Review: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Prince of Persia is a throwback to those sword and sorcery epics like the Scorpion King and Krull. Yeah, that’s not a good thing.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley and Gemma Arterton courageously try to breathe life into a movie based on a video game. Some cool special effects and beautiful scenery does not a great movie make. And it is based on a video game.

Born in poverty, Dastan (Gyllenhaal) is an adopted prince who is framed for murder after he questions his kingdom’s attacks on a legendary city. Now, he’s running from his own army side-by-side with the guardian (Arterton) of a magic blade that makes time go in reverse. To clear his name and find out the real reason the mystic city was targeted, the prince must learn the history of the supernatural weapon, avoid the mysterious antagonist that has marked him for death and try to survive his companion who isn’t his biggest fan. That was as hard to write as it was to watch.

Remember when they stopped doing quick edits in fight scenes so it’s easier to follow the action? Well it didn’t start with this movie. It was cut so quick you barely could tell what the heck was going on. This is nothing new for the latest action movies, just a pet peeve I had to get off my chest. (breathe Russel)

This is one of those movies that will probably be the opposite of your expectations. High expectations = disappointed. Low = pleasantly surprised. It’s very much a “meh” movie. You want to find escapism and thrills ala Raiders of the Lost Ark but you leave with a “I could have rented that” feeling.

Acting wise, Arterton and Gyllenhaal are sure nice to look at. They try to balance playfulness with each other but the chemistry never really feels there. Kingsley doesn’t exactly phone it in but he certainly doesn’t stretch any muscles either as the King’s brother with hidden agenda (don’t they all).

As far as the action goes, that was the only part that I really enjoyed. The video game is based on jumping and flipping and the movie pulled this off really well with little or barely noticeable CGI/wire-work.

2 stars – it’s a renter. A renter. It won’t look as good as the big screen but this movie doesn’t really warrant the money. It was based on a video game.

Random Recommendations
Chocolat (2000) – Stop screaming “chick flick.” Johnny Depp isn’t even in it that much. But if you like English humour, beautiful scenery and a bit (just a little) of fantasy, this is worth a look. Juliette Binoche, Carrie-Ann Moss, Lena Olin and Judy Dench. Ok, it’s a little girlie. But good.

Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) – What do you have to do to be a champ? This movie snuck up on me…in a good way. The major talent of Ben Kingsley, Joan Allen, Laura Linney, William H. Macy and Laurence Fishburne tell the true story of a chess prodigy who’s compared the chess legend Bobby Fischer. Much more fun than watching chess.


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