Contributed By Sim Yee Tat
This movie is an adaptation of the popular 1990s video game Prince Of Persia. Most movies based on video games often have a poor showing on the big screen, such as Super Mario Brothers and Street Fighter. However, this movie is a happy anomaly. The plot is neatly crafted and co-produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney Entertainment—a coupling that has already proven its magic in the widely successful movie trilogy: Pirates Of The Caribbean.
The movie opens with Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) being plucked from the slums by King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup) and adopted into Persian royalty. Dastan, together with his foster royal brothers, Garsiv and Tus and his villainous uncle Nazim (Ben Kingsley) invade the holy city of Alamut under the assumption that the city’s people are selling weapons to their enemies. But in actual fact they are on an elaborate mission in search of the magical dagger guarded by Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton). The mystique lies in the power of the dagger—it enables its holder to unearth a potent energy that can turn back the hands of time.
As expected, there are many scenes of intense combat exchanges when the two opposing armies cross paths. Gyllenhaal evidently prepared well for his warrior role, judging by his hunky physique. He told one reporter that he “gained five to six pounds of muscle to fit the physical ardor and appeal.”
Another enjoyable point about this movie is the spirited performance by Gemma Arterton as Princess Tamina. Her witty portrayal of the clever princess is a far cry from her lackluster acting in Quantum Of Solace and Clash Of The Titans.
However, the lack of cinematic chemistry between the two lead characters is disappointing—there is hardly any synergy in the romantic play-up and love connection between Dastan and Tamina. Kingsley plays his standard villain role satisfactorily, but it is hardly a stretch for the Oscar winner. More screen time would have given him a better chance to display the gulf between him and the heroes. Laughs come courtesy of Alfred Molina who plays ostrich racing organizer Sheik Amar, with his inexperienced fighting and frivolous decisions at critical moments.
There are many slow motion fighting sequences showing off sophisticated CGI effects—the director’s hallmark to effectively portray the uniqueness of each action scene. However, some fight sequences happen too quick to be digested given the progression of the story line. These put a significant dampener on the adrenaline pumping action toward the end of the movie.
All in all, audience attracted to the gut-wrenching and explosive action manoeuvers would be drawn towards the many combative actions together with the Persian touch points and flavors in the story. This movie also appeals to the large following of the game trilogy. In an homage to the video game, many action sequences, such as the multi-pronged attack on the castle, are true to the game version. If you’re looking for a fun and heart-thumping movie experience this June, Prince Of Persia is one action movie that will satisfy.