The Man In The Iron Mask

The only other adaptations I’ve seen of the Alexandre Dumas novel (which I haven’t read) are the Classics Illustrated comic book and the 1939 James Whale potboiler, both of which I prefer to this vulgar and overwrought 1998 free-for-all, which makes you wait interminably for the story’s central narrative premise. (The Whale version spills the beans right away.) Written and directed by Randall Wallace (best known as the screenwriter of Braveheart), this starts off as a Three Musketeers sequel, trusting that its hefty cast and fart jokes will keep you interested. But to be fair, the story is close to foolproof once it finally gets going. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Gerard Depardieu, Gabriel Byrne, Anne Parillaud, and Judith Godreche. 132 min. (JR)

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