xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
On the island of St. Marguerite, offshore from Cannes of all places, still stands the rude stone fortress where the Man in the Iron Mask spent his lonely days. I have sat below his window in a little Italian trattoria, while the owner assured me that the man in the mask was no less than the twin brother of Louis XIV, held there because the state could not tolerate another claimant to the throne.
No one knows who the man in the mask was, but his dangerous identity must have been the whole point of the mask, so the twin brother theory is as good as any. "The Man in the Iron Mask" is "loosely based" on the Dumas novel, and includes a return appearance by the Three Musketeers. They come out of retirement in a scheme to rescue France from the cruel fist of the young, spoiled king.
Louis XIV and his brother are played by Leonardo DiCaprio in a dual role, his first since "Titanic." He looks well-fed as the despotic ruler and not particularly gaunt, for that matter, as the man in the mask. As the film opens, he presides over a court that lives in decadent luxury, while street mobs riot for bread in the streets. The beautiful Christine (Judith Godreche) catches his eye, and since she's engaged to the young Raoul (Peter Sarsgaard), the king sends Raoul off to war and makes sure he gets killed there.
The death of Raoul enrages his father, Athos (John Malkovich), one of the original musketeers, who enlists his comrades, Aramis (Jeremy Irons) and Porthos (Gerard Depardieu), in a plan for revenge. Also involved, on the other side, is the original fourth musketeer, D'Artagnan (Gabriel Byrne), who remains loyal to Louis XIV and the twins' mother, Queen Anne (Anne Parillaud).