‘Prince of Persia’: No WMD

As someone who has never played the video game (nor heard of it–gasp!), I walked into Prince of Persia with absolutely no expectations except a general admiration for the ever-versatile Jake Gyllenhaal (Prince Dastan). On that level, the movie was good–Jake’s “manly historical hero” portrayal was “well-built” enough to get me to forget the frustrated homosexual in Brokeback Mountain and the ever-so-real-to-life borderline loser in The Good Girl.
The Prince of Persia’s plot is tight and understandable–with only a few holes–but it’s likely you’ll finish the movie without having your concentration broken by some seriously useless plot line slip-up. You will be thrown by other inaccuracies and strange half references to the world of today. The young crowned prince is coerced into taking over a holy city in search of imaginary weapons of mass destruction–although his father, the good king, is against the attack.
The hero is the only adopted one of three bothers, three “princes of persia” who are strong and honorable with only minor flaws that make them all the more loveable. The uncle, Nizam, is played by Ben Kingsley–best known for his role as Ghandi–whose overdone kohl is a clear sign that he must be evil.
Of course, the plot thickens and eventually it’s all about an attempt to take over the world (again)–an attempt which is only barely thwarted by Dastan.
The only seemingly original aspect to the entire movie is the appearance of Alfred Molina as the ostrich racing leader of the valley of the slaves. Although his character’s wit is moderately refreshing, the anti-tax/money-grubbing humor becomes very predictable very quickly.
Action scenes are, at times, impressive, including lots of parkour-esque leaps that border on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with a few confusing, badly-edited sequences that appear to have been shot too closely.
All in all, the film is very entertaining and riveting, while the end is satisfying but–of course–left open just enough for a potential sequel.

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