In the final days of World War II a grizzled Tank squad (headed by Brad Pitt) journey through Germany on a routine mission to hit the Nazis where it hurts … until disaster strikes.
Considering the plethora of WWII movies that have been made, I still managed to find this an interesting take on the age old band-of-brothers concept with the inclusion of the tank battles and the trapped behind enemy lines plotting. It wears it’s clichés with pride, with the usual characters like the rookie, the grizzled war vet and the psycho, but mostly failed to inject them with a personality that even Pitt couldn’t deliver in a fairly one-note turn. Even the casting of Shia LaBeouf seemed fairly pointless.
However, I liked how the movie became about more than just Pitt doing his thing and the layered performance of a wet-behind-the-ears Norman (Logan Lerman) saved this from being another also-ran. The movie has some good action and gets fairly gory as the bodies pile up, with the final act being as intense as it gets. With classics like Saving Private Ryan to think about when watching this, it lacks the depth or the performances and struggles with pacing (that scene in the house … yawn), but overall, it was still pretty decent.
The question that immediately springs to mind here is, do we really need another telling of the age-old Musketeers story? Brought to the screen countless times with varying success, this is familiar and well trodden ground, and one may wonder just what a new adaptation can bring that we haven’t seen before. Easy answer – lots and lots and lots of CGI.
Directed by the often underrated Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Event Horizon) this starts well with a welcome swashbuckling introduction to Porthos (Ray Stevensen), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), who are double crossed by Aramis’ love interest Milady (Paul W.S. Anderon regular Mila Jovovich) resulting in the three heroes falling from grace. Yet when a plot is uncovered to bring about war, the Musketeers team up with an ambitious but reckless young man called D’Artagnon (Logan Lerman).
Now you may have noticed the lack of star names amongst the cast there, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Thankfully we have Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterdz) on hand to offer villainous duties as the cunning Cardinal Richelieu and a very camp Orlando Bloom as the Duke Of Buckingham, preventing the whole thing from descending into Z-List territory. Sadly though, the feel here is more Monty Python than true blockbuster cinema, and despite some stylish cinematography, great set-design and well shot action – I failed to engage with the often plot-hole laden story or personality-free characters. The less said about the cameo by Brit comedienne James Cordon and the talentless actress (is pouting a talent?) playing D’Artagnon’s love interest … the better.
As it stands, this was still fun and had some pretty cool sequences (who can’t enjoy two flying boats battling it out??) but lacked anything beyond its garish visual-overload to make me recommend it. The forgettable Take That end-credits song says it all. One for fans of the Musketeers only.
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