Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time


Directed by: Mike Newell
Written by:Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Steve Toussaint, Toby Kebbell, Richard Coyle
Released: May 27, 2010
Grade: B-

Prince Of Persia is a film that I’ve seen a million times before.  There are plenty of well choreographed battle sequences and I tip my hat to English director Mike Newell (Donnie Brasco).  It will certainly appease those looking for fast-paced action.  However (and that’s a big “however”), the story is weak and the dialogue is even weaker.

I like a swashbuckling adventure as much as the next person but why do the screenwriters keep coming up with such unadventurous material.  Why are the characters so boring?  Why are the jokes so cheesy?  The door is open for a budding writer to come along and turn this cliché ridden genre on its head.

Based on the video game (just saying that makes me queasy), Prince Of Persia is about a brave warrior named Dastan (Gyllenhaal) who comes into the possession of a valuable sword.  When the handle is filled with magic sand, it enables the sword’s holder to travel back in time.  This makes the user almost invincible.  If they were ever wounded in battle, they could go back a minute and foresee their attacker’s next move.

There are others who wish to get their hands on this sword.  Caught up in the mix are Dastan’s brother (Coyle), his uncle (Kingsley) and the princess of a neighbouring kingdom (Arterton).  The only interesting performance however comes from Alfred Molina.  He plays an entrepreneurial sheik who runs an ostrich racing business.  He provides the film’s only laughs.

I’m being somewhat lenient with my grading given my approval for the film’s overall look.  Shot in Morocco, Australian cinematographer John Seale (The English Patient) has made the most of the location.  I also liked the booming film score from Harry Gregson-Williams.

When it comes to the crunch though, who will remember this film in five years time?  It’s nothing special at all.