"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is a frivolous, likeable action movie, with decent characters, solid writing, beautiful action sequences and cinematography so close to the game that occasionally, I wanted to elbow the gamer in the shoulder to ask why he didn’t go the other direction.
And that’s a good thing–as I watched a friend of mine play the game this movie is based on, I felt like I was watching a movie. Actually making it into a movie was a logical next step.
I’m not saying Prince of Persia was a great movie, but it was a solid, fun movie, which is all I ask for in an action flick, really.
Jake Gyllenhaal portrays Prince Dastan, an orphan plucked out of the street by the King of Persia and made into a prince. Dastan is a swashbuckling-type hero, who can slice-and-dice with his swords, and it would have been easy for this character to have become utterly insufferable. Fortunately, Gyllenhaal’s wry, self-deprecating attitude, combined with the occasional sarcastic phrase, helps keep the character somewhat real, complete with slip-ups and awkward moments.
Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) could have also become an annoying action movie cliche: the beautiful girl who’s impossibly pretty, impossibly witty, and impossibly bad-ass, slicing and dicing bad guys just as easily as the hero despite living in a time and place in which women didn’t usually have the relevant skillset. She comes pretty close to the line sometimes, but although she does sometimes pick up a sword it’s usually her quick thinking that saves her rather than her battle prowess.
The plot of the film… is a bit beside the point, given it’s an action movie, but basically, the prince finds a magic dagger, the princess tries to take it back because she’s its guardian, and the bad guy tries to get the dagger because he wants to take over the kingdom.
There aren’t really any major surprises, and you pretty much know how it’s going to end from the beginning, but you’ll probably enjoy the ride anyway.