'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time'
‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’
Action movies come in two flavors; the difference lies in the fight scenes. If the camera is pulled back with minimal cuts, it’s generally showcasing the fight itself. If the camera is painfully zoomed in with a cut every half second, then it’s mostly to hide the inexperience of the actor or the fact it’s a stunt double. I can usually tell what type of movie it will be when I see a preview for it, and I’ve come to know what to expect from the latter, which ends up being most U.S. films.
“Prince of Persia” is based upon a series of games I have not played, so I can’t comment on whether or not it’s an accurate adaptation or anything. When I say ‘produced by Jerry Bruckheimer,’ that’s all you really need to make an accurate guess at the film’s quality: not quite as stupid as a Michael Bay movie, but it’s not necessarily a good movie either.
The titular Persian prince is Dastan, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. With his two brothers, he leads an attack against the sacred city of Alamut, under the pretense they are supplying Persia’s enemies with weapons. During a post victory celebration, Dastan is framed for the murder of his adoptive father, King Sharaman. He escapes with Alamut’s princess, Tamina (Gemma Arterton), and a mystical dagger that can reverse time for its holder. Next is an hour and a half of swashbuckling as Dastan tries to set things straight.
During this the plot twists a few times, and there’s some fighting. Ben Kingsley, as the dead king’s brother, orchestrates most of this, and a shifty ostrich-racing merchant played by a Johnny Depp-channeling Alfred Molina further complicates things. Performances all, while not being good, aren’t atrocious either. Kingsley stars as his usual sober self before he ramps it up a notch towards the end, and Molina overacts his merchant, almost like he’s excited to return to a “Spiderman 2” size budget. Arterton’s princess doesn’t fare as well, and it’s not long before this once noble princess whines her way to annoying. Gyllenhaal fares better; his seems prince is quiet and reserved, despite all that’s happened to him.
Coming back to the original topic, the action here is so-so. The combat would be more enjoyable if it weren’t for the hack and slash editing; I know none of these actors are Jackie Chan, but come on guys… pull the camera out a bit. Movies like this can counterbalance these faults by making the combat interesting or unique, though here it’s mostly run of the mill.
There is a nice knife throwing standoff. And I don’t know where in these deserts Dastan picked up parkour, but he spends a good bit of time running and jumping across rooftops. Interesting. Though I wish the time reversing aspect, which I know played a good part in at least some of the games, was used more. That would have been more interesting.
I should have seen the ending coming. 3/5