Prince Of Persia

Release Date: 21 May 2010
Director: Mike Newell
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Alfred Molina, Ben Kingsley, Toby Kebbell
Details: US/116mins 12A
With lofty aspirations to be the next Pirates of the Caribbean, Prince of Persia is mostly notable for one thing; Jake Gyllenhaal’s man abs. The Donnie Darko star has gotten himself into remarkable shape for his first real action lead, it’s just a shame Mike Newell’s indifferent direction and a script that is severely lacking in the innovative didn’t back up its leading man’s impressively obtained, imposing physicality.
A sloppy opening reveals Gyllenhaal’s Dastan to be an orphaned youngster, who is randomly picked by the King of Persia to be his new son – after he cracks an apple off of a bloke’s head who was trying to punish his whippersnapper mate. All grown up, Dastan is a rogue sort, prone to running up walls and disobeying the orders of his older brothers when it comes to battle strategy. After being part of an attack on Gemma Arterton’s princesses’ palace, he comes across a dagger than can transport him back in time by a minute; which would’ve been handy if he’d had it before being framed for the murder of his auld lad. Soon he finds himself teaming up with the princess to prove his innocence and uncover a betrayal within his family.
Swashbuckling to the extreme, anything remotely resembling realism was never on the cards here. But this Jerry Bruckheimer produced production still fails to wow the way it really could have, as the action is choppy and never particularly impressive – a downright travesty when you consider its hefty budget. Newell can’t seem to find a flow with his action sequences at all, and we’re never given the chance to see Gyllenhaal flex his new found muscles in an impressive stunt. It’s meant to be an adventure film, but it feels like the glee has been taken out of it somewhat and the half-hearted attempts at sparky banter between Arterton and Gyllenhaal only partly compensates for that.
Proceedings are only momentarily lifted by Toby Kebbell and Alfred Molina when they turn up every once and awhile to brood and offer comic relief, but their screetime is at a relative minimum. It’s not that Gyllenhaal does anything wrong, he’s just not given the tools here, in terms of witty lines or set-pieces, to elevate his performance to anything above a talking torso. Arterton is gorgeous and spunky, but her character difficult to warm to until the final third expands on her finicky obsession with the dagger.
Not awful, younger teenagers will probably love it, and there is enough eye candy on show to distract for the dullness of the action and plot, it’s just missing the vital elements that can kick start a satisfying franchise.

Courtesy of entertainment.ie

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