The film features Tsui Hark's regular actor Xin-Xin Xiong as a stunt choreographer.
As a young boy, d'Artagnan witnesses the murder of his parents at the hands of Febre (Tim Roth), chief henchman of Cardinal Richelieu (Stephen Rea). d'Artagnan is nearly killed after using his dead father's sword to fight Febre, which leaves him with a permanent scar and blinds him in one eye. d'Artagnan is taken in by family friend Planchet (Jean-Pierre Castaldi), a former musketeer, one of the loyal protectors of King Louis XIII (Daniel Mesguich).
Years later, upon arriving in Paris, a grown d'Artagnan (Justin Chambers) finds that the musketeers have been disbanded by order of Cardinal Richelieu, who is usurping the king's authority with the help of Febre. Richelieu is also trying to foment hostility between France, England, and Spain to gain more political power for himself. d'Artagnan convinces two of the musketeers, Porthos (Steve Speirs) and Aramis (Nick Moran), to free the imprisoned head of the musketeers, Treville (Michael Byrne), thus earning their trust. He takes a room at a Paris boarding house, where he takes a fancy to the chambermaid, Francesca (Mena Suvari), who is the daughter of the deceased seamstress to the Queen. Febre, on orders from Richelieu, incites a mob to attack the French Royal Palace during a State dinner for Lord Buckingham (Jeremy Clyde), a visiting English dignitary. d'Artagnan, with the help of Porthos, Aramis, and another musketeer, Athos (Jan Gregor Kremp), saves King Louis, the Queen (Catherine Deneuve), and Lord Buckingham from being hurt or killed. Francesca recruits d'Artagnan to make a clandestine trip to the north coast of France with the Queen to meet with Buckingham in whose honor the State Dinner was being held, to keep peace between the two countries. d'Artagnan's landlord, however, overhears them and tells Febre.
During the trip, d'Artagnan fights off repeated attacks by Febre's henchmen. Afterwards, he and Francesca become intimate, only to have Febre discover them and kidnap Francesca and the Queen. Febre forces the Queen to write a letter to Buckingham asking him to meet her at a heavily fortified castle of his choosing, using the Queen's ring to convince him of the authenticity of the message. Richelieu, finally, realizes just how far Febre is willing to go. He means to start a war between France and England and Spain, a war that will cripple France. Knowing he has lost control of his chief henchman, he secretly visits d'Artagnan and tells him of Febre's plans and pleads for his help to stop Febre. d'Artagnan agrees but only because Febre is holding Francesca. d'Artagnan returns to Paris and convinces the surviving musketeers that their responsibility to the Crown remains their highest priority. They join him at the castle where Francesca, the Queen and Lord Buckingham are being held. They charge the castle on horseback, losing several of their number in the process. The diversion they create, however, allows Planchet to drive his carriage in position in front of the castle gates below the field of cannon fire from the castle. He is able to subsequently fire a mortar directly into the castle gates.
The remaining musketeers battle the remaining cardinal's guards, while d'Artagnan engages Febre in a massive sword fight, finally killing him and avenging the death of his parents. Afterwards, d'Artagnan and The Three Musketeers are given medals for their service. d'Artagnan covertly threatens Richelieu. At the movie's end, d'Artagnan and Francesca are seen to be married.Justin Chambers as d'Artagnan
Tim Roth as Febre, the Man in Black
Stephen Rea as Cardinal Richelieu
Mena Suvari as Francesca Bonacieux
Catherine Deneuve as The Queen
Daniel Mesguich as King Louis XIII
Jean-Pierre Castaldi as Planchet
Nick Moran as Aramis
Steve Speirs as Porthos
Jan-Gregor Kremp as Athos
Michael Byrne as Treville, Head of the Musketeers
David Schofield as Rochefort, Richelieu Henchman
Jeremy Clyde as Lord Buckingham
Bill Treacher as Mr Bonacieux
Tsilla Chelton as Madame Lacross
Rock band Sonic Youth appear, heavily disguised as minstrels, playing a medieval and almost unrecognisable version of "Youth against Fascism"
Universal Pictures teamed up Miramax Films to buy the film's North American and U.K. rights for $7.5 million, and the film went on grossing $27 million in Canada and the United States. The film also grossed $7 million in other markets for a combined worldwide gross of $34 million.
The film received poor reviews, garnering only 11% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics cited terrible acting and confusing editing. The reviewer of The New York Times Stephen Holden noticed a cartoon shape of d'Artagnan; an aggressive film editing, that in his opinion, destroys a positive impression from the fight scenes; incompatibility of swordplay and martial arts and also a good authentic view of Paris.