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The Count of Monte Cristo

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Count of Monte Cristo

Starring: James Caviezel, Guy Pearce
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 131 Minutes
Release Date: January 2002
Genres: Action, Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Dagmara Dominczyk, Luis Guzman, Richard Harris

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1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie review
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Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

WATERWORLD's Kevin Reynolds is simply the wrong director to attempt yet another adaptation of Alexandre Dumas's classic tale, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. He covers all of the bases, but his rendition is lifeless and flat. The film's talented leads are miscast, and Reynolds's by-the-numbers movie would be more appropriate as a Hallmark television production than as a theatrical release. Still, the sets are sumptuous and the scenery -- it was filmed completely on location in Ireland and Malta -- is uniformly breathtaking.

As most of us know, the story is a tale of long planned revenge. Edmund Dantes (James Caviezel from FREQUENCY) is falsely imprisoned for treason by Villefort (James Frain), who is working in collusion with Fernand Mondego (Guy Pearce from MEMENTO). Edmund thinks that Fernand is his best friend, but Fernand is a deceitful guy who has his eyes on Mercedes, Edmund's fiancée. Dagmara Dominczyk phones in her part as Mercedes.

The supporting cast is much more effective. Richard Harris does a nice turn as Faria, Edmund's next-door neighbor in prison. Edmund and Faria spend many long years together trying to dig their way to freedom. The best performance is turned in by Luis Guzman, as Jacopo, Edmund's right-hand-man after Edmund becomes known as the Count of Monte Cristo.

If you haven't seen other cinematic versions of this Dumas story, you'll probably enjoy this one. But if you've seen others, this one just feels like warmed up leftovers that aren't heated enough to be tasty.

THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO runs too long at 2:10. It is rated PG-13 for "adventure violence/swordplay and some sensuality" and would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 12, gave it *** 1/2. He liked the story and the authentic sets. His favorite part was the prison sequence, especially the tunneling. He said he would have been happy to have had it all set in the prison and was disappointed when the story shifted to Paris.

Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes

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