Remember that part in the novel ”The Three Musketeers” when D’Artagnan leaps from Paris rooftop to Paris rooftop, executes two breathtaking aerial flips, and, upon landing, breathes a ”whoa” of relief? Well, neither does anyone else — but a measure of literary ignorance is what Hyams (”End of Days”) is counting on. According to the director, this umpteenth adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ classic adventure, starring Calvin Klein fragrance model Chambers as the dashing swordsman and ”Planet of the Apes” baddie Roth as the villainous Febre, is to the ”Musketeer” genre ”what ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’ was to the American Western.”
”I just thought, here’s a whole different way to tell the story, visually and physically,” Hyams says, referring to his collaboration with Hong Kong action choreographer Xin Xin Xiong (”Once Upon a Time in China”). ”I’ve admired a lot of stuff coming from China. And I’ve seen a lot of swashbuckling pictures that weren’t terribly exciting. And I thought, [maybe] there’s a way to bend both genres so they meet in the middle.” But don’t expect any ”Matrix”-style slo-mo bullet dodging or crouching tigers. ”This is not a Hong Kong movie where people have feathers in their hats,” Hyams says. Good thing, too — as long as they’re not wearing black leather dusters and dark sunglasses, either.