Prince of Persia (2.5 of 4)

Prince of Persia is an adaptation of a series of popular video games. And frankly, a pretty good one at that. Having played the games to familiarity I found the film true to what I expected. Many of the trademark video-game stunts of Dastan, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, come to life and look better than they ever did in the games. The arrow climbing trick, all the parkour/free-running, the sword-play and even the villains combat styles were all familiar to me, and certainly would be to a bigger gamer.

The movie has weaknesses all over the place, a plot not really interesting enough for the time it takes to explain is a serious problem. The story may work in a video game, but in a movie finding a dagger and redoing things becomes monotonous. This boring sands of time storyline is almost rescued by a romance between the beautiful princess Tamina, played by Gemma Arterton, and Dastan. 

Both Dastan and Tamina have good chemistry on-screen. Probably because they’re not anything new, and as familiar characters it’s easier to accept the growth that their “relationship” makes at the furious pace it does. I actually thought some of the worst acting came from Ben Kingsley, his menace was too pronounced too early. If the twist of his character hadn’t been so noticable maybe it would have been a better paced movie, and the plot would have moved quicker to the third act.

Pacing is a problem Newell has with a lot of his movies (Four Weddings and a Funeral & Mona Lisa Smile). Still, I liked the film. I laughed throughout, thanks to Gyllenhaal and Alfred Molina who I think played a Californian.  The action was solid, fast enough to not look staged and slow enough to see, and the effects looked cool.

But overall I think I’d still rather be Dastan than watch him. I would have given a straight 3 of 4 if the action had been a slight bit sillier. More Indiana Jones and less Tomb Raider. But I digress.

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