uzi from under his armor. The gamemasters really half-assed this one. “Just come along quietly, Sklogalots. I’m getting too old for this shit.” Just then a whistle is heard from the surrounding trees. Bangarang looks around, suddenly concerned, and then turns and breaks out into a trot as several people backflip their way out of the forest. “Who are you?” Rich and Poe ask, admiring their flashy blue velour suits. “We are French,” they say matter of factly. “We saved you, so you are part of our crew. You are our… how do you say… Planchet?” That’s right! We are finally watching the Justin Chambers vehicle The Musketeer. This is the super rad martial arts interpretation of the Three Musketeers that literally everyone was clamouring for. We flooded the streets for calls for more Musketeer IP but now with karate! Swing around on ropes, we begged. Can they fight while on ladders? We asked. And so we received. The Musketeer. Let’s go!

The Musketeer (2001) – BMeTric: 55.7; Notability: 29 

(You can see the nice inflection in ‘11 and indeed, it seems like over the last few years films have reached a different stable point in vote growth. I feel like I need to do a new meta analysis on notability, because I would have thought this would have been a bit higher … but it also seems like most major films get between 25 and 35. But it is hard to tell.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – Peter Hyams’ “The Musketeer” combines traditional swashbuckling with martial arts in a movie where the men wear plumes in their hats but pounce like crouching tigers and scheme like hidden dragons. No wonder; the choreography of the fight scenes is by Xin-Xin Xiong–not a name on every tongue, I grant you, but he is one of the top action designers in Hong Kong. … I cannot in strict accuracy recommend this film. It’s such a jumble of action and motivation, ill-defined characters and action howlers. I am not even quite sure if Richelieu and Febre are on the same side, or if there are three or even four sides in the story. But the banquet scene is a marvel of art design. The action scenes are wonders to behold. And when Tim Roth vows vengeance on the man who blinded him, I for one believe him.

(An amazingly ok review from Ebert here. I think by 2001 he had fully entered his “it’s good for what it is” phase, which I personally rather appreciate. Watch the old “Worst of” shows for Ebert from the late 80s and early 90s and you’ll see him tear a film like this apart. By 2000 I think he became more appreciative of people just doing their thing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFnSmS-SUXQ/

(This is one of the best-bad trailers ever made. If you show this trailer to anyone without pretense I have to assume their minds would melt. It doesn’t seem real. The moment where the narrator says “with fight choreography by …” as if I’m supposed to know who that is, and (worst yet), as if I’m supposed to think bringing wire-fu to The Three Musketeers is the most incredible idea ever conjured into existence … I love it. I’ve been waiting to watch this movie just based on this trailer for literally years.)

Directors – Peter Hyams – (Known For: Stay Tuned; Timecop; 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Hanover Street; Outland; Running Scared; Capricorn One; The Presidio; Sudden Death; Narrow Margin; Enemies Closer; The Star Chamber; Future BMT: End of Days; The Relic; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; The Musketeer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for End of Days in 2000; Notes: Has three sons. One was the director of Universal Soldier: Regeneration (for which Peter was cinematographer). One is the CEO of Indeed. And the last is the rap battle promoter Lush One. Read the notes on him below, this film was legitimately his career’s last gasp.)

Writers – Alexandre Dumas (novels) (as Alexandre Dumas père) – (Known For: The Count of Monte Cristo; The Three Musketeers; The Return of the Musketeers; La Reine Margot; The Four Musketeers; The Three Musketeers; The Count of Monte Cristo; The Iron Mask; Future BMT: The Three Musketeers; The Man in the Iron Mask; BMT: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; The Musketeer; The Three Musketeers; Notes: I don’t think I need to explain who Alexander Dumas is … but let’s appreciate that he is, in fact, credited as writing the novel that Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li is “based on”. Snooping around this seems potentially fake, but some places suggest maybe it is a vague adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo? Bizarre.)

Gene Quintano (screenplay) – (Known For: Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Sudden Death; Future BMT: Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Operation Dumbo Drop; King Solomon’s Mines; Loaded Weapon 1; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: Was a salesman who worked with the director Tony Anthony which is how he got into film. Wrote a good number of the Police Academy films. The Musketeer was effectively his last major production. Hyams and him worked on Sudden Death together.)

Actors – Justin Chambers – (Known For: Lakeview Terrace; Liberty Heights; Leo; Future BMT: The Wedding Planner; The Zodiac; Broken City; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: You would know him as reformed bad-boy Dr. Alex Karev on Grey’s Anatomy. He left the show this year, and you would not believe the arc they gave his character! No spoilers, but it is juicy drams, and fans are NOT happy.)

Catherine Deneuve – (Known For: Dancer in the Dark; Belle de Jour; The Brand New Testament; The Truth; The Hunger; Repulsion; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; Pola X; Persepolis; Les Demoiselles de Rochefort; 8 Women; Tristana; Indochine; A Cop; Hustle; Mississippi Mermaid; Once Upon a Time; The Last Metro; Time Regained; A Christmas Tale; Future BMT: O Convento; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: Chosen as one of the 100 sexiest stars in history by Empire magazine in 1995, and from 1985 to 1989 she was the model for Marianne, the national symbol of France.)

Mena Suvari – (Known For: American Pie; American Beauty; American Pie 2; American Reunion; Slums of Beverly Hills; Becks; Stuck; Edmond; Brooklyn Rules; The Dog Problem; Future BMT: The Rage: Carrie 2; Loser; Beauty Shop; Trauma; Domino; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Sugar & Spice; Live Virgin; The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; Sonny; Caffeine; The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson; Standing Still; Factory Girl; Nowhere; Spun; Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children; BMT: The Musketeer; Rumor Has It…; Kiss the Girls; Notes: She now does mostly television (like American Woman and American Horror Story) and non-theatrical / television films. Notable for the sheer number of works with the word “American” in them that she’s been in.)

Budget/Gross – $40,000,000 / Domestic: $27,073,640 (Worldwide: $32,533,802)

(For the actual production company I imagine this was a disaster, and I also imagine they totally blamed the director in the end. According to the notes the distribution was sold for $7.5 million so cleary the companies that distributed it did fine. That is a lot more money, especially domestically, than I would have thought.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (11/99): Hong Kong inspired action sequences take center stage in this latest Three Musketeers adaptation. Unfortunately, the oversimplification of the story and an uncharismatic lead character leave the movie flat.

(How dare you slander Justin Chambers like that! He’s Grey’s Anatomy mega-star Justin Chambers!! Reviewer Highlight: Musketeer’s fight scenes are underlit, overmiked, and appallingly edited, with none of the spacious grace that even routine Asian action flicks get right. Worse, the narrative scenes make less sense. – Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Câble-fu

(This ain’t your daddy’s Three Musketeers. I think that comes across in this poster, although a bit busy. Nice font, nice color scheme. Needs a little bit more of an artistic touch to get the feeling of motion across. But not the worst. B.)

Tagline(s) – As you’ve never seen it before. (C)

(Why not just go with The ain’t your daddy’s Three Musketeers? It is what you’re trying to say and at least people would have been like “lol, WTF” rather than just shrug at the cliche of it all. I need more from my taglines. This is short and gets the point across, but there isn’t any heart… no love… you know?)

Keyword – historical fiction

Top 10: Django Unchained (2012), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Titanic (1997), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dunkirk (2017), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Wonder Woman (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Assassin’s Creed (2016), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

Future BMT: 55.6 Robin Hood (2018), 41.8 Young Einstein (1988), 37.2 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), 36.9 The Great Wall (2016), 27.5 The Legend of Tarzan (2016), 27.5 Inferno (2016), 27.4 47 Ronin (2013), 21.8 Yellowbeard (1983), 20.5 Live by Night (2016), 20.4 The Three Musketeers (1993);

BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Assassin’s Creed (2016), The Three Musketeers (2011), Wild Wild West (1999), Red Riding Hood (2011), Jonah Hex (2010), The Scarlet Letter (1995), The Musketeer (2001)

(I think next on the docket had to be Robin Hood. Like The Three Musketeers it is a story that just gets made and made and made, presumably because the rights are in the public domain or something. There must be hundreds of versions of Robin Hoods. That peak at 2016 is interesting, there does seem to be an inordinate number of historical fiction films that came out then. I wonder why.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 25) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Mena Suvari is No. 4 billed in The Musketeer and No. 8 billed in Rumor Has It…, which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 1 billed) who is in Just Go With It (No. 2 billed), which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 4 + 8 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 25. If we were to watch The Wedding Planner, and Two for the Money we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – D’Artagnan did really exist. His name was Charles de Batz and was called D’Artagnan when he arrived in Paris probably because he was coming from the south-west of France (where the movie was partly shot) and where there is a little city called Artagnan.

The first film that Director Peter Hyams had directed without his long time editor Steven Kemper, who vowed not to work with the Director after the last few films he had directed which included End of Days and The Relic were too darkly lit and shot causing editorial problems. (Wow!)

The first film the Director Peter Hyams did not work with his usual composer John Debney. Debney had composed the music for Sudden Death, The Relic and End of Days for Hyams.

Universal Pictures teamed up Miramax Films to buy the film’s North American and U.K. rights for only $7.5 million, and the film was very profitable for both companies.

The 15:17 to Paris Preview

As the Space Cops pile into the space ship they lay it all out there. “Officer Libby, the Little Old Librarian you know and hate, used to be part of a major gang of corrupt cops. They would steal cocaine from evidence, use it to help write action movie screenplays in volume, ultimately sell the rights to a small number of them of which only one or two would actually be made, then have them taken out of their creative control and turned into something that they no longer recognized,” Jacobs sneers, spitting in disgust, “a truly devious plot by a truly devious cop. It is well known that she hoped to use the power of the Socket to play out the plot of one of those screenplays and create mass chaos to take over the world. So all we have to do is figure out which screenplay she want to see made by the ultimate film studio… life. Simple right?” He says as he pours 430 screenplays out of a burlap sack. Knowing they’ll never get through all of the screenplays in time Jamie gets an idea and they zoom back to Dracula School. With the help of the vampire students they start to make their way through the screenplays and boy howdy is it tough sledding. “Why do so many of these involve vigilante justice?” Asks one student. “This is the second sex scene I’ve read involving a dude ranch.” Says another, eyes glazing over. “Huh, this is interesting,” says Odin, “this also is mostly about vigilante justice and certainly has a dude ranch sex scene but… it also says ‘based on a true story’ at the front. Does anyone remember when a vigilante ninja cop stopped a bunch of cowboy terrorists on a train to Paris?” That’s right! We are transitioning to the final cycle of the year. As tradition dictates this is a cycle consisting of only films released in 2018. Previously this was to make sure we were up-to-date for Razzies season, but now it’s so we are up-to-date for Smaddies Baddies season. We start off with The 15:17 to Paris, which somehow hits two numbers on the Periodic Table of Smellements and is an A+ setting for both place and time (kinda). It also is a super strange experimental film that Clint Eastwood with the actual heroes of the event playing themselves… sounds like a tough watch. Let’s go!

Patrick, Sticks, and Stones sneak around to the back of the z-movie multiverse LAPD precinct. That’s weird, Patrick thinks, isn’t the whole reason they came and got him because the LAPD wanted to come and save him? Sticks and Stones have a wild look in their eyes as they jimmy the lock and start towards the evidence locker. “It’s just in here, gosh dern it, hurry up before they catch us,” Stones says. Patrick is super duper slow on the uptake and following them around like an idiot. He hopes those other ninja cops come soon, because his mind is feeling fuzzy again, and Sticks and Stones are starting to creep him out all of a sudden. When they reach the evidence locker Sticks blasts the lock with his glock, growling “I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it.” They pull out the Obsidian Dongle. Wait … what a twist! It wasn’t destroyed after all! Right then the samurai cop and his very tall partner come around the corner. “Stop right there you ne’er-do-wells! Patrick, they are insane they only want you for your twin powers, your ability to control the Dongle, and want you to bring them to the real world!” Patrick looks at them dumbly … “What?” The samurai cop comes at them with a katana ready to strike. Without thinking Patrick grabs the dongle and thinks “Take me and Sticks and Stones to … Hawaii?” And boom, his twin powers blast them to Hawaii. Well … the Z-movie multiverse version of Hawaii which was roughly the same except all the girls have big bazongas. “All these girls have big bazongas,” Patrick says. That’s right! We’re watching Hard Ticket to Hawaii, a B-movie with an A+ setting. Made by Andy Sidaris, I dare to say this is his most famous BBB (Bullets, Bombs, Babes) film, well known for its skateboarding and frisbee antics … and fine, the bodacious babes. Let’s go!

The 15:17 to Paris (2018) – BMeTric: 52.5

The1517toParis_BMeT

The1517toParis_RV

(Loving that VOD bump. The rating is shockingly low. It didn’t even start high with all of the Eastwood-heads getting in there, it just started below-average and is now shockingly low. The BMeTric is astonishing all things considered. How bad can the acting actually be?!)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  The movie’s greatest virtue, which might be enough to make it a critic-proof hit no matter what, is its poker faced sincerity. … A lot of U.S. moviegoers are going to feel seen by this film, and that’s a net gain for American cinema, which is supposed to be a populist art form representing the body politic as it is, not merely as the industry wishes it could be. If only someone could’ve heroically intervened to save this movie.

(Can’t say I disagree with the sentiment. There is room for gently jingoistic nonsense just like there is room for gory horror, cynical comedy, and sex-crazed teen romps. But certainly it looks like Eastwoods speed and very peculiar choice to cast three non-actors in the lead roles made this one very much non-critic-proof.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC_lnyn2R2Q

(The army, God, the American Dream, and heroes babbbbbbbyyyyyyyyy. The voiceover is a bit odd in the middle. As a matter of fact it feels like the film is desperately trying to cover up the fact that the main actors can’t, in fact, act. Which is a solid choice.)

Directors – Clint Eastwood – (Known For: American Sniper; Mystic River; Unforgiven; Gran Torino; Million Dollar Baby; Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; The Bridges of Madison County; Changeling; The Outlaw Josey Wales; Space Cowboys; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; Absolute Power; Invictus; J. Edgar; A Perfect World; Jersey Boys; Hereafter; Blood Work; High Plains Drifter; Letters from Iwo Jima; Future BMT: The Rookie; BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: Well known for talking to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention. I kid (although he did do that for real). His directing style might be called … rushed. Although arguably that is intentional. But clearly competent and efficient, churning out films like Woody Allen churns out scripts.)

Writers – Dorothy Blyskal (screenplay by) – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: She worked on Sully with Eastwood, and then ended up getting recruited to adapt the book the film is based on while working as a production assistant on Logan. I didn’t read it, but here is an interview detailing her career trajectory.)

Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, Jeffrey E. Stern (based on the book by) – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: These are the three heroes of the story, they wrote the book and then ultimately starred in the subsequent film in what Eastwood called an “interesting experiment”.)

Actors – Alek Skarlatos – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: He was in the US Army National Guard. Finished in third place on Dancing with the Stars. He is currently running for a position in local politics in Oregon according to wikipedia.)

Anthony Sadler – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: Not much info on wiki beyond detailing the attack. He was the civilian of the bunch, having been childhood friends with Skarlatos and Stone.)

Spencer Stone – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: He was in the US Air Force. Two months after the attack he was stabbed outside of a nightclub and almost died.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $36,250,957 (Worldwide: $57,050,957)

(It did … poorly. That isn’t even really fine, it was poor. Given they didn’t have to pay three leads though, where did the money go?)

#22 for the Terrorism genre

1517toparis_terrorism

(Swordfish is the only other film we’ve seen. This is, amazingly, the highest by BMeTric. Collateral Damage with Schwarzenegger is next up I think. By the way the note at the bottom is pretty excellent: NOTE: Movies such as Die Hard, Under Siege, Speed and The Rock are not being counted as their villains for the most part are about getting money or are disgruntled former employees. For it to be a “”Terrorist”” movie, the central action has to occur to promote a cause or for destruction’s sake.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (35/149): The 15:17 to Paris pays clumsily well-intentioned tribute to an act of heroism, but by casting the real-life individuals involved, director Clint Eastwood fatally derails his own efforts.

(YAH THINK? It is an astonishing and immediately ill-advised choice. You don’t really flippantly make a movie. Although given how Eastwood directs, maybe he genuinely thinks you can. Reviewer Highlight: Performances in Eastwood films are usually uneven, but here his hands-off directing style shows no mercy … – Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club)

Poster – Bonjour, je suis American. Ça va? (A)

fifteen_seventeen_to_paris

(I actually enjoy this poster quite a bit. Artistic, black-and-white with red accents, and a unique font for a little spin.)

Tagline(s) – A true story. The real heroes. (D)

In the face of fear ordinary people can do the extraordinary (C+)

(The first one more or less confirms that this is likely just an experiment that Eastwood thought would be interesting to try, so it’s not particularly interesting. The second is good and hits all the marks, but is just too cliched to get a high grade. Probably 30% of all films made could have that tagline. I guess not Exit Wounds, since Steven Seagal is anything but ordinary.)

Keyword(s) – train; Top Ten by BMeTric: 93.2 Gunday (2014); 86.1 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 82.5 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 80.7 xXx²: The Next Level (2005); 79.4 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 79.0 Torque (2004); 77.7 Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008); 77.5 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002); 72.8 Jonah Hex (2010); 72.5 Cell (I) (2016);

(Nooooo never Gunday. Never. As a matter of fact once you nix that, the other two missing films don’t qualify both being above 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. So arguably we are, in fact, done with the top train films as far as BMT is concerned. In reality it would probably be better to just filter out non-qualifying films … but whatever.)

Notes – The first person to tackle the terrorist on the train was a Frenchman. He later turned down the Légion d’honneur and asked to remain anonymous because he feared reprisals from other Islamists living in France. (Oh shit, that’s pretty cool)

Director Clint Eastwood enlisted the actual Americans who took down the terrorist to play themselves in this movie: Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone. (As we heard above, this was a terrible idea.)

Roughly eight weeks after the Thalys train attack, Spencer Stone was stabbed in the back several times by James Tran, outside a downtown Sacramento night club. Stone suffered wounds to his lungs, liver and heart, and he had to undergo emergency open heart surgery. In 2017, Tran was found guilty of attempted murder, causing great bodily injury and the use of a deadly weapon and was sentenced to nine years. Stone was quoted in the Sacramento Bee newspaper, saying, “At the end of the day, I forgive the guy. We all make stupid decisions, some dumber than others. I hope he learns from it.”

The plot tagline says “3 U.S. Airmen,” but only Spencer Stone is in the Air Force. Alek Skarlatos is Army National Guard and Anthony Sadler is a civilian.

This is the 36th feature film to be directed by Clint Eastwood. (He pumps these out)

Clint Eastwood was attached to direct The Ballad of Richard Jewell since 2014 but dropped out in 2016 to do Impossible Odds as his next directorial project after finishing Sully (2016). The project wasn’t ready yet and needed more time in development, meaning that Eastwood needed another project. He decided to sign on to helm this project as his next directorial film.

An image of Clint Eastwood’s face from Pale Rider (1985) appears on a character’s t-shirt.

Many of the professional actors in this film are better known as sitcom stars: Tony Hale and Judy Greer were both in Arrested Development, Jenna Fischer in The Office, Thomas Lennon in Reno 911!, and Jaleel White in Family Matters. (So basically this is a bunch of amateurs, and then a bunch of television actors … this sounds like it shall go swimmingly)