A lad jousting with his tutor is kidnaped and carried to the Bastille where his head is locked in an iron mask. Jump ten years: Musketeers return from war in Morocco to find Paris starving ...
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When French King Louis XIV (Beau Bridges) learns that his twin brother, Philippe (Beau Bridges), could usurp his crown, he sets out to imprison him in the Bastille prison but four loyal musketeers are protecting Philippe.
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A lad jousting with his tutor is kidnaped and carried to the Bastille where his head is locked in an iron mask. Jump ten years: Musketeers return from war in Morocco to find Paris starving while Louis XIV and his retinue idle at Duke Fouquet's estate. Louis is enamored with his host's virginal daughter, Valliere, herself in love with Athos. The queen mother calls the Jesuit Aramis to her deathbed to confess that Louis has a twin, "a second born, he was first conceived, the oldest and true heir," the man in the iron mask. Aramis secures his release and hides him while Porthos and Athos school him for his destiny. D'Artagnan remains loyal to Louis: love, schemes and politics entwine.Written by
Of the four Man in the Iron Mask adaptations seen, this one is by far and large the worst. Edward Albert brings dignity and cool energy to Athos and Timothy Bottoms is adequately menacing as Fouquet, but when it comes to redeeming merits that's where this adaptation ends. Apart from Albert and Bottoms, the actors look really uninterested in their roles with Nick Richert being the least convincing and cruel Louis you'd find in any adaptation of the classic story. The film does look cheap with a real lack of authenticity in sound and detail and the production has a lot of dull colours and lighting. Adding to the tedium are a screenplay that lacks snap and pace(the underwritten dialogue and stiff line delivery not helping), action that is undercooked(in utilisation and how it translates to film) and wholly unexciting and characters that you learn and care little about, which is not the case with the actual story. The story here starts slowly and never recovers sadly, it did get confused narratively especially in the middle and the rouse, thrills, tension and fun are next to nowhere in sight. The direction is borderline erratic and the pacing makes the film further unengaging. Overall, very bad and as a standalone too, there is the details here but the spirit isn't. It is sad to see Dumas and a great story being done this badly, Albert and Bottoms only just about save it from it not seeing the time of day ever again. 2/10 Bethany Cox
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